Pic of the Day: ♫ “With the wheels a-singin’ westward ho / Right from the day I heard them start / ‘Cross the Kansas plains from New Mexico / I guess I’ve got a little gypsy in my heart / When I’m old and grey and settled down / If I ever get a chance to sneak away from town / Then I’ll spend my busman’s holiday / On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.” ♫ (75th Anniversary)
I love doing this article every year even though I always leave myself mountains of work to be done in very little time. Fortunately this year I started compiling scores two months in advance, started listening to them just after New Year’s, had a rudimentary version of this list by the end of January and even finished writing this article two weeks ago. Which is way better than how things usually go with me. Usually a month out I’m like, “Oh shit, I need to do scores.” And then I rush and get everything and the whole thing is done in the span of like, three weeks. But I do it because I love listening to film scores. I have almost 40 gigs of film scores on my computer. I’m not bullshitting you. I really do like this stuff. That’s part of the reason I started writing this article.
The other part is because, when I would look up what the best film scores of the year were, I’d only ever find one of two lists: the list that’s just mainstream movies and designed to get people to engage with the site and doesn’t remotely care about the scores themselves, or the ‘cool kids’ list that’s almost exclusively festival darlings, one or two really obvious foreign films and then scores by underground indie music artists that you’d know about if you lived in Bushwick. And sometimes, god help you, you got the third list, which is when a site would lump a staff of 3-4 people in one article and have them talk through their favorites. So you’d end up with some weird mutant stepchild version of lists A and B, but worse, because it would be in paragraphs, so now you’re skimming through trying to figure out where the fuck one entry ends and the other begins. And on top of all of this? There are only like seven total lists! Maybe things have gotten better since I stopped looking and just started doing it myself, but at the time there were only a couple of actual lists and everyone else parroting those. And they all had the same scores on them. To the point where you just felt like no one was actually listening to the scores. So I said ‘fuck it. I’ll do it myself’. Because I’m doing this stuff anyway. Maybe it would’ve been 40% less than it is now, but I still would’ve done it. And unlike everyone else, I don’t give a fuck if anyone reads this. I’m in this for love of the game.
I’m very up front about how I do this. I don’t know much of anything about music except knowing what I like. Sometimes I can say something smart but a lot of the time it’s just simply liking stuff. I have no idea how similar or different my list ends up being to everyone else’s but at least I know that I did listen to a broad spectrum of stuff (this year was 73 scores, which is a lot for someone who doesn’t make that their primary duty as a filmgoer and probably 50-60 more than most people who put out a scores article), actively considered each one on its own merits and picked the ones that sounded the best to me, based solely on my own ears and my own opinions.
In a year where movies generally fell by the wayside given all the real-world stuff going on, film scores for sure were gonna get overlooked. So here’s a bunch that I felt are worth a listen. Here are my favorite film scores of 2020: (more…)
Pic of the Day: ♫ “Your heart’s on the loose / You rolled them seven’s with nothing lose / And this ain’t no place for the weary kind / You called all your shots / Shooting 8 ball at the corner truck stop / Somehow this don’t feel like home anymore / And this ain’t no place for the weary kind / And this ain’t no place to lose your mind / And this ain’t no place to fall behind / Pick up your crazy heart and give it one more try.” ♫
Pic of the Day: ♫ “Have I been sleeping? / I’ve been so still / Afraid of crumbling / Have I been careless? / Dismissing all the distant rumblings / Take me where I am supposed to be / To comprehend the things that I can’t see / ‘Cause I need to move / I need to wake up / I need to change / I need to shake up / I need to speak out / Something’s got to break up / I’ve been asleep / And I need to wake up / Now.” (15th Anniversary)
Pic of the Day: ♫ “Come on along and listen to / The lullaby of Broadway / The hip hooray and ballyhoo / The lullaby of Broadway / The rumble of a subway train / The rattle of the taxis / The daffodils who entertain / At Angelo’s and Maxi’s / When a Broadway baby says good night / It’s early in the morning / Manhattan babies don’t sleep tight / Until the dawn.” ♫
Pic of the Day: ♫ “Unbelievable sights / Indescribable feeling / Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling / Through an endless diamond sky / A whole new world / Don’t you dare close your eyes / A hundred thousand things to see / Hold your breath; it gets better / I’m like a shooting star / I’ve come so far / I can’t go back to where I used to be.” ♫
Pic of the Day: ♫ “I’m gonna love me again / Check in on my very best friend / Find the wind to fill my sails / Rise above the broken rails / Unbound by any ties that break or bend / I’m free, and don’t you know? / No clown to claim he used to know me then / I’m free, and don’t you know? / And oh-oh-oh, I’m gonna love me again.” ♫
Okay. Time for trailers. One thing I noticed this year in particular — which is something we still get a lot of anyway, in the age of streaming platforms — a lot of ‘only one trailer’ situations. Which, if it’s a well-cut trailer, is perfectly fine. But I did notice a lot of things just got the one trailer and then you get the later on ‘TV spot’ trailers, which aren’t the same. I think only four films on this list got more than one trailer. Two of them came out before the pandemic/lockdown period started in March. And on another… the difference between the two trailers is negligible. But, as I said… cut a good trailer and it’s fine if that’s the only one. Nine trailers on this list come from either Netflix or Amazon, and if you add Hulu, Apple TV+, Disney+ and HBO, that adds another five.
It’s not like the trailer-making process has changed, it’s just that the odds of great trailers are decreasing, since so often now, films tend to have the first teaser trailer, which is more abstract and gets you in the mood for the film, and then there’s the second trailer, which pretty much spells out the entire plot of the movie. So I have concerns that we might be only getting those second trailers from now on, but we’ll see where it goes.
Anyway, here are my favorite movie trailers of 2020: (more…)