Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #198 – “Don’t Look Down,” from Danny Collins
198. “Don’t Look Down,” from Danny Collins
An underrated tune from an underrated movie. This one got dismissed when it came out (I’m culpable here, too), but I’ve rediscovered it over the past five years. The premise of the film is based on a a real musician, who found amongst his things a letter than John Lennon had written to him 35 years prior. So they took that idea and wrote this movie around Al Pacino, basically playing a Neil Diamond-type singer who is now 70 and finds this letter, which makes him realize all the shitty choices he’s made in his life. So he goes to reconnect with his estranged son, Bobby Cannavale, who’s secretly dealing with this illness that he hasn’t told his wife about.
This song is the one that Pacino slowly writes over the course of the film. The first song we hear of his is an empty pop-type diddy, but this is the introspective ballad he writes as he truly comes to terms with the choices he’s made. And while you don’t really get the full tune, because it plays over the montage, and while Pacino’s voice isn’t the strongest, it’s a really nice song. It’s the kind of song that belongs on a list like this, because it’s an original song written for a movie that actually has narrative importance to the film.