Sound of Music, Live!
December 5, 2013
Early on in The Sound of Music, the nuns of Nonnberg Abbey sing a number asking, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?”. I imagine most of the viewers of NBC’s The Sound of Music Live were asking the same question upon seeing Carrie Underwood’s performance in the lead role of one of the most beloved musicals of all time. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why Carrie Underwood was cast in role of Maria. In fact, I’m quite certain this production would not have aired during prime time without Underwood’s name attached to it (unless of course Katy Perry, Lady Gaga or Ke$ha were alternately cast). The question that needs to be asked is whether there was any point to this undertaking if the lead role couldn’t be filled with someone with actual acting talent. Yes and no.
Inside Llewyn Davis, the soundtrack of which I reviewed yesterday, is a film about a struggling musician in Greenwich Village during the 1960′s. It is a very musical film, but not a musical. We decided it would be fun to create a top ten list of films of that same ilk. Not musicals. Not documentaries about musicians. Not concert films. But instead, films with an overall musical thread guiding the feature. Biopics were considered, because we all know there is plenty of fictionalized drama inserted into the majority of those type of films. This is a shockingly strong list covering music in many different forms. We have an all-time great mockumentary, a film about independent radio, and a couple movies about those who work in record stores. All in all, a very fun and diverse group of films. Enjoy, and as always let us know what we missed.
10. School of Rock
If you don’t love School of Rock, your heart has turned to stone. There are not many films that appeal equally to kids and adults, but School of Rock toes that line effortlessly in the ultimate crowd-pleaser. Kudos to Richard Linklater for stepping outside his indie comfort zone, as well as to Jack Black for providing the perfect central character for this romp.
Inside Llewyn Davis
It is kind of hard to review a soundtrack without seeing the movie. The context may be very important for a soundtrack. Certain songs may be felt more deeply when accompanied by the attached story. So, with that caveat in place, I am going to go ahead and review the original soundtrack for Inside Llewyn Davis. I kind of figured it wouldn’t hurt, since a lot of people may want to pick up the whole album on the strength of the Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford rendition of the traditional “Fare Thee Well”. In addition, many people just don’t see many movies, particularly Oscar-bate like Inside Llewyn Davis, so a review may be the only exposure they get.
Ever wonder what Bruce Springsteen bottoming out looks like? Here it is ladies and gentleman. “High Hopes”, the lead single from Springsteen’s album of the same name, is an abomination for a number of reasons. But before taking The Boss to task, let me give you a little background on the upcoming album. High Hopes, the album, is essentially a b-sides collection of material re-recorded with various members of The E Street Band, along with Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine fame taking the place of LxL favorite Steven Van Zandt on eight of the twelve tracks. Other artists have worked this formula fairly well, but if “High Hopes” is any indication, Springsteen is going to have far less success with a common formula.