Thursday, December 29, 2016

Let's Go Youtubing

Okay, so this is going to be an annual thing now. Below, please find my latest Youtube Playlist of various television and movie (and related) clips that have nothing in common except for all having a strong musical element involved, and that I thought were worth saving the links to. This batch includes obscure musicals, tie-in music videos, award show numbers, and what may be the greatest promotional appearance for an "Avengers" movie ever. Enjoy.

George Lucas' AFI Life Achievement Award - When George Lucas was honored by AFI in 2005, they produced a star-studded special for television. And who did they invite to open the show? William Shatner, of course. This is my absolute favorite thing that Shatner has ever done, lampooning himself as much as the man of the hour. And as funny as Shatner is, what really makes this for me is how the audience absolutely eats it up. I don't think I've ever seen Harrison Ford so happy.

The Final Derriere - An excerpt from the Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson film "The Forbidden Room," which is a pastiche of surreal early genre cinema from the silent era. it broke a lot of rules, however, including the use of this catchy tune, from new wave band "The Sparks," to provide the narration for the tale of a poor, lost soul obsessed with female posteriors. Maddin film regular, Udo Kier, plays the poor soul in question.

Alice - Australian electronica musician Pogo creates new compositions by taking brief clips of existing media and repurposing it for his own ends. He's gained attention for his use of Disney media in particular, my favorite of which is "Alice," which uses samples of Kathryn Beaumont singing in "Alice in Wonderland." Disney, of course, was not amused and had most of Pogo's worked pulled from Youtube - but only temporarily.

Save Me - Aimee Man's "Save Me" features prominently in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia." Anderson also directed the tie-in music video, which places Mann in various scenes of the movie with characters played by Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, and Tom Cruise. Despite being so star-studded, the video is the definition of low-key, which is perfectly in keeping with the tone and themes of the movie.

Life on Mars - All throughout Wes Anderson's "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," there are welcome appearances by Seu Jorge, who provides musical accompaniment with his guitar, singing bossanova Portuguese covers of David Bowie songs. Bowie himself was reportedly a fan of the results. This full rendition of Jorge's version of "Life on Mars" was included with several others on special editions of "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou."

MIB: The Series - After the success of the film, the animated "MIB: the Series" quickly arrived on Kids WB in 1997. I remember it as a solid action series with a washed out color palette, some notable guest stars, and one of the most fantastic opening sequences to ever appear on Saturday morning. The unsung studio responsible for the sensational visuals is Mook DLE of Japan, and the theme is by Jonathan Latham.

Life Has Been Good To Me - This one requires a little setup. The second season of "3rd Rock From the Sun" ended with a two-parter where the aliens discover dreams for the first time. Each of the main characters gets their own weird, elaborate dream sequence, which could be watched in 3D with promotional glasses. Harry's dream is a musical, set to "Life Has Been Good to Me," composed by Randy Newman - who also appears in a cameo.

It's Great Not to Be Nominated - Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster perform at the 30th Academy Awards in 1958. That was the year that Lancaster was famously snubbed for "The Sweet Smell of Success," and Douglas for "Paths of Glory." However, this duet at the Oscars went over so well, the pair came back for another performance the following year. The song was penned by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, Frank Sinatra's favorite songwriters.

I Want You (She's So Heavy) - Hands down, the best sequence from Julie Taymor's jukebox musical "Across the Universe," using songs from the Beatles' considerable discography. The rest of the movie has its ups and downs, but this nightmarish rendering of the U.S. army recruitment process and basic training is unforgettable. The combination of practical and CGI effects, along with the set design, is everything I love about Taymor's work.

Daves I Know - Bruce McCulloch wrote and performed this lovely ditty from the first season of the fabulous "Kids in the Hall" sketch comedy show. Bruce is backed by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, which also, of course, performed the show's theme music. Alas, most of the Daves seen in the video are not actually played by real Daves. Dave Gord, for example is actually writer Brian Hartt.

Pennies from Heaven - The 1981 Steve Martin musical, "Pennies From Heaven," uses lavishly staged musical numbers to portray the inner lives of its poor, troubled characters struggling through the Great Depression. All the songs were taken from the era, including "Pennies From Heaven," popularized by Bing Crosby in 1936. However, the movie uses the 1937 version with Arthur Tracy, which Vernel Bagneris is lip-synching to.

Hawkeye Sings - Jeremy Renner appeared on "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon" last April to promote "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," with this parody of Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud." It tells you everything you ever wanted to know about Hawkeye and his superpowers - maybe too much.

Canned Heat - And finally, here's Mr. Dynamite and Jamiroquai to play us out.

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