For this weeks installment of LxListening, I decided to pay tribute to the recent passing of director Tony Scott. For one reason or another, Tony decided to take his own life by jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge that connects Long Beach to San Pedro, a bridge I used to frequently cross while living in Long Beach. As an outsider or a loved one of the person, suicide is a hard thing to comprehend, and an even harder thing to cope with. I can’t imagine what his family is going through. Tony was younger brother to Ridley Scott, another great British/Hollywood icon. The two have both been renowned directors for many years now, and although they have had their downs, they have both had quite the ups as well. Although Tony never had any monster critically acclaimed successes, he was a very unique and stylized director. He was very technically good in many ways and every once in a while he would show up with some very interesting ways to use music in his films. Below our my five favorite highlights in which he used music. I’ve never claimed Tony as a favorite director of mine, but while going through is IMDb page I must say, he has made a few films that have had a larger impact on me than I truly realize. Dedicated to a good director whose name will always be remembered in film, here are some wonderful music moments directed by the late Tony Scott. And no, they aren’t all from the movie Top Gun … although they very well should be.
Song: “Jesus Gonna Be Here” by Tom Waits
This song comes into the film wonderfully at the tail end of a trippy drugged-out sex scene, when the man of the hour himself comes out to make an appearance. That’s right, Tom Waits led in by his own music, plays a prophet that tries to shed a little light and give some advice to two troubled drifters. Tom has made many cameos in many films, but this scene is my favorite of his. It suits him perfectly and is brilliantly introduced by one of his own songs.
Movie: Deja Vu
Song: “Don’t Worry Baby” by the Beach Boys
Yes, I know, this one’s a little cheesy. Cheesy or not though, I couldn’t help but smile when the song came on at the end of the movie. For those of you who have seen the movie, you probably know what I’m talking about. For those of you who haven’t, I won’t spoil. Just trust me that it works well in many ways. Plus it’s a beautifully sung Beach Boys song, so it’s hard to go totally wrong.
Song: “Mama Told Me Not To Come” by Three Dog Night
I realize it’s slightly lame to put two songs from the same movie on a five song list, but I couldn’t help it. They are both just too bad ass. This scene changed the way I say shoot-em up scenes forever. I still remember watching this scene in the theater when that first shot went off at about the same time “Mama” began belting through the speakers. At first I thought it was an error by the projectionist, then I realized that it was just Tony Scott using one of the more brilliant covers of all time in a very non-traditional way, but also in a way that made more sense than most traditions in the first place. Sheer brilliance, and still to this day one of my favorite stand-off scenes.
Movie: True Romance
Song: “You’re So Cool!” by Hans Zimmer based on Gassenhauer from Carl Orff’s Schulwerk
True Romance is truly one of my favorite movies of all time, and is incredibly underrated by the public. This theme song is used througout the entire movie here and there, and if it sounds familiar it’s because it has been used in a few other films as well. Most notably, Terrance Malick’s Badlands, in which Tony was inspired by so much that he not only copied the music, but also pulled narrative components out of Patricia Arquette’s character that wasn’t originally in the script. The script of course was Quentin Tarantino’s first, and not surprisingly Tarantino had mostly good things to say about how Tony portrayed it onscreen. I chose the particular moment above because it is my favorite moment in which it is used in the film, accompanied by one of my favorite movie quotes as Patricia repeats the line “You’re so cool”.
Movie: Top Gun
Song: “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin
Act like you’re surprised. How could I not included the greatest love making scene ever shot on camera. It would be a travesty to not include it. “Danger Zone”, “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay”, “Great Balls of Fire”, and “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” all could have very well made the playlist as well, but I decided to stick with this cinematic masterpiece of a scene. Backlit in blue silhouettes of skin, appendages, and tongues, and set to one of the greatest of all 80’s pop tunes created by a band with the name of a foreign country, content, or city. This is truly a moment in which Tony manages to take EVERYONE’S breath away.
That is what I got for this week. Hopefully everyone takes 2 hours or so out of this upcoming weekend, and spends it with one of Tony’s films. I know I already got True Romance pulled up and ready to watch. Thanks for listening!