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 Wednesday's post. Yesterday, he toasted Kenny Loggins. And now, without further adieu, he presents to you ….
My Five Favorite End Credits Songs
Born Slippy Nuxx by Underworld/ Trainspotting
I never got into electronica. Or heroin. But I was still thinking about the ending of Trainspotting months after I saw it. The potent mix of this song and that long slow walk towards the camera leaves a lasting impression every time. Danny Boyle's music choices are always top notch (even “Life Less Ordinary” had a great soundtrack) but this for me is still the one to beat.
“Paint it Black” by The Rolling Stones/ Full Metal Jacket
There's no denying that the Private Pyle section of Full Metal Jacket is extraordinary. But I've always felt the 2nd half is under-appreciated. And the way in which it culminates is startling. The troop marches back to the base after a painful and costly mission. They've accomplished nothing but they're still alive. As the city burns behind them, they dream of homecoming sex and sing the Mickey Mouse Club theme in unison. It's an uncomfortable juxtaposition, made all the more powerful by the Stones song that follows. It's a very bleak song about a very sick person and it serves as a painful reminder that, even when the war is over, there's battles still to come.
“My Way” by Sid Vicious/ Goodfellas
When Sinatra sings it, it's a proud and honorable song, the voice of a man looking back on his life in a sober fashion, feeling good about how he's lived. Not so the Vicious version. Sid's way sounds nasty, devious, destructive and dirty. Which makes it perfect for the “Goodfellas” end credits. Henry Hill has been reduced to a “schnook,” hiding out in the suburbs, away from the action, forced to always look over his shoulder for fear of being killed. Some life. But hey, he did
it his way. Brilliant.
“God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys/ Love Actually
When you love a song as I do this one, you want to protect it, to keep it from being adulterated by some pop culture reference it should have no connection to. Whenever someone uses “God Only Knows” it makes me nervous. Big Love sort of wastes it and let's not even mention Scooby Doo. But Boogie Nights used it well enough and there was a lovely bit in a Wonder Years episode I remember. That said, there will never be a more perfect usage than this one right here in which the greatest love song ever written serves as the backdrop for one of the greatest exhibitions of love you'll ever see — the airport reunion. The characters in the movie, whatever — it's the real couples and families who make this scene so outstanding.
“Ooh La La” by The Faces/ Rushmore
The slowing of the speed. The closing of the curtain. The melody and lyrics of the song. Just watch. There are no words.
Honorable mentions: Slumdog, Fight Club, Jerry Maguire. There's lots of good ones. What say you all? Agree/Disagree?
In any case, it's been a pleasure blogging for you all week. Thanks to
the LA Weekly for the opportunity and thanks to you guys for reading.