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Cameron Crowe’s favorite musical moments in film history

Cameron Crowe’s favorite musical moments in film history (photo)

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As a former rock and roll writer for Rolling Stone and current director of music-centric movies like “Almost Famous” and “Singles,” Cameron Crowe is uniquely qualified to put together a list of the best uses in music in film history. When Empire asked him to do exactly that a few months ago, he didn’t disappoint. His picks, republished on the inaccurately titled official Crowe site The Uncool, are as superb as they are exhaustive: asked to pick ten best, Crowe dropped 36 favorites. I knew the Crowe character in “Almost Famous” was thorough, but c’mon: that’s just ridiculous.

His choices are a smart mix of widely acclaimed classics and clever obscurities. Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talking” from 1969’s “Midnight Cowboy”ranks at #7, as well it should, but it clocks in just ahead of a movie and a scene I’d never even heard of before today: Elvis Presley’s psychedlic musical number “Edge of Reality” from 1968’s “Live a Little, Love A Little.” Crowe says the sheer churn of three movies a year began to wear down Presley by the late ’60s, but that “Elvis’ weariness and unpreparedness sometimes created seismically funny and unintentionally profound sequences like this one. Turn it up and groove out to E’s only true foray into psychedelia.” Here’s the clip from YouTube, decide for yourself.

Wowsers. As for Crowe’s number one pick for best film music moment of all time, here it is (for the full list, be sure to hit up The Uncool):

1. “Don’t Be Shy” (Cat Stevens)

“Harold and Maude” (1971)

Is there a better movie opening? Ashby could fill all ten spots on this list, such is his skillful music lovers touch, but this is perhaps his best song usage ever. “Don’t Be Shy” kicks off “Harold and Maude” with spare perfection and an intoxicating invitation to the movie to come. We meet Harold and he’s about to hang himself. It’s a comedy like no other, and the combination of this song and that scene makes for a soul-scratching introduction. Soon we’re rooting for a love story between and 18 year old Harold and a 79 year-old Maude. And it all begins with “Don’t Be Shy.”

Did Crowe hit all my favorite movie music moments? Not even close; he’s missing “As Time Goes By,” from “Casablanca,” the opening credits to “Jackie Brown,” and the jubilant final concert in “The Blues Brothers.” But I like what Crowe had to say about making and interpreting top ten lists:

“The first thing to remember about any top ten list is that it is not to be trusted. A top ten list is almost invariably subject to the whims of the day. You could be feeling sentimental or melancholy, and suddenly your top ten is a weepy diary of your feelings on the unfortunate day you made the list. Or you could be feeling militant about some obscure band or movie, only to later see your proclamation in print, and wonder – how could I have called (insert mediocre artist) a great visionary?”

In other words, making a top ten is sort of like making a mix tape: a deeply personal and totally subjective act. In other other words, stop leaving me mean Internet comments.

What’s your favorite movie music moment of all time? Tell us (ever so nicely) in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

[H/T Ray Pride at Movie City News]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…