Articles Tagged with: lists

10 Epic On-Screen Music Moments

Someone recently asked me if I could name my favourite musical moments in film – a classic all-time top ten. Tough call. There are so many to choose from, and even if we tried to narrow things down by saying “only films which aren’t musicals”, we’d still be left with a fairly solid list to start culling down.

For now, I’m not going to bother with the ‘all-time’ tag. Too tough. Plus, this is the Internet, and even though by next week my list will have completely changed, I’ll still be tried and executed by the court of Google for crimes of bad taste I’m unknowingly committing today.

So my list for today, in no particular order:

1. Wayne’s World : Bohemian Rhapsody

It’s iconic, it’s a cliché, but honestly, what is there not to like about it? The mark this one scene left on an entire generation still stains this killer Queen track to this day, none of us likely to ever hear the smashy guitar solo without feeling the urge to headbang. The film may have dated a bit now, but the epic opening is timeless. Even better in French…

2. Buffy – They Got The Mustard Out

There’s far too much back-story to explain here (like, six seasons plus six episodes preceding) but in short: a demon has come to town and is sucking everyone’s lifeforce by making the townspeople involuntarily sing and dance ’til they burn up in a ball of all-singing all-dancing flame. I know this isn’t a “movie” by any stretch, but in the stand-out episode of this classic Whedon series, this small interlude still makes me laugh. Quintessential ‘if life was a musical’ moment if ever there was one.

3. Magnolia – It’s Not Going To Stop

A couple of hours into this fine, multi-threaded film by Paul Thomas Anderson, at arguably the bottom of the rollercoaster for each character (of which there are many, their pitfalls very dark and deep), they suddenly break into song. I found it an odd, uncomfortable moment when I first saw the film, but have come to love the craziness of it. That, and I’m totally down with Aimee Mann as a rule. Great movie. Tom Cruise was robbed of an Oscar that year (the only thing I’ll still defend him for).

4. High Fidelity – Let’s Get It On

Say what you will about Jack Black and his music career nowadays, but when High Fidelity came out and he got up and belted out this classic Marvin Gaye track, not many in the audience knew he could even hold a note. The setup throughout the film is perfect – the boisterous all-talk music-snob, getting up at the make-or-break moment for John Cusack’s character, then nailing the shit out of the song to everybody’s complete surprise. We all know Black can belt, but every time I watch this bit I still buzz.

5. South Park Movie – Uncle Fucker

You have to remember that when this film came out, nobody had *ever* heard the South Park kids swear. After sitting through a fairly lame, tame opening scene or two (wondering why the hell I’d paid to see it on the big screen)  we were all suckerpunched by this sweet puppy of a song. I remember laughing so hard a little bit of wee came out.  What still gets me to this day is how superbly overdone and polished everything else (apart from the lyrics) is about the track – a fantastic arrangement littered with nods to many famous musicals, perfectly executed. And farts.

6. Beetlejuice – Day-O

I was torn between this song and the one from the closing scene (which I think I honestly prefer), but I think this has to win out on style points, memorability and the fact Tim Burton managed to combine both demonic possession and Harry Belafonte in the same scene. Another song I cannot hear in any other context without thinking of plates of shrimp grabbing people by the face and beating them up.  

7. Donnie Darko – Head Over Heels

I love a good “geeks and jocks” scene in any high school movie, but because Donnie Darko isn’t your average teen flick, its G&J gets an equally special treatment. The kick-ass Tears For Fears track introduces the viewers to practically every character in the film (we haven’t met yet) in this glorious steadicam sequence, wordlessly telling us everything we need to know about them all. Brilliant. (UPDATE – had to change this clip over to someone’s remix of the music video and Donnie Darko clip because of a copyright notice from FOX – alas, you’ll have to watch the movie to see this scene in full!)

8. Reservoir Dogs – Stuck In The Middle

Who doesn’t like a spot of easy-listening while they’re maiming tied-up policemen? Not much to say about this that hasn’t been said elsewhere before, except that it’s another song forever linked to this gruesome visual…

9. The Big Lebowski – Just Dropped In

Fine, okay, so I’m getting quite 90s heavy on this list in general, but hey, you promised you wouldn’t judge!  Just shut up and watch the clip. It’s Kenny Rogers for crying out loud – show some respect! This movie moment is so full of awesome I don’t even know where to start.

10. Muppet Movie – The Rainbow Connection

Awww… Kermit sitting on a log all by his lonesome, strumming on a banjo, singing that song. If that’s not a perfect way to round out this list, I don’t know what is…


My Top 5 Novels Of 2012

This year has been a big one for me and books. Part of my New Year’s Resolutions included seeking out the best possible sources for filling up the upcoming reading list, and, as a secondary directive, to try to keep a good flow of material coming through from authors whom I might want to be like, should all those theories about osmosis hold true.

As a result, coming up with a 2012 Top 5 has proven a little more tricky than in previous years, as apart from a few obvious disappointments (eg. Room by Emma Donoghue seemed like a great premise, but damn if she killed it in the execution) I’ve walked away from most books this year with at least a rating of “meh”, with a good 80% landing squarely in the category “would recommend to a friend”. Of those, a good ten or so were outstanding, this list then becoming more culled down based on the sorts of characters I tend to fall in love with in a book: highly-intelligent and focussed yet intensely flawed in some (largely) uncontrollable or irrational/erratic kind of way. A good story with an ending that stuck with me long after I’d put it down never goes astray either.

Here’s the cream off top of the pile which went through my iPad this year:

A Fraction of the Whole

By Steve Toltz

A Fraction Of The Whole (Steve Toltz)

This was by far my favourite read this year, and almost, I dare say it, a contender for “current all-time favourite”. A rambling series of tall-tales based around the lives of a father, a son, and an extraordinary set of circumstances. It’s like a cross between the best bits Forrest Gump, Ned Kelly, Underbelly, and anything great that’s ever been written about Australian suburbia, the madness of crowds, and the complexities of how you end up loving the people the way you do.

What I loved about it the most was how much of the internal monologue – the voice of the author himself – matched my own thought processes. Especially the secret, maddened stuff, and the random mocking observations about people, especially Australians. This book felt like home in a way I can’t easily describe.

It’s a hard book to sum up, so I won’t try any further. Just read it.

Capital: A Novel

By John Lanchester

Captal: A Novel (John Lanchester)

This one I enjoyed the way I love a good Robert Altman film : a huge swag of characters and lives, entangled in unpredictable ways (or perhaps not even entangled much at all) and playing out multiple, occasionally-overlapping stories from several different angles. That, and it felt like London. The language, the snobbery, the filth, the racism, the unfathomable love of football, and the occasional terror plot.

The characters and stories, while essentially linked geographically by the one street they all live (or work) on, manage to cover an awful lot of ground, make a lot of good commentary, and make for a cracker of a good read. Couldn’t put it down.

The Sisters Brothers

By Patrick deWitt

The Sisters Brothers (Patrick DeWitt)

A classic journey tale set in the wild west, but do leave your preconceptions at the door. I’ll be honest, I was dubious that I’d enjoy this as much as I did – the premise of a couple of gunslingers on their horse-bound way to hunt down a man for cash – didn’t have much appeal to me. Very glad I went there. You fall in love with the main character. Sharp, obligated (often brutal) actions keep the story moving forward at an enjoyable pace, while underneath, so many moments of regret, sadness and the sort of quiet three-dimensionality you don’t expect from such a simple tale. Reminded me very much of how a Coen Brothers novel would go if they ever decided to stop directing and start writing books.

The Teleportation Accident (Ned Beauman)

This book is crazy. So much of what kept me ploughing through the pages at an epic pace I can’t really speak of here without giving away what’s great about it, but suffice to say, it ticked all the right boxes for me regarding nuttily brilliant central characters marred by one central immovable flaw. With a curious story quickly hopping between decades and centuries, time and time again repeating the same themes, jokes and coincidences, I loved that it wasn’t pretending to be anything other than tongue-in-cheek and ridiculous, setting up for several pages something which  firmly resorts to the impossible for the sake of slipping in a good one-liner. I didn’t think I liked it at first, but once I got a few chapters in (then definitely confirmed by the very last paragraph of the book), I was completely hooked by the cyclic madness of this odd, 2012-Man-Booker-longlisted tale.

A Confederacy of Dunces

By John Kennedy Toole

A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole)

Hardly a new book (written in the late-60s, author committed suicide in 1969, his mother posthumously getting the manuscript published in 1981) this easily slips into my top 5, primarily for the belching/flatulence. Centred around a wholly unlikeable, overweight, gassy, smelly, arrogant and decidedly delusional main character, this picaresque tale hooked me early and never let up. The world revolves around Ignatius J. Reilly, and no matter how much distain or disgust he treats it, somehow everyone’s life he encounters is irreparably changed, while he largely stays the same. I kept waiting for massive u-turn character development, but it never comes, and I love that : sometimes being an asshole is ok, cause sometimes the assholes win…

There were plenty of others that nearly made the list this year, both new and old: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Scott Lynch), Union Atlantic (Adam Haslett), Gone Girl (Jillian Flynn – actually really good, even with all the hype!), The Maltese Falcon (Dashiell Hammett), Solar (Ian McEwan), Great North Road (Peter F. Hamilton – still reading it now, but loving the living shit out of it as epic holiday sci-fi..) and definitely, definitely Reamde (Neal Stephenson). (Additionally, 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami would’ve made the list for sure except as I finished reading it on December 31 last year, so can’t be permitted!). So much good stuff, especially once I began trawling the Man Booker long-list for ideas – there were a few not to my taste in there, but hitting up the award-nominations are always a great place to start if you’re stuck.

The only other significant thing I have to say regarding books this year is that this is the first year I’ve not read a single novel in paper form. That’s right : 100% ebook, baby. While I agree there’s something nice about holding a book in your hand (and all that usual stuff about “smell” and “feel” I keep hearing), I don’t think I’ll be turning back now. The benefits of digital far outweigh the nostalgic stuff (or the visual/spacial clutter), and things like tap-to-define-tricky-vocab and the automatically-collated database of colour-coded highlighted passages waiting for me at the end of each book are things I can’t imagine reading without anymore. 

Whatever your poison, I just hope you’re all reading your hearts out. Flipped through anything awesome? Let me know – always on the look out for anything new, unique and interesting….

The 7 Best Music Videos On YouTube in 2012

Let’s just clear up a few things: by “Best” I mean favourite, by “music videos” I’m mostly not referring to the original, official artist release, and by “2012”, I’m only talking about the year I first had the link come my way, not the year it was actually published. That having been said, this year has been full of pure gold. I’m sure there are plenty more I’ve forgotten on this list, but let’s just jump right into it without further disclaimers:

1. “I’m Good, I’m Gone”, Lykke Li

Great track, awesome chick, an infectious sense of fun. I haven’t seen the original clip for this song, but so far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing Lykke Li could do to improve on it!

2. “Kiss From A Rose”, Bard55’s Drunken Cat Serenade

So much passion in the delivery. Brilliant.

3. “I Fink U Freeky”, Die Antwoord

One of the most-played albums all year, working, writing, whatever. The film-clip rocks my world in so many ways. Roger Ballen’s messed up imagery just works for these guys…

4. “Party For Everybody”, Buranovskiye Babushki

They didn’t win Eurovision 2012 in Baku, but these feisty old gals were certainly the most memorable act of the night. Creepier than Die Antwoord too.

5. “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”, The Undisputed Truth

I don’t really care for the track all that much, but hot damn the Soul Train dancing and fashion choices are the bomb!

6. “Sexy And I Know It”, LMFAO (Spandy Andy Version)

Spandy Andy’s video to this song should’ve been the official video – way more entertaining than the one LMFAO’s record company dollar paid for, with a good deal more wiggling.

And last, but certainly not least….

7. “IMDABES”, gmcfosho

I could watch or listen to this track all 2013 long and still be finding new, subtle nuances I hadn’t picked up on before. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be flummoxed and as yourself: “Why?”

Enjoy. Plenty more where these came from in 2013…