Editor's note: Screenwriter Scott Neustadter struck gold in 2009 with his script for (500) Days of Summer, which he co-wrote with Michael H. Weber. The film, shot in downtown Los Angeles, stars Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt; viewers watch the rise and fall of the pair's relationship through a series of flashbacks. As in most relationships, music plays a vital role in the narrative. West Coast Sound is happy to have Neustadter sitting in the blogging chair for the week. He'll be offering thoughts on the interaction between music and film. On Monday, he listed his five favorite music/film moments. Read them here. Tuesday he waxed poetic on Jonathan Demme's concert film starring Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense. Movie montages were the subject of yesterday's post. And now, without further adieu, he presents to you ....
Loggins! (A Celebration)
Sting? Hardly. Bryan Adams? Please. Phil Collins? Not even close. When it comes to writing pop songs for movie soundtracks, one man stands alone at the summit of greatness. That man is Kenny Loggins.
Uncommonly plain, effortlessly pleasant, remarkably middle of the road, Loggins has made an entire career of being linked to classic movie moments through the sheer genius of his super vanilla songwriting. In the early 1970s, Kenny was kicking it as the handsomer half of the folk/pop duo Loggins and Messina. But in 1976 he had a breakthrough ("Fuck Messina!") and set his sights on Hollywood. We are all better off as a result.
Among the many gifts he gave us, here are my five favorites:
5. "Footloose"/ Footloose
Me personally, I would love to live in a town without dancing. I can't dance for shit. But I hear this song and I watch this scene and I curse myself for never having learned.
4. "Danger Zone"/ Top Gun
So the editor of "Top Gun" is cutting together footage of F-14 Tomcat fighter planes doing aerial maneuvers in the sky. Loops and rolls and inverted tailslides -- and all of it is just so dull! He's beginning to sweat when, all of a sudden, the door to the edit bay opens and there stands Loggins with a tape in his hand. Loggins takes off his sunglasses, looks at the man all dramatic and shit and says: "I got this." And if that's not what happened, it should be.
3. "I'm Alright"/ Caddyshack
It's not just teenagers who are susceptible to Loggins licks. Even gophers can't help themselves. Not surprisingly, "I'm Alright" was a huge hit in 1980 and one of three Loggins songs on the Caddyshack soundtrack, golf being the primary inspiration for most rock musicians. Loggins was in fact so inspired that he would return for Caddyshack II -- unlike everyone else associated with this movie.
2. "Playing With the Boys"/ Top Gun
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Some people think Top Gun has a lot of gay connotations. Try as I might, I just don't see it. Take this scene, for example, in which Maverick and Goose let off some steam on the volleyball court. Goose's outfit (and moustache) notwithstanding, what is gay about this? It's just a bunch of shirtless guys playing volleyball and flexing for each other. You know, being guys. It's like Loggins says "after chasing sunsets, one of life's simple joys is playing with the boys." Exactly. Everybody's two favorite things: sunsets and boys.
1. "Meet Me Halfway"/ Over the Top
A Loggins song can make you dance. And a Loggins song can make you smile. A Loggins song can even make you hi five your best guy friend in a totally not gay way. But did you know that a Loggins song could also make you cry? Unless you saw "Over the Top" in 1987 for the three weeks it was in theaters, you probably did not. But it's true. Here's the clip to prove it.