Author Topic: Wes Anderson and music  (Read 2454 times)

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©brad

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Wes Anderson and music
« on: April 15, 2009, 02:11:50 PM »
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Take a look at this excerpt from an AV Club interview with Will Oldham in which he slams Wes Anderson - specifically, the way he uses music in his films (full interview here).

AVC: You mentioned talking to Richard Linklater and Caveh Zahedi about your ideas on movie music. Can you summarize those ideas?

WO: Well, for a while, it seemed like you were always seeing movies where all the music was determined by the music supervisors and their special relationships with certain record labels. And I just felt like, “Wow, I’ll bet they spent months or years writing this screenplay, and I’ll bet they spent months shooting this, and I’ll bet they spent months editing this, and now they’re spending no time at all picking these completely inappropriate songs with lyrics to put under a scene that has dialogue.” How does that even work? How can you have a song with someone singing lyrics under spoken dialogue and consider that mood-music, or supportive of the storyline? As somebody who likes music, when that happens, I tend to listen to the lyrics, which have nothing to do with the movie. And then I’m lost in the storyline. Not only is that a crime, but it’s a crime not to give people who are good at making music for movies the work. It’s like saying, “We don’t need you, even though you’re so much better at it than I am as a music supervisor.” Like the cancer that is that Darjeeling guy… what’s his name?

AVC: Wes Anderson?

WO: Yeah. His completely cancerous approach to using music is basically, “Here’s my iPod on shuffle, and here’s my movie.” The two are just thrown together. People are constantly contacting me saying, “I’ve been editing my movie, and I’ve been using your song in the editing process. What would it take to license the song?” And for me it’s like, “Regardless of what you’ve been doing, my song doesn’t belong in your movie.” That’s where the conversation should end. Music should be made for movies, you know?


To a certain extent I agree with Oldham, however I do think he is being a tad cruel to old Wes (as many people are). Simply filling your movie with a hodgepodge of songs you think are cool without any regard to what they mean or what they really add to the film is lazy, sure. But I don't think Wes is doing that, as I find his music choices poignant and not at all arbitrary.

The question remains, to score or not to score?

I think the obvious answer is there's no one right way and ultimately the content should dictate what you do musically. But it's still interesting to hear different prospectives from various filmmakers. David Chase always said he didn't want score in the Sopranos because he felt he would be force-feeding an emotion down the audience's throat. Though one could argue that using a Stones song does the same thing, just maybe in a more subtle way.

I always like it when the characters are actually listening to the songs in the film. One recent film that I thought used music in a really fresh way was Rachel Getting Married. While I'm sure it was a huge headache for the sound editor, the live music was so organic and made the film see all the more real. You could totally tell it had an influence on the performances of the actors too.

So, what do you kids think? Would you be a score director, a source director, or a mixture of both (scource?). Does Oldham have a point? Is his Wes-bashing warranted? Is it better when music is created for a specific film, either via score or original song? Or does it not matter at all?

New Feeling

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Re: Wes and music
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2009, 02:22:08 PM »
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will oldham is being a motherfucking douche in this here quote.  It obviously doesn't matter one fucking iota where a song originated. By his logic people were born not to be in movies but to live life, and therefore shouldn't be in movies unless genetically engineered for that purpose.  etc.

Gold Trumpet

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Re: Wes and music
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2009, 02:42:58 PM »
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A score wouldn't help a Wes Anderson's movie. He's the equivalent of a personality based singer-songwriter for filmmaking. Nothing he does is based on real innovation or insight. He creates a charm for his fans that they find heartwarming. You either get it or you don't. I don't so he's a cult filmmaker to me, but all of his films are based on the intangibles of his personality. His random soundtracks are an aspect of that personality.

A score is meant to underscore the action into some dramatic feeling (whether light or heavy). His stories play out on wavelengths of breezy irony so that would be wrong.

Yea, that was pretty arrogant, but what can I say? I'm bad at discussing Wes Anderson

picolas

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Re: Wes and music
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2009, 04:08:37 PM »
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i can't begin...

Alexandro

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Re: Wes and music
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2009, 05:05:10 PM »
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i can't begin...

of course. it's hard to find where to begin. this has to be one of the most idiotic things I've ever heard. for starters, wes anderson is obviously not doing what a "music supervisor" does according to this guy, which would be just throw songs into movies because of business relationships between record labels and studios. however you wanna judge his approach to music, it is not certainly motivated for those reasons, and it's not just some random selection of music. everyone knows is completely valid to use pre existing music to find a tone or emotional truth in a movie. but according to this guy, kubrick should have used the original score written for 2001 because Strauss's valse "doesn't belong" in 2001. Nor Scorsese use classic rock, or Herzog russian chants, or Paul Thomas Anderson disco music or Aimee Mann.

My God, we should all keep our James Horner original scores, right? He sounds like he doesn't understand not only a thing about cinema, but music, art and probably any other thing in life. I'm pissed.

©brad

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Re: Wes and music
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2009, 07:41:46 PM »
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Okay so I kind of regret starting this thread. On the other hand..

i can't begin...

marqueeee.

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Re: Wes and music
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2009, 09:15:27 PM »
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but according to this guy, kubrick should have used the original score written for 2001 because Strauss's valse "doesn't belong" in 2001. Nor Scorsese use classic rock, or Herzog russian chants, or Paul Thomas Anderson disco music or Aimee Mann.

My God, we should all keep our James Horner original scores, right? He sounds like he doesn't understand not only a thing about cinema, but music, art and probably any other thing in life. I'm pissed.

I still consider his point to be essentially fair. I don't think he is asking for Wes to use only scores, but he wants Wes Anderson to show some reverance for them. Even when he is just using instrumental music, it seems to be the  instrumental version of one of his favorite pop songs. You list major filmmakers that don't always use traditional scores, but your example is just based on individual films. All those filmmakers still embraced traditional scores on some level in other films. Even Boogie Nights has a traditional score in between all the disco songs.

The state of classical music today is that it's becoming marginalized in our society. Most newspapers and magazines that once had classical critics don't anymore. Older classical music will always exist on CD and vinyl, but most classical musicians admit that the most exciting platform for new music has become films. Scores are the new tablet on which a composer can do their work for the eye of the public.

This doesn't mean Wes Anderson has to become just about scores. Not at all, but it's been a continious criticism that he needs to expand upon a lot of his interests. I mocked him in the earlier post because he isn't my taste, but he also doesn't try to be anyone's taste but his core audience. That isn't very good.

ElPandaRoyal

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Re: Wes and music
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2009, 07:22:27 AM »
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I find it hard to read that Wes Anderson is a cancer when it comes to the use of songs and music in his movies. If only because a cancer is, by definition, something "evi"l that begins to evolve inside a body ultimately killing it. Music in Wes's movies is not only "evil", but help make his movies better. Think of "2000 Man" in Bottle Rocket, or "These Days" in The Royal Tenenbaums and you'll know that those songs fit perfectly where thay are. The thing is, Oldham looks at it from the wrong perspective: pre existing music wasn't written for a movie, but some movies and scenes are inspired by music, so the scene belongs to the music.

Plus, Wes has used traditional score in most of his movies, by Mark Mothersbaugh - true: it's peculiar music, but so are all the scores in PTA movies as well.
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Stefen

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Re: Wes and music
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2009, 09:34:41 AM »
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I think Wes Anderson's use of music fits his style, but I also see where others are coming from. I personally don't think a run of the mill score would even work for his films.

Wes Anderson is a filmmaker that I think I've grown out of. He doesn't seem to be growing as a filmmaker. It's pretty much the same type of movie every time. The older he gets, the more emotional saccharine he seems to be adding, but as a whole, his movies haven't changed. He's got his niche, which includes the music he uses and it works for him so more power to him.
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The Perineum Falcon

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Re: Wes and music
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2009, 12:18:43 PM »
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I feel Oldham's being a little silly here, and is perhaps taking his distaste for Anderson's films a bit too far by labeling him a "cancer".

(unless he's really into astrology........)

I also don't feel that Anderson's soundtracks are neccessarily chosen at random, on shuffle, etc. If that's the case, I'm surprised he didn't mention Tarantino in the same breath, since it seems Tarantino just loves to reference, well, anything and sometimes his choice of song seems alittle unneccessary or even (alright, I say it just this once) "pretentious." (I'm thinking specifically here of the Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich spiel in Death Proof, even though it might not be totally out of character for Jungle Julia).

Anderson, on the other hand, seems to more carefully choose his soundtracks, and has such foresight in what songs to choose that he writes them into the script. Perhaps there are questionable choices in his films, but I feel that just about every song chosen in The Royal Tenenbaums is warranted in one way or another.
And besides that, Anderson creates characters that are likely to be familiar with music chosen for the soundtrack (Margot & Ritchie listening to The Stones, to Jack continually choosing the same Sarstedt) and find some personal meaning in them.

I dunno, maybe he's right and Wes should just avoid the Capricorn. =\
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Re: Wes and music
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2009, 01:28:41 PM »
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I like Oldham's music, but I don't know why anyone is taking what this kook's saying seriously.  He totally invalidated anything he had to say by pretending he didn't know Wes Anderson by name.

Alexandro

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Re: Wes and music
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2009, 04:43:25 PM »
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but according to this guy, kubrick should have used the original score written for 2001 because Strauss's valse "doesn't belong" in 2001. Nor Scorsese use classic rock, or Herzog russian chants, or Paul Thomas Anderson disco music or Aimee Mann.

My God, we should all keep our James Horner original scores, right? He sounds like he doesn't understand not only a thing about cinema, but music, art and probably any other thing in life. I'm pissed.

I still consider his point to be essentially fair. I don't think he is asking for Wes to use only scores, but he wants Wes Anderson to show some reverance for them. Even when he is just using instrumental music, it seems to be the  instrumental version of one of his favorite pop songs. You list major filmmakers that don't always use traditional scores, but your example is just based on individual films. All those filmmakers still embraced traditional scores on some level in other films. Even Boogie Nights has a traditional score in between all the disco songs.

The state of classical music today is that it's becoming marginalized in our society. Most newspapers and magazines that once had classical critics don't anymore. Older classical music will always exist on CD and vinyl, but most classical musicians admit that the most exciting platform for new music has become films. Scores are the new tablet on which a composer can do their work for the eye of the public.

This doesn't mean Wes Anderson has to become just about scores. Not at all, but it's been a continious criticism that he needs to expand upon a lot of his interests. I mocked him in the earlier post because he isn't my taste, but he also doesn't try to be anyone's taste but his core audience. That isn't very good.


No way, the guy is clearly saying that "music should be made for films" and that his music is "not appropiate" for a film no matter what because it wasn't written for it. And he's a dumbass for saying that.

As for Wes Anderson, others have already said very eloquent things about why the guy makes good use of pre existing music. Certainly his personal taste in music and how he uses it in movies is not his biggest problem as a filmmaker.

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Re: Wes and music
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2009, 12:15:57 AM »
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yeah, mark mothersbaugh composes scores that do go to quite a few places, though wes anderson's kinda known for digging up songs cooler than even the cool kids.  or I dunno, maybe everyone knows what they are.  I think this is another case where people are trashing wes anderson for his imitators, just as people often trash tarantino 'cause they think he's like lucky number sleven or whatever.  I just saw bottle rocket again, it was before wes anderson could afford all the music he wanted, and the movie played just fine.  or at least not too differently from something like the tenenbaums which was kinda relentless with the songs.
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Re: Wes and music
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2010, 09:19:12 AM »
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Cute fan-made Rushmore inspired wedding invite.

Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

 

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