In this scene, Sparkle Motion performs onstage while, miles away, Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) burns down the house of creepy motivational speaker, Jim Cunningham (Patrick Swayze). Playing throughout this scene: Duran Duran’s “Notorious.”
With the passing of Chuck Berry, today’s musical sequence of the day is a bit of a no-brainer. This scene, from 1994’s Pulp Fiction, is already one of my favorite dance scenes and, today, it takes on a special poignance.
It’s funny. Whenever there’s a montage of classic dance scenes, we always get at least a few seconds of John Travolta and Uma Thurman dancing at Jack Rabbits Slim. In fact, I’ve seen this dance featured in so many montages that it’s easy to forget which song they were originally dancing to. I’ve seen this scene scored with everything from Sinatra to punk to Britney Spears to EDM. And, every time, it’s worked beautifully.
But really, “You Never Can Tell” is the perfect song for this scene. Pulp Fiction is so many thing that I think people sometimes forget that, at heart, it’s truly a celebration of Americana. Seeing John Travolta and Uma Thurman dancing to Chuck Berry serves to remind us of this fact.
“Johnny B. Goode”. “Roll Over, Beethoven”. “Sweet Little Sixteen”. “Rock and Roll Music”. The most iconic songs of the Golden Age of Rock’N’Roll belonged to one man, Chuck Berry. When I got home this evening and heard the news he passed away at the age of 90, I knew I’d have to preempt my regularly scheduled post and pay tribute. Because without Chuck Berry, there’s no Beatles, no Rolling Stones, no Beach Boys, no rock and roll as we know it. He was that influential on 20th century music, and the uncrowned King of Rock and Roll.
Sure, Elvis was bigger, but it was Chuck Berry who wrote the soundtrack for a generation of kids listening to their radios searching for relief from the blandness of 50’s commercial pop. He spoke their language, the language of teenage lust, hot rods, high schools hops, all set to a rocking back beat. Berry was…
(If you’re looking for the usual music video of the day, fear not! Val is currently having some internet issues but, as soon as their resolved, both she and the music videos should be back! Until then, I’m filling with some of my favorite cinematic musical sequences!)
For today’s musical sequence of the day, we have “Agony” from the 2014 film, Into The Woods.
Into the Woods got some notably mixed reviews when it was first released. At the time it was released, I wrote that, while I liked it “I never loved Into the Woods like I thought I would.” In retrospect, I think the film may have been the victim of a combination of my own high expectations and my tendency to be a snob when it comes to cinematic adaptations of Broadway musicals. I recently rewatched Into The Woods and it actually holds up remarkably well.
Definitely one of the highlights of the film was Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen’s duet on “Agony.” Both Pine and Magnussen were perfectly cast as fairy tale princes and “Agony” is a beautiful satire of melodramatic excess. When I first saw the film at the Alamo Drafthouse, “Agony” was the one number that inspired people in the audience to applaud.
Continuing today’s salute to St. Patrick and all things Irish, how about Mrs. Kelly’s baby boy Gene dancing up a storm to “The Hat Me Dear Old Father Wore” from the 1949 musical TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME (which you can read about here). Does it get anymore Irish than this?
This is a day that is very important to several of the writers here at the Shattered Lens. It’s a day in which we celebrate all things Irish and that means a lot more than just wearing green. (That said, I did buy green lingerie specifically for today because, seriously, when would I ever turn down a chance to buy lingerie?)
For today’s musical sequence of the day, I’m happy to present one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite Irish films, 2006’s Once. Prepare to wipe away a tear as Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova perform “Falling Slowly.”