Anyone looking at this site probably knows this already, but over at rockcritics.com, readers are invited to submit their picks for a wide variety of music-related lists. I think the idea was inspired by either Alanis or HIGH FIDELITY--no, wait a minute, HIGH FIDELITY was inspired by people like *us*. There are a few dozen lists archived at present, with four or five new ones added every month. If you have any good list ideas yourself, e-mail Scott Woods: "Five Most Underrated Del-Lords Tracks," "Five Best Songs About Fire Hydrants," that kind of thing. Here are the lists I've submitted myself. Whenever there's a reference to a list posted below mine on the original page, I left it alone. It's not rocket science; I'm sure you'll figure everything out fine.
Five Favourite Movie Lines01: SIDNEY FALCO: "I know Manny Davis." / J.J. HUNSECKER: "Everyone knows Manny Davis--except Mrs. Manny Davis." (SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, 1957) 02: NAMELESS STOOGE: "If I tell you, how do I know you won't kill me?" / EDDIE THE DANE: "Because if you told me and I killed you and you were lying, then I wouldn't get to kill you then." (MILLER'S CROSSING, 1990) 03: JACK WOLTZ: "Johnny Fontane will never get that movie! I don't care how many Dago-Guinea-Wop-greaseball-goombahs come out of the woodwork!" / TOM HAGEN: "I'm German-Irish." / WOLTZ: "Well, let me tell you something my Kraut-Mick friend..." (THE GODFATHER, 1972) 04: HAVEN HAMILTON: "I will not tolerate rudeness in the presence of a star-- *two* stars." (NASHVILLE, 1975) 05: PHILIP MARLOWE: "Is he any good?" / EDDIE MARS: "Who, Sydney? He's company for Pete." (THE BIG SLEEP, 1946) I picked all laugh-lines--just thinking about any one of them gets me giddy. I seem to remember that Bogart's mincing around with Sonia Darrin (Agnes) in THE BIG SLEEP was included in THE CELLULOID CLOSET, but they missed the exchange above. Every rep house I've ever seen THE GODFATHER in erupts after John Marley's tirade. Marley fairly hisses his "Kraut-Mick friend" line, but in a different context you can almost imagine it as a term of endearment: MY KRAUT- MICK FRIEND, an ABC Movie of the Week circa 1978, starring Kristy McNichol as a misfit teenager and Mickey Rooney as the old man down the street she befriends. I haven't listed maybe my favourite line ever, Burt Reynolds' reaction to Mark Wahlberg when he pitches his concept for the Brock Landers films: "Those are great names!" It doesn't translate well on the page; as delivered by Reynolds in the film, punctuated by "Magnet and Steel" on the soundtrack, it's just about the most inexplicably joyous movie moment I can think of.
Five Best Uses of "Fuck" in a Song01: "Divorce Song," Liz Phair (1993) 02: "Compton's in the House," N.W.A. (1989) 03: "Everything Falls Apart," Hüsker Dü (1982) 04: "Working Class Hero," John Lennon (1970) 05: "We Should Be Together," Jefferson Airplane (1969) As you can see, I'm somewhat of a sentimental traditionalist when it comes to the word "fuck"...At first I was going to keep punk and hip-hop out of it, where "fuck" often functions like "is," "to," and "the." That would artificially eliminate about 97% of the field, though. In the immortal words of N.W.A., "With a fucked-up style and a fucked-up show/Hey yo, Ren, what about the scratchin', is it def?/Fuck no!"--those guys were crazy for "fuck," it was the very life- blood of their art, and they need to be properly commemorated. So Hüsker Dü's on there too, with Flipper ("Get Away"), Minor Threat ("Straight Edge"), and Schoolly-D ("Signifying Rapper") close. Lennon and Jefferson Airplane were the first times I ever encountered the word on a record, probably the case with a lot of people, giving them a position of historical privilege. Like Henry Miller and Lenny Bruce before them, they’re ESOFs: Elder Statesmen of “Fuck.” I didn't hear either till the mid-70s, when I bought THE WORST OF JEFFERSON AIRPLANE and PLASTIC ONO BAND--"We Can Be Together" was thrilling, "Working Class Hero" shocking, and they still are. That leaves Liz Phair at #1. "Fuck and Run" and "Flower" got more attention as songs and as obscenity, but for me "Divorce Song" is EXILE IN GUYVILLE’s masterpiece on both counts. I've always heard it as "Rayette's Revenge," in which the Karen Black character in FIVE EASY PIECES finally gets to tell Jack Nicholson to go fuck himself.
Five Favourite Covers01: "I Say a Little Prayer," Aretha Franklin (1968) 02: "Love Is All Around," Husker Du (1985) 03: "I'll Keep It With Mine," Nico (1967) 04: "Only Love Can Break Your Heart," St. Etienne (1992) 05: "Where the Streets Have No Name/Can't Take My Eyes Off You," Pet Shop Boys (1991) 1) I doubt that Aretha Franklin set out to cover Dionne Warwick (whose version made the charts a few months earlier) as much as she just wanted to get some- thing written by the then-very-marketable Burt Bacharach onto one of her albums. Given the choice between a show-offy soul version and a sweet pop version of the same song (the difference between Otis Redding and Al Green, roughly speak- ing), the pop version will sound better to me almost every time. This is the exception, and it's not even close. I can barely even remember Dionne Warwick's "Say a Little Prayer" anymore. 2) I'd compare this to "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35": a joyous romp, a work of supreme confidence, appearing at the end of a masterful run. Outside of a perfectly placed "doo-doo-doo" at the end, I never thought there was even a trace of jokiness about it, just a bunch of guys my age (and from Minnesota, besides) swooning nostalgically for that slow-motion image of Mary Richards tossing her hat into the air. You could probably just as easily hear nothing but jokiness, and that'd be fine too. 3) Speaking of Bob Dylan, I've been listening to certain songs from the '65-66 period a lot recently: "She Belongs to Me," "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," "Desolation Row." I have five songs from LOVE AND THEFT on tape; they must be the wrong five, because I'm at a complete loss to understand how anyone who loves the former can consider the latter to be in the same stratosphere. I was used to Nico's "I'll Keep It With Mine" by the time I got the original on a bootleg; comparing the two, hers is sufficiently different and just as beautiful. 4) A rebuke to the eternally pointless TRANS, where Neil Young had the idea that using machines meant he had to make his music sound inhuman. 5) I like this a lot, but just on the merits, I'd rather hear the Turtles' "You Showed Me," SWV's "Right Here (Human Nature)" (which may not really count as a cover), Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U," Ace of Base's "Cruel Summer" (eli- gible under the sufficiently-different-unless-it's-virtually-identical rule), and probably a few dozen other things I missed. I couldn't think of any way to round up candidates beyond just scanning my record shelves, and with at least a thousand covers buried in there, I know I must have missed something. Any- way, I love the story behind the Pet Shop Boys record. Neil Tennant used to ridicule U2 every chance he got around the time of THE JOSHUA TREE--for good reason, as it must have dismayed him to see the singles from that album finish higher in critics' polls than "What Have I Done to Deserve This?". Tennant was really funny about it, too, but in a way he came across as a different version of the same purist Bono is: one wanted you to believe that the Pet Shop Boys could never make a record as good as B.B. King, the other was unable to con- cede that U2 might have it in them to write a pop song as good as Rick Astley. To Tennant's credit, he did admit as much with "Where the Streets Have No Name." I don't think Bono would ever be able to make the same imaginative leap with a cover of "West End Girls" or "Being Boring."
Five Favourite Songs Under 60 Seconds01: "Lights Out," Angry Samoans (1982) 02: "Wasted," Black Flag (1978) 03: "Homo-sexual," Angry Samoans (1982) 04: "The Todd Killings," Angry Samoans (1982) 05: "Her Majesty," Beatles (1969) Samoans dominate, Beatles a distant 5th.
Five Favourite Songs Over 10 Minutes01: "Cowgirl in the Sand," Neil Young (1969) 02: "My Favorite Things," John Coltrane (1960) 03: "Desolation Row," Bob Dylan (1965) 04: "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" 12-inch, McFadden & Whitehead (1979) 05: "Dark Star," Grateful Dead (1969) 1) and 2) I've played these two so many times over the years that, even though I have no knowledge of musical form whatsoever--chords, notes, all that stuff Sid Vicious liked to say he found surprisingly simple--I've internalized the ebb and flow of both to a point where I can "sing along" with all the extended solos. It's more like a strange whistling/malfunctioning-human-beatbox kind of noise, but I know where every last note belongs. I think I've voted Neil Young #1 on at least three of these top-five lists. 3) Not to put any bad karma into the air, but if I'm still teaching grade school the day Bob Dylan dies, I'm going to fill both blackboards with the complete lyrics to this and make the kids sit through all 12 minutes. 4) Maybe this is cheating a bit--it does run 10:45. The 9:39 ver- sion of the O'Jays' "I Love Music" found on PHILADELPHIA CLASSICS is even better. I know what I'm getting Scott when he gets married this summer: *a watch*. 5) I'm a bigger Jefferson Airplane fan, but I don't think they got much past five or six minutes. I have an Angry Samoans box set that's shorter than "Dark Star."
Five Favourite Moments in Canadian Musical History01: EVERYBODY KNOW THIS IS NOWHERE (1969) and AFTER THE GOLD RUSH (1970), Neil Young (tie) 02: "Rain Dance," the Guess Who (1971) 03: "Big Town Boy," Shirley Matthews (1964) and "Beautiful Second Hand Man," Ginette Reno (1970) (tie) 04: "Get Up, Get Out and Move On," Fludd (1972) 05: "Attack of the 50 Ft. Teletubbies," Galaxy Twins (1999) and "Chariots of Foam," Surfin' Tapeworms From Venus (1983) (tie) 1) The "nowhere" that Neil sings about is obviously L.A., which must also be where he is when he wires mom for money in "Cinnamon Girl." He's wishing he were back in Winnipeg, forgetting that he got out of there as quick as he could just a few years earlier. If you're a teenager growing up in a small Canadian town, you intuitively understand what he's really singing about: nowhere is nowhere else except where you are. 2) The lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian, as per- formed by a bunch of schlubs from Winnipeg under the direction of Burton Cummings. As enigmatic to me today as when I first heard it on 1050 CHUM as a 10-year-old. Part of the post-LITTLE BIG MAN cycle of early-70s Native American radio novel- ties--"Indian Reservation," "Half Breed," Redbone, Buffy Saint-Marie--but who's John and, my sentiments exactly, where'd he get the gun? It's more like an echo of Charles Whitman, or an omen of that guy who opened fire in a San Diego McDonald's a few years later. There's also some stuff about a bakery, and it all sounds as poppy as the Osmonds. Summing up: ??? 3) The first can hold its own against any- thing by the Ronettes or the Shangri-Las--there's a Canadian band from the mid-60s named after it whom I don't *think* I've ever heard, although they charted four songs on CHUM. "Beautiful Second Hand Man" is an amazing "Wedding Bell Blues" rip that I'd take over anything by the (quite good) Michel Pagliaro, Quebec's big rock star of the era. 4) There's stuff on Tim's and Scott's lists that could just as easily go here, but for the sake of avoiding repetition I'll go with another DAZED AND CANADIAN favourite, a one-of-a-kind extravaganza by a group that just located the wah-wah pedal on their amplifier and got a little carried away. 5) I only know three rock stars in the world personally, and two of them are behind these records. (I also occasionally play darts with Charlie Watts.) For reasons of security, I can't reveal their identities. But "Chariots of Foam" is just what you think it is, done up Ventures-style, and it once served as bumper music for my overnight campus radio show. "Teletubbies" measures the cost of Mike Harris's "Common Sense Revolu- tion" as subtly as Our Lady Peace's "Naveed" exposed the nihilism of SCTV's "Maudlin's Eleven" sketch. (If anybody's interested in decoding this really annoying in-joke, please e-mail me for footnotes.)
Five Funniest Pop Musicians01: Bob Dylan 02: Randy Newman 03: Chuck Berry 04: Tracy Chapman 05: Neil Tenant I'm one of the five funniest listmakers in the world, so one of these is meant as a joke.
Five Bands You Hate for Their Name Alone01: You're a Four-Eyes! 02: Baseball's for Wusses 03: Ignore That Teacher 04: I'll Wait Till I'm Positive He Has a Crush on Me, Then I'll Suddenly Get All Weird and Distant 05: Phil Dellio Must Die Early-80s hardcore bands, all of them pretty obscure.
Five Most Questionable Pazz & Jop Winners01: SQUEEZING OUT SPARKS, Graham Parker (1979) 02: LITTLE CREATURES, Talking Heads (1985) 03: "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick," Ian Dury (1979)/"The Breaks," Kurtis Blow (1980)/"O Superman," Laurie Anderson (1981) 04: "Gangsta's Paradise," Coolio (1995) 05: "C'mon N' Ride It (The Train)," Quad City DJs (1996) My list is redundant after Scott's--I don't really remember the two of us discus- sing some of these records, but I guess we must have compared notes somewhere along the way. One of the first dozen new wave records I ever bought was by Graham Parker...THE UP ESCALATOR! I remember trying very hard to like it, and sort of succeeding with the Bruce Springsteen collaboration; working backwards from there, Parker's more famous earlier albums required pretty much the same amount of effort. Without checking, I can't remember a song off LITTLE CREATURES. I bought it five years ago and played it once. "Home," which I know from WALL STREET, must be on there--that one's not bad, but the Talking Heads' decade-long hold on critics was always completely baffling to me. Ian Dury, Kurtis Blow, and Laurie Anderson are three novelties that go right past me. Rap's another thing I came late to, and some of the early stuff that's so revered--"The Breaks," espec- ially, which I heard for the first time in a long while on the radio last month-- sounds really tame to me next to the best of what came much later. I was immersed in X, Black Flag, and the Cramps in 1981, and I think my reaction to hearing "O Superman" after having read all the fuss about it was something on the order of Beavis & Butt-head confronted by a Bjork video. "Gangsta's Paradise" was simply a big letdown after "Fantastic Voyage," my favourite single of 1994 (#3 in Pazz & Jop but behind "Seether," another unsolvable mystery), and the choo-choo song is pure seventh-inning-stretch. Some winners I've never heard: CAR WHEELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD, TIME OUT OF MIND, TO BRING YOU MY LOVE. From what I have heard of P.J. Harvey, she might have been a contender. I haven't heard much of PLAY, RAGGED GLORY, 3 FEET HIGH AND RISING, or the Arrested Development album, either, but "Porcelain," "Over and Over," "Eye Know" (I think it was "Eye Know" that I liked), and "People Everyday" would be enough to keep them off the list no matter what. Even SANDINISTA! gets a pass because of "Police on My Back"; one great song on a triple-album and I'm happy. And I think WHO'S NEXT was an excellent inaugural winner--EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY or LED ZEPPELIN IV might have been better choices, but song-for-song, I'm glad it finished ahead of STICKY FINGERS, THERE'S A RIOT GOIN' ON, or anything else on the '71 list.
Five Favourite Songs Not Sung in English01: "Sukiyaki," Kyu Sakamoto (1961) 02: LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, Bob Dylan -- the long spoken intro that ends with "If you only wouldn't *clap* so hard" (1966) 03: Casey Stengel, testimony before the Senate Anti-Trust Committee (mid-50s) 04: Benicio del Toro in THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995) 05: "Sway," Rolling Stones (1971) I'm a little slack in the world-music department, but any one of these could use a little translation. You can find the lyrics for "Sukiyaki" at japanorama.com. I would love to have been a reporter in the Yankee clubhouse during the '50s whenever Stengel and Berra got together. I imagine a scene like Michael and Sol- lozzo in THE GODFATHER. Casey: "I'm gonna speak incomprehensible gibberish to Yogi." Reporter: "Go ahead..."
Five Favourite Years for Pop Music01: 1972 02: 1982 03: 1979 04: 1994 05: 1986 I'm approaching this as a list of years where my connection to music was at its deepest, regardless of whether or not I was connecting with music released in that year. Usually I was, but in 1979 and 1986 I was playing catch-up to a degree. I like Michaelangelo's description of 1969 a lot, and he almost makes me want to make room for that (I'd add VOLUNTEERS to his list of I-want-to-spoil-the-party downers), but it was past the statute of limitations when I first heard some of the stuff he mentions. I'm leaving out 1965 and 1966, home of more music that I love than any of the years above except #1, for the same reason--my dim four-year- old memories of 1965 pretty much begin and end with "Downtown" in the back seat of the family car. So, chronologically: 1) As I've related to many people already, the origin of the universe, the be-all and end-all, my own private Rosebud. I remember an old "Real Life" column where Greil Marcus called 1972 "the least scary year ever" for pop music. Maybe, but at age 11 it was awash in mystery for me, and that initial sense of discovery has never abated. The highwater mark of singer- songwriters as hitmakers: "Doctor My Eyes," "Without You" and "Coconut," "Antici- pation" (which I've always preferred to "You're So Vain," same year), "Mother and Child Reunion," all the HARVEST singles, "Sweet Seasons," weird epics like "American Pie" and "Taxi" and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." Exquisite neoclassical soul: "Let's Stay Together" *and* "I'm Still in Love With You" (like getting "Eight Days a Week" and "Ticket to Ride" in the same year), "Betcha By Golly, Wow," "I'll Be Around," "Oh Girl." Bleaker Nixon hangovers from War ("The World Is a Ghetto"), the Staple Singers ("I'll Take You There"), Curtis Mayfield ("Freddie's Dead"), and Stevie Wonder ("Superstition"). Brilliance scattered all over the Top 40: "I Saw the Light," "You Wear It Well," "Rocket Man," "I Can See Clearly Now," "Tumbling Dice," "Black Dog," "Everything I Own," "Rock and Roll Lullaby," Badfinger's "Day After Day." The five Lisbon girls: Pauline Boone, Yolanda Sluik, Anita Woychesko, Lee Johnston, Susan Dey. And, of course, "Hurting Each Other," the last great Carpenters single. 3) Early in the year, my high- school Neil Young obsession reached critical mass with RUST NEVER SLEEPS, which he'd previewed a few months before at Maple Leaf Gardens; in the summer, just before starting university, my new friend Peter introduced me to THE RAMONES and THE CLASH. I loved the first and didn't much care for the second. In the fall, after a few months of going to punk shows, I shared the mike for a few seconds of "White Riot" with Joe Strummer. 2) ALBUM GENERIC, BACK FROM SAMOA, THE FIRE OF LOVE, WILD GIFT and UNDER THE BIG BLACK SUN, DAMAGED, THE DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES, Fear's THE RECORD--if it came from California, we loved it (except for the Minutemen, who were just *confusing*). I didn't hear Husker Du, the Replace- ments, or R.E.M. until the following year, and thanks to them and some others, '83 and '84 were just as momentous for me. But '82 looks more exciting from here. There was still such a thing as Top 40, I think; I hardly noticed until 5) I started working at a downtown record store, where, much to my Rip Van Winkle-like disorientation, the manager made it clear that the great majority of customers didn't *want* to hear PSYCHOCANDY at 11:00 in the morning. So we played TRUE BLUE and PLEASE and "Rumors" instead, and a part of the musical landscape I'd more or less ignored for a long time--the biggest part--came into full view once again. It wasn't quite Emerald City: there was also Europe's "The Final Countdown" to contend with. 4) I wanted to include one year from RADIO ON's lifetime, when I was keeping up with the radio and videos like I kept up with Slash and SST in the early '80s. Scanning my year-ends, '94 looks like a good choice: "Fantastic Voyage," "Miss World," "Cut Your Hair," "Gin and Juice," "At Your Best (You Are Love)," "Self Esteem," "Do You Wanna Get Funky," "Worker Man," and "Pay No Mind" all made my Top 10, a representative mix of the big hits and underground heroes I've bounced back and forth between the past 30 years, except that in 1994 they were sometimes one and the same.
Five Poppiest Art Rock Songs01: "Roundabout," Yes (1971) 02: "Teacher," Jethro Tull (1970) 03: "Can't Get It Out of My Head," Electric Light Orchestra (1974) 04: "Tubular Bells," Mike Oldfield (1973) 05: "Back in N.Y.C.," Genesis (1974) I was going over candidates for this list a couple of weeks ago with my friend Brent, one of seven people in the world who owns the Kansas album from last year (assuming everyone in Kansas has a copy too). Of course, right away you have to contend with the age-old problem of what does and doesn't count as art rock. We were very inclusive: "Yeah, that's sort of art-wave." "I guess you'd call that art-glam." "The Feelies? They're art-jangle." In the end, we decided that everyone who's ever made a record counts as art rock, with the possible exception of Freddie & the Dreamers and Pink Floyd. There may still be a few bugs to work out in the eight-step screening process we used...#1's easy, although the chorus of "I've Seen All Good People" might even be better (dragged down by the "Your Move" prologue). Picking one Jethro Tull entry is difficult: "Fat Man," "Living in the Past," "Nothing Is Easy," they're all castaways from some medieval version of THE FABULOUS BUBBLEGUM YEARS. I limited myself to pre-A NEW WORLD RECORD for Electric Light Orchestra, after which it's like shooting giant hogweeds in a barrel. With "Tubular Bells," I'm voting for the last five minutes or so of side one--the part where Mike Oldfield does his roll-call of instruments, a surprising homage to Sly & the Family Stone. And I hadn't intended to vote for Genesis until the list below reactivated long-dormant memories of that synthesizer...Which still leaves lots of also-rans unacknowledged, so let me hereby issue history's first-ever shout-out to Gentle Giant.
Five Favourite Television Theme Songs01: "Love Is All Around" (THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW) 02: ROOM 222 theme 03: "Come On Get Happy" (THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY) 04: THE HONEYMOONERS theme 05: TWIN PEAKS theme Last summer I sat in a room with 20 other grade-school teachers, ranging in age from early-20s up to about 50, trying to mark standardized provincial math tests as TELEVISION'S GREATEST HITS played three-times-too-loudly and everyone tried to outdo everyone else in how effortless their lyrical recall was. A traumatizing experience ("Quiet, everybody--Phil's trying to *concentrate*"), but I've reco- vered sufficiently to fill out a list..."Love Is All Around" will romp to victory; it's a key song if you're anywhere close to my age (39), as indelible as "I'll Be There" or "Close to You." I can't conjure up how the ROOM 222 theme went, but I know there was a calming kind of simplicity to it, as pure as the halo-like Afro that Bernie sported. The Partridge Family theme hasn't been drained of life the way the Monkees theme has, though maybe Bobby Sherman deserves the some-assembly- required vote instead. The TWIN PEAKS theme is an anomaly, like casting a vote for THE SEVENTH SEAL as your favourite sports movie.
Five Favourite Instrumental Songs of All Time01: "Raised Eyebrows," the Feelies (1980) 02: "Little Martha," the Allman Brothers Band (1972) 03: "New Orleans Instrumental No. 1," R.E.M. (1992) 04: "Run in the Green and Tangerine Flaked Forest," Factotums (1965) 05: "The Lonely Surfer," Jack Nitzsche (1963) I'm cheating on #1--I hope the rules committee doesn't get on my case. I've always thought of "Raised Eyebrows" as an instrumental, and for most of the way, it is. Near the end, the Feelies break out into song: "Said 'Oh!' Said 'Oh!' Said 'Oh!'" They're seized by the memory of that time they said "Oh." It's joyous enough for BEATLES FOR SALE. The Factotums and R.E.M. tracks are separated by decades, but they share exactly the same slow-motion shimmer--they melt into each other, as do many of the following near-misses: Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross" (1968), Neil Young's "The Emperor of Wyoming" (1969), Brian Eno's "Another Green World" (1976), Television Personalities' "The Crying Room" (1981), Yo La Tengo's "Return to Hot Chicken" (1997), Air's "Ce Matin La" (1998).
Five Songs You Would Put in a Movie About Yourself01: "Cinnamon Girl," Neil Young (1969) 02: "Downed," Cheap Trick (1977) 03: "I Can't Reach You," the Who (1967) 04: "Going Nowhere," Dumptruck (1987) 05: "It's Getting Harder All the Time," the Mindbenders (1967) I think I started subconsciously soundtracking my movie when I was 8. The song over the opening credits just depends on what year it is: if it's 1969 and grade 3, "Crimson and Clover"; 1972, "Hello It's Me"; 1977, "Downed"; 1984, "I Will Dare." That takes me to the end of university. I don't have anything picked out for teachers' college six years later, though I recall that the Ninja Turtle song was very big at the time. (Man bites dog: there was something in NOW a couple of weeks ago that actually moved me. Ingrid Randoja wrote a short piece on how movies had shaped the way she conducted herself at various points in her life. She mentioned trying to imitate Sidney Poitier doing his goofy dance to the Mindbenders in TO SIR WITH LOVE, one of my favourite scenes ever. I've always envisioned a scene in my own movie where I'm visiting my sister and my 5-year-old niece asks me to "do the Sidney Poitier!" The Mindbenders strike up out of nowhere, and my letter- perfect rendition holds everyone spellbound.)
Five Favourite Pop Music Reviews or Articles01: "Nashville," in REELING 02: "Circles and Squares," in I LOST IT AT THE MOVIES 03: "Mean Streets," in REELING 04: "McCabe & Mrs. Miller," in DEEPER INTO MOVIES 05: "The Godfather Part II," in REELING There's enough film-related stuff on this site that it seems relevant to do a list of my favourite Pauline Kael pieces. Four of them are reviews (which all have actual titles that I can't look up at the moment; "Everyday Inferno" is the easy- to-remember MEAN STREETS title), "Circles and Squares" is her whirlwind dismantling of everything that was and is (whatever its virtues--it influenced me too) empty provocation in Andrew Sarris's auteur theory. DEEPER INTO MOVIES and REELING contain all of Kael's key early-70s reviews, a perfect match of critic and moment; Kael is so attuned to NASHVILLE's rhythms, she's the only person I've ever come across to make mention of a throwaway Bergman joke that might be the funniest line in the film. There are probably things just as momentous in her earlier and later books (her review of CASUALTIES OF WAR comes to mind), but it's those two that influenced me the most.
Five Favourite Uses of Pop Music in the Movies01: "Making Time," Creation in RUSHMORE (Wes Anderson) 02: "Spill the Wine," Eric Burdon & War in BOOGIE NIGHTS (Paul Thomas Anderson) 03: "Late for the Sky," Jackson Browne in TAXI DRIVER (Martin Scorsese) 04: "Magic Man," Heart in THE VIRGIN SUICIDES (Sofia Coppola) 05: "Happy Together," Turtles in HEART LIKE A WHEEL (Jonathan Kaplan) This is the only thing I ever write about! But I don't want to vote in any of the other categories because I'd have to vote or not-vote for people I know. Like with the sampling question--I'm good friends with both Moby and Terminator X, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. My #1 above might actually be the four-song phone sequence in VIRGIN SUICIDES, but I don't know if there's room enough to list them all.