DID YOU READ

2007: The Year’s Best Soundtracks

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By Lily Oei

IFC News

[Photo: “Once,” Fox Searchlight, 2007]

From biopics (real and imagined) to film adaptations of Broadway musicals, 2007 was a good year for breaking out into song and dance. For the less expressive among us, there was a bumper crop of quality soundtracks available to enjoy. With thanks to the hard-working folks responsible for clearance and licensing, here are some titles that inspired us to replenish and revisit our collections:

“Southland Tales” [Amazon link]

Richard Kelly raised the bar for himself by including Gary Jules’ version of “Mad World” on the “Donnie Darko” soundtrack. Not all the songs featured in “Southland Tales” made it on to the album, but The Pixies, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Moby (who also provided the film’s score) avoided the cutting room floor. And for “Buffy” fans wondering when Sarah Michelle Gellar would sing once more with feeling, the former slayer does Britney proud with the parody tune “Teen Horniness Is Not a Crime.”

“Once” [Amazon link]

You’d have to be stone cold not to have been bewitched by this boy musician-meets-girl musician tale that’s charming in every way that “August Rush” — this year’s other boy musician-meets-girl musician love story — is maudlin and misguided. Songs from “Once”‘s key scenes are on this album, including the twangy and aptly titled “Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy” and Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s plaintive music store duet “Falling Slowly.” Aficionados of Hansard’s band The Frames will recognize tracks already in their collections; new fans will swoon all over again.

“The Darjeeling Limited” [Amazon link]

Beyond resurrecting Peter Sarstedt’s “Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?” in both the feature and the complementary short “Hotel Chevalier,” Wes Anderson and music supervisor Randall Poster have curated a collection of music from around the world and across time. Juxtaposing Debussy’s oh-so-poignant “Clair de Lune” (which you’ll also find on the soundtrack for “Atonement”) with the energetic “Typewriter Tip, Tip, Tip” from Merchant-Ivory’s 1970 film “Bombay Talkie” is whimsy bordering on brilliance. Perhaps it should be no surprise that Poster also supervised…

“I’m Not There” [Amazon link]

As in the film, everyone gets a chance to play Bob Dylan on this two-disc compilation, including Cat Power, Iron & Wine, the movie’s Marcus Carl Franklin and, hey, even Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. With a collection this large, and such big shoes to fill, there’s sure to be dissent over which covers work and which don’t. So to play it safe, we’ll recommend the final track — Dylan himself performing “I’m Not There,” officially released at long last.

“Control” [Amazon link]

Much of what’s available on this album will already be familiar to Joy Division devotees, as well as anyone who’s seen Michael Winterbottom’s “24 Hour Party People.” Still, for diehard fans, there’s the cast version of “Transmission” and an original score by New Order to get behind. Everyone else should just cue up “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and “Atmosphere” and appreciate how the genius that was Ian Curtis still resonates today.

“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” [Not yet available for purchase]

Although there’s no official word on a soundtrack as yet, few movie moments this year stand out as much as this film’s flashback to a ride in Jean-Dominique Bauby’s convertible to Lourdes. By setting the stunning visual effect of hair whipping in the wind to U2’s “Ultra Violet,” Schnabel, who also served as the film’s music supervisor, makes us feel as carefree and immortal as his characters. Other standout cuts include the mournful “Ramshackle Day Parade” by Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros and the twinkly French classic “La Mer.”

“Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten” [Amazon link]

This documentary gets bogged down with its celebrity eulogies of Strummer, but the soundtrack picks up the slack. There’s still chatter, yet rather than limit itself to cherry picking songs from the former Clash frontman’s illustrious past, the album includes songs Strummer aired on his BBC radio show — from Elvis Presley to Nina Simone. For purists, there’s also a strong selection of Strummer’s own output such as “Trash City,” which debuted nearly 20 years ago on the soundtrack to the Keanu Reeves flick “Permanent Record.”

“Hot Fuzz” [Amazon link]

Be sure to seek out the U.K. edition of this album, which includes more songs than the domestic version. From the glammy opening track, “Blockbuster,” to the multiple renditions of “Solid Gold Easy Action” by T. Rex and the Fratellis, this soundtrack is as goofy and big-hearted as its source. The inclusion of snippets of movie dialogue often takes you right out of music, but happily with “Hot Fuzz,” it brings you right back into the film.

“Juno” [Amazon link]

“Juno” stands to inherit the “Garden State” mantle for indie soundtrack sensitivity this year. The album includes Sonic Youth’s cover of The Carpenters’ “Superstar” and the Kinks’ “A Well Respected Man,” which now will forever conjure up images of Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera) in running shorts. There aren’t any life-altering by way of The Shins moments in the film, but it’s hard not to fall for Juno and Paulie’s winsome duet of the Moldy Peaches’ “Anyone Else But You.”

“Walk Hard” [Amazon link]

Parodies can be hit or miss, but you have to admit the earnest flashbacky storytelling of “Ray” and “Walk the Line” screamed for a roast. The “Walk Hard” soundtrack, which was released earlier this December, includes “Let’s Duet,” a suggestive send-up of Johnny Cash and June Carter singing “Time’s A Wastin’.” A concert tour featuring Dewey Cox and the Walk Harders (à la “Spinal Tap”) is already on the boards and sold out. Take that, Hannah Montana.

Too good to go unmentioned: The unfortunately import-only soundtrack for Shane Meadow’s “This is England” is a period-perfect collection of ska and punk classics, while the soundtrack to AJ Schnack’s Kurt Cobain documentary “Kurt Cobain About a Son” is a mixtape portrait of the artist that contains no Nirvana tracks.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.