There are good movies, and then there are the movies you can’t stop thinking about, talking about and watching over and over again. There are a million differences that put movies in these respective categories, but one major feature that doesn’t get enough attention are movie soundtracks. It might not be the first thing to get noticed while watching a movie, but they contribute to the experience all the same. The moment the right song starts to play during a pivotal scene in a movie could change how much you enjoy the story being told.
There are a few movies where, without an incredible soundtrack, they would not be as celebrated or enjoyable. It is not often that the music accompaniment of a movie can change how popular it is, but I’m arguing that these four movies especially should be reconsidered solely based on their soundtracks. On their own, they are successful and good movies, but with the right kind of music, these movies deserve to be recognized.
All together, this movie is a musical movie. It follows the journey of Andrew (played by Miles Teller) through the most prestigious music school in the nation. The only thing he wants is to become on the the greatest jazz drummers of all time and be recognized for his talent. Andrew fills his head with the sounds of past drummers who are still celebrated and the music he attempts to conquer. He is often met with conflict from an abusive conductor, Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) who expects only perfection from his students. This movie would have been good without a stellar soundtrack, with the acting doing its job and a very inviting storyline, but the music makes this movie incredibly well done.
This movie soundtrack features a number of songs performed in the movie, pieces of dialogue among the songs and a lot of jazz. The passion that is visible in the movie very clearly translates to the music that is tied to it. The musical buildup eventually gives way to the familiar smoothness of jazz and anytime you listen to the soundtrack you can imagine Teller behind the drum set, manically playing.
It is difficult to confine this movie to a summation or even a review because I find it to be a very personal interpretation that often accompanies this movie. We follow a young boy during his latest edges of childhood in the 1950s plagued by his strict and hotheaded father (Brad Pitt) and inflated by his kind, gentle mother (Jessica Chastain.) With little dialogue exchanged throughout the film, most of the message is conveyed through voice-over from a number of perspectives. Also scattered in between a solid storyline are cosmic and serene images partnered with the voice-overs. These interludes provide a longer gap for interpretation and an opportunity for viewers to stray in thought.
This soundtrack is full of orchestral songs that are meant to smooth over one moment from the next. Symphonies, sonatas and concertos are packed into the two-hour journey and complement the emotional and beautiful scenes. The songs amend the heavy scenes as we witness Jack O’Brien maturing and cause the emotions as well as a connection to the characters to swell and almost burst.
With my childhood occurring alongside this one (the years are similar, Mason and I one year apart) I admit to being a little sentimental and bias, but maintain my argument that this movie is incredible. Filmed over 12 years, the audience is witness to Mason Jr.’s boyhood, through which he experiences haircuts, girls and video games. The authenticity of this movie as well as the relatable storyline draws you in while providing an established path to memory lane. The characters maintained over the 12 years with the same actors and the props, settings and technology all support the timespan. The truth of what childhood really means is clear in this movie and is portrayed through the honest eyes of a kid.
The music is a chronological advancement from the early 2000s until the release of the movie in 2014. The mix and match songs and the ones that sum up an entire phase of your life are featured and flow alongside Mason’s journey. They’re all good songs, but made even better because they are songs you’ve enjoyed long before you’ve seen this movie. The addition of these songs supplement the movie by making the reality of boyhood that much more relatable.
Yet another movie about growing up and facing reality, this one features themes for after childhood. Andrew Largman (Zach Braff) comes home to New Jersey for his mother’s funeral while revisiting his hometown he had long ago abandoned. Dealing with the separation from his medication and reuniting with his psychologist and father, Largman truly faces reality for the first time in years. While home, he meets Sam (Natalie Portman) at the neurologist and spends all his time with her, exploring the streets he hadn’t seen since he was sent to boarding school as a boy. This love story mixed with a journey of self-acceptance creates the next step in coming-of-age movies.
Zach Braff, who both wrote and directed this movie, created the movie soundtrack as well. The songs are listed as they appear in the movie and maintain the storyline of the movie in their sound. They all share a similar ease to them and create a soft background for the movement of the movie. It is easy to tell that every song was individually chosen and paired with a vivid moment to result in a clear translation for the audience.
All of these movie soundtracks accompany relatable and realistic storylines. The songs that support the images and characters portrayed on screen only increase the value of each adventure. All of these soundtracks can be found on Spotify or Youtube if you want to explore further (I’ll put some links below.) Enjoy, and don’t forget to watch the movies too!
Featured Image: agnellina