Category Archives: Music

“Don’t Think Twice” – Movies borrowing Bob Dylan songs and lyrics

Most of the literate world is aware at this point that songwriter musician Bob Dylan was recently awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.  For those who don’t follow the news regularly there was some concern in the days following the announcement that Mr. Dylan couldn’t be found because he hadn’t formally commented about receiving this honor.  Finally he did respond publicly saying that receiving the award was “amazing, incredible.  Whoever dreams about something like that?”  It’s been reported that Mr. Dylan won’t be attending the awards ceremony, however, in Sweden on December 10 as he has another commitment at this time.

In the aftermath of Bob Dylan being the recipient of this award, I was reminded about seeing earlier this autumn two recent film titles that are lines lifted from Bob Dylan songs.  It made me realize how much his music has permeated our cultural consciousness.  These very recent films are entitled “Complete Unknown” (2016) and “Don’t Think Twice” (2016).

I began to wonder how many movies have borrowed their titles from Dylan songs through the years.  Here is a list of some films (as well as a few TV series):

“Forever Young” (1992)

“Corrina, Corrina” (1994) (Dylan didn’t write this blues/country song – his cover of it is well known)

“Just Like a Woman” – Three movies with this title since the late 1960s: 1967, 1992 and 2012

“A Simple Twist of Fate” (1994)

“Like a Rolling Stone” (1994) – Japanese film

“If Not For You” (1995) – TV series that ran 8 episodes

“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (1997) – German film

“All Along the Watchtower” (1999) – TV series that ran 6 episodes

“Tangled Up in Blue” – Three different full length films have been made with this title.  Their respective years of release were 2004, 2009 and 2011.

“Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast” (2005)

“Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan” (2006)

“Blowin’ in the Wind” (2007)

“One Too Many Mornings” (2010)

“My Back Pages” (2011) – Japanese film

I’m actually leaving out innumerable short films and individual television episodes (from a wide range of TV series) whose titles also borrow from Dylan’s repertoire.

Epilogue

In spring 2016 Rolling Stone magazine published this list of the 100 best Bob Dylan songs. Here is the online link: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-bob-dylan-songs-20160524

And in providing some commentary in regard to these songs, writer/director Cameron Crowe states “Dylan’s stuff continues to inform every generation – it just lives and lives and lives…”

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More Soundtracks…”Aloha”

The film “Aloha” was released in 2015, and before its release evidently this film was riddled with controversy.  Criticism initially stemmed from what is regarded as insensitive casting choices, and then in the wake of Sony studio’s hacked email communications, it was revealed that some studio executives believed the film was a mistake and the studio would lose money.

I saw “Aloha” on DVD the other night – it isn’t a great film, and in my opinion some of the plot lacks plausibility.  The chemistry among the actors was believable, however, and that kept my interest.

What “Aloha” does have is a cavalcade of good music ranging from traditional Hawaiian songs to selections by David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Hall & Oates, Eddie Vedder & his seven-year-old daughter, Harper, and more.  Given that the writer/director, Cameron Crowe is a former editor/writer for Rolling Stone Magazine, and Crowe’s other movies have similarly memorable musical moments, the abundance of music in “Aloha” is not all that surprising.

“Heart is a Drum” by Beck Hansen is a song in the film that captured me.

Sunday in the Park with George

“Putting it Together” from Sunday in the Park with George

Happiness and Rain

The term “oxymoron” refers to a rhetorical device or figure of speech in which contradictory or opposite words or concepts are combined for effect.  Examples are deafening silence or mournful optimist.  Beloved comedian George Carlin (RIP) had a monologue about “jumbo shrimp,” and I think it’s the first time I was made aware of this concept.

The other night I heard the Randy Newman song “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today” performed by singer, Bette Midler.  I thought maybe this song was kind of a contradiction.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxmVOnPyoik&feature=colike

I also thought of another song “Joy is Like the Rain” that also is contradictory in its depiction of rain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAVgpZCcWoo&feature=colike

And finally there is the classical “Singing in the Rain” song and dance sequence with actor/dancer Gene Kelly in the movie of the same title.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ZYhVpdXbQ&feature=colike

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Iconic Movies & their Iconic Songs

                   

It all started with seeing recently the movie “To Be or Not to Be,” the original 1942 version.  A funny and memorable film, I remembered that Mel Brooks had remade this film in the early 1980s starring himself and actress, Anne Bancroft, his wife in real life.  I’ve actually haven’t seen yet the Mel Brooks 1983 version of “To Be or Not to Be.”

Anyway for some reason at this point I began to do research on actress Anne Bancroft – I’ve always admired her work.  It turns out at her funeral in 2005, musician Paul Simon played the song of his “Mrs. Robinson” as a tribute to Anne Bancroft and the role of Mrs. Robinson that she played in the 1967 movie “The Graduate.”  Made now some 45 years ago, the film “The Graduate” along with the song “Mrs. Robinson” has reached, in my opinion, something of  iconic stature in modern culture.

It occurred to me that there are actually several iconic movies that have equally iconic songs connected to them.  I’m not speaking of musicals of the Oscar & Hammerstein variety or more recently the animated musicals of Alan Menken & Howard Ashman – I’m referring to films where a song that is played in the film possibly captures people’s emotions as much as the film does.

I’ve decided here to make a list of what I consider iconic films along with their equally iconic songs.  I know I’m going to miss a few.  I’m going to start with one from the 1940s and try to move forward chronologically.

1940s

Film: Holiday Inn (1942);    Song: “White Christmas”

Film: Casablanca (1942);    Song “As Time Goes By”

1950s

Film: Love is a Many Splendored Thing (1955);    Song “Love is a Many Splendored Thing”

Film: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956):    Song “Que Sera Sera” (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)

1960s

Film: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961);    Song “Moon River”

Film: Days of Wine and Roses (1962):    Song “Days of Wine and Roses”

Film: Alfie (1966);    Song “Alfie”

Film: Thomas Crown Affair (1968);    Song “The Windmills of Your Mind”

Film: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969);    Song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”

Film: Midnight Cowboy (1969);    Song “Everybody’s Talking at Me”

1970s

Film: Shaft (1972);    Song: “Shaft”

Film: The Sting (1973):    Song: “The Entertainer” (instrumental theme song from the movie)

Film: The Way We Were (1974);    Song: “The Way We Were”

1980s

Film: Fame (1980);    Song: “Fame”

Film: Arthur (1981);    Song: “The Best That You Can Do”

Film: An Officer and a Gentleman (1982);  Song: “Up Where We Belong”

Film: Flashdance (1983);   Song: “Oh, What a Feeling”

Film: Ghostbusters (1984);   Song: “Ghostbusters”

Film: Back to the Future (1985):   Song: “The Power of Love”

Film: Top Gun (1986);   Song: “Take My Breath Away”

Film: Dirty Dancing (1987);    Song: “(I’ve Had the) Time of My Life”

1990s

Film: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991);   Song:  “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”

Film: Toy Story (1995);   Song: “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”

Film: Titanic (1997);   Song: “My Heart Will Go On”

2000s

Film: “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000);   Song: “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow”

Film: Shrek 2 (2004) – the Shrek concept is “iconic”;   Song: “Accidently In Love”

James Bond Films

It occurred to me that many a James Bond film has a song that is attached to it and maybe these need a section all of their own.  Here are some of these films and their iconic songs.

Film: Goldfinger (1964);   Song: “Goldfinger”

Film: Live and Let Die (1973);   Song: “Live and Let Die”

Film: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977);   Song: “Nobody Does It Better”

Film: For Your Eyes Only (1981):   Song: “For Your Eyes Only”

I know there are more films with their accompanying songs out there – it’s occurred to me that it’s often in retrospect that films and their affiliated songs achieve “iconic” status.

“Time” dilemma: Seeking, NO; Escape, YES

When we use time as a means
of acquiring a quality, a virtue or a state of being,
we are merely postponing
or avoiding what is;
and I think it is important
to understand this point.

J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986)

 

Time Out of Mind (song by Steely Dan)

Son you better be ready for love
On this glory day,
This is your chance to believe
What I’ve got to say:

Keep your eyes on the sky
Put a dollar in the kitty
Don’t the moon look pretty?

Tonight when I chase the dragon,
The water may change to cherry wine
And the silver will turn to gold
Time out of mind.

I am holding a mystical stone,
It’s direct from Lasa
Where people are rolling in the snow
Far from the world we know.

Children we have it right here,
It’s the light in my eyes,
It’s perfection and grace,
It’s the smile on my face.

Tonight when I chase the dragon,
The water may change to cherry wine
And the silver will turn to gold
Time out of mind.

Children we have it right here,
It’s the light in my eyes,
It’s perfection and grace,
It’s the smile on my face.

Tonight when I chase the dragon,
The water may change to cherry wine
And the silver will turn to gold
Time out of mind.

Steely Dan performing Live version – “Time Out of Mind:”   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeaHeXVx3CE