My Favourite Movie Soundtracks

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The soundtrack to a movie is hugely important.  It gives a movie impact by stirring the relevant emotion in the viewer.  Think of John Barry’s music for Out of Africa for example.  Here is a list of some of my favourite soundtracks, some well known, others not.

 

The Talented Mr Ripley – Various artists

Beautiful, brilliant and haunting…..just like the film, this music will get inside your head.  I love that Matt Damon and Jude Law perform on the soundtrack.  My favourite piece is a classical music piece, Italia, by Gabriel Yared. It reminds me of how I feel when I arrive in Italy on holiday.

 

The Virgin Suicides – Various Artists

Again, beautiful soundtrack.  Everything about Sophia Coppola’s films are in the little details and the soundtrack is perfect, making one think of lazy, hot summers and first love.  I adore Playground Love by Air.

 

Tron Legacy – Daft Punk

I have always liked Daft Punk so I thought it was pretty cool that Disney gave them free rein on the soundtrack.  Daft Punk have created an amazing score that could not be more perfect for this film.  Various pieces have been used for adverts, unsurprisingly.  We always listen to the whole album when driving over the San Gottard pass to get to Italy every year.  My favourite track? Two, Outlands and Disc Wars, but if you love electro then you’ll love the whole album.

 

Moulin Rouge and Romeo & Juliet – Various Artists

The music for these two fantastic films, is key. It is quite unusual for the music to be centre stage in what are not quite musicals in the traditional sense, or Romeo & Juliet is not at least.  I love the variety of rock and pop.  My favourite tracks are I’m Kissing You by Des’ree and Diamond Dogs by Beck.

 

Hitch – Various Artists

Just like the film itself, the soundtrack is totally feel-good, I  mean, this film has Heavy D & the Boyz for goodness sake!  My favourite track is 1 Thing by Amerie.  This movie and soundtrack reminds me of a great year in my life.

 

Despicable Me (1 & 2) – Pharrell & Various Artists

What can I say?  I have two little boys who adore these films and I admit, I enjoy the soundtrack with them too.  My 5 year old knows the despicable me ‘rap’.  Best track?  Happy.  End of.  Pharrell is indeed a clever guy.

 

The Bodyguard – Whitney Houston

Now, more than ever, this soundtrack is more heartbreaking because of poor Whitney.  She was at the top of her game here and surprised everyone with how good an actress she was to boot.  I love, I Have Nothing.

 

Lord of the Rings – Howard Shore

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Sweeping and epic, like the trilogy, the Lord of the Rings soundtrack is a triumph.  Instantly recognisable, like other hugely successful film saga soundtracks, this is already a classic.  All of it is as brilliant as the three films themselves.

 

The Empire Strikes Back – John Williams

Speaking of epic sagas, John Williams score for Empire is just that.  The best track on the soundtrack is undoubtedly Finale.  Best soundtrack of the trilogy for the best film of the trilogy.  I’m not including episodes 1-3.

 

The Lost Boys – Various Artists

One of my favourite movies from my teens, this is one awesome soundtrack.  Really, no competition, best track is People are Strange by Echo & the Bunnymen.

 

Last, but not least….

When Harry Met Sally – Harry Connick Jr

I love this film.  Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal and writer, Nora Ephron (RiP), are at the top of their game.  So was Harry Connick Jr when he made this soundtrack.  Perfect songs for a movie about a couple of friends in New York trying to find true love.  My favourite track? Gotta be, It Had to be You.

 

There are so many more, too many to mention, but anything by John Williams, the fab techno soundtrack to Run, Lola, Run, Quentin Tarantino’s movies always have good music (Kill Bill a prime example), I love Danny Elfman’s quirky sound (he scores Tim Burton’s movies), Michael Ghiacchino’s score for Star Trek: Into Darkness, Alan Silvestri’s score for Avengers Assemble, the Bond movie soundtracks…..

 

images: IMDb

 

 

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The Talented Mr Ripley

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Tagline:  How far would you go to become someone else?

Let me start off by saying, this is my favourite movie.  I love everything about it.  It has all the elements of what constitutes a good film to me.

Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, which, incidentally, I’ve read, The Talented Mr Ripley is in the unusual position of bettering the book.  Most book adaptations are not as good or just as good.

I still clearly remember watching The Talented Mr Ripley at the cinema, back in 1999, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the film, specifically the ending when I left.  A good film has you thinking about it afterwards.

Set in the late 1950’s, billionaire, Greenleaf, approaches Tom Ripley at a social event in New York.  He is under the impression that Tom went to Princeton with his son, Dickie, as Tom is wearing a Princeton blazer (which he borrowed).  Tom does not correct this assumption and Mr Greenleaf proposes to Tom that for $1,000, Tom goes to Italy to find Dickie and bring him back to America.  Mr Greenleaf is sick of funding Dickie’s playboy lifestyle and wants him to work in the family shipping business.

Tom, although poor and working as a bathroom attendant, is clearly intelligent and cultured.  He jumps at the chance and sees a way of bettering himself and his life.

When Tom arrives in Mongibello (fictional town, in real life, it is Ischia), where Dickie is living.  You can feel his thoughts and emotions as he takes in the beauty surrounding him.  To anybody who has visited, or is living in Italy, it truely does this.

Dickie, when we meet him, is an arrogant, over-indulged, spoilt and selfish playboy who does not appreciate his lifestyle.  It makes it very easy to be on the side of Tom after the future events of the film.

Marge Sherwood, Dickie’s fiancee, played by Gywneth Paltrow, is a more sympathetic character.  She is perfect in this role.  She looks and plays the part of Marge like a latter day Grace Kelly and her wardrobe is to die for.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (a sad loss to the movie industry, RiP), shines brightly in his small, but important role of the odious Freddie Miles, Dickie’s best friend.

Cate Blanchett’s character, Meredith Logue, is not in the book.  Anthony Mingella wanted Cate in the movie so the part was written in especially for her.  She makes Meredith very vulnerable and likeable and the character adds a special something, rather than being there for the sake of it.

The locations, music (I have the soundtrack) and costumes are perfection.  I really believe the cast would have happily acted in this film for free.

Back to the plot, without ruining it for newbies.  Everything is shiny, new, romantic and wonderful to Tom when he arrives in this world.  Tom is desperate to shed his old life and fit in, instead of being on the outside, looking in.  Then the ugly side of Dickie’s character and the consequences of his playboy actions are shown.  Things descend into chaos from one moment of anger. Tom finds himself in a situation where he is able to steal Dickie’s identity.

If I say too much more, I really will spoil this film for you.  It is a credit to Matt Damon’s acting that he manages to bring the audience on side.  Jude Law was born to play the role of Dickie.  I have not seen him excel in any other movie quite so well and he won a BAFTA, deservedly.

This film is for lovers of Italy, thrillers, great acting and stunning cinematogrophy.  Anthony Minghella lovingly shows Rome, Venice and Southern Italy in a wonderful light.  If you have never been to Italy, you will want to go after viewing this.

Trivia:

Matt Damon learned to play the piano and Jude Law learned to play the saxophone for their respective characters

Leonardo di Caprio was considered for the part of Tom Ripley.  He is probably the only other actor I can think of in the role, other than Matt Damon.  Christian Bale and Tom Cruise were also considered!

Images: courtesy of IMDb