Music In Movies

I want to make it clear that this isn’t going to be a blogpost about musicals. I might do one in the future, because I love musicals, but this is not it. It’s not a post about soundtracks, either. This post is about characters in film that love to listen to or love to make music. Not biographies of artists or anything, although Velvet Goldmine ventures into that territory. Completely fictional love for completely fictional music.

Velvet Goldmine

I was recently reminded of how much I love this film when I started preparing for the Bryan Ferry show I’m attending next week. I listened to the amazing Ladytron. But this movie has more to recommend it than just a great soundtrack: it also has Ewan McGregor, whom I love, and a great narrative framework that keeps the audience on its toes.

If you’re a Dutchie and want to know more about this film, watch my father’s awesome video essay. Continue reading

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Displays Of Sexism In The Great Hall

Both Durmstrang and Beauxbatons were co-ed schools. Repeat after me: in the Harry Potter books, both Durmstrang and Beauxbatons were co-ed schools.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there is anything harder than adapting a long, detailed and immensely popular book into a film. Inevitably, vital scenes will have to be cut, and frenzied fans like myself will be disappointed by these cuts. Do you all remember the scene with the Weasleys getting stuck in the chimney at the Dursleys’ house? I would have paid good money to see that. Also, Ludo Bagman never made it into the film, leaving me to wonder forever how handsome he actually was.

Yet I think that the filmmakers that worked on the Harry Potter franchise did a remarkably good job of adapting those books into movies. Most of the central storyline is in the scripts, and on top of that the movies are designed with such incredible eye for detail that you really feel as though you are entering the Wizarding World; the films never do harm to the dreamlike fictional quality of the Harry Potter universe. If anything, they add to it.

Of course, there are a few things that haven’t gone entirely to plan. For example, Dumbledore asking Harry a question “calmly” was turned into a crazed shouting match in the Goblet Of Fire film. This discrepancy has become quite infamous all over the internet, although it never bothered me much. The intonation of a single sentence isn’t important to the story; I would argue that, in a film, the fiery delivery of the line adds to the excitement. So no big deal.

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There is one other way in which the Goblet Of Fire film deviates from the book, and that is a more disturbing difference. Have a look at the pictures below. The top one shows the boys of the Durmstrang Institute entering Hogwarts to take part in the Triwizard Tournament. The one below shows the entrance made by the all-female student body of Beauxbatons.

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There are two things wrong with this scene. Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Billy!

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Today is Billy Crudup’s 48th birthday. Have a great day, Billy, I love ya. I shall take this opportunity to celebrate what is perhaps the greatest achievement in cinematic history: Cameron Crowe’s 2000 masterpiece Almost Famous, in which Crudup played the role of the charismatic rock star Russel Hammond. What do I love about Almost Famous?

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Continue reading