Today Cinema Romantico re-imagines the slowly-becoming-irrelevant Oscar category of Best Song as if it was one combined category and the songs did not have to be "original" or fit some other antiquated piece of Academy criteria and I and I alone was judge and jury in regards to the five nominees.
5. Dance the Night Away by Van Halen in "Argo." As a CIA agent crafting a phony Hollywood movie in an effort to use it as a cover to get hostages out of Iran in 1979, Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), "the money" behind the "movie", arrives at the lush script reading party in the heart of Hollywood as "Dance the Night Away" perfectly colors in the moment. If you have ever daydreamed about making it in Hollywood, and if you read this blog then I reckon you have, it probably looked and felt a lot like this sequence.
4. Firework by Katy Perry in "Rust and Bone." I'm not even going to try and explain this one. Instead I'm going to let my man Alex of And So It Begins..., who named "Rust and Bone" his favorite film of the year, explain because he captures it perfectly. He writes: "I’m not a fan of Katy Perry’s music. She’s an artist that has reached success doing her own thing, and that’s fair enough. It’s just not for me. Now, there is a scene in this film in which Cotillard conducts hand movements that used to give her calm while Perry’s 'Firework' builds on the soundtrack. Given the context of the scene, I wept in a way no film has caused me to in several years. I’ve seen thousands upon thousands of movies, and I plan on dedicating my life to seeing thousands more, and never in all my years did I think that was possible." Watch the scene here.
3. (I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles by The Proclaimers in "Bachelorette." I know what you probably think of this song and you're probably right and you're especially probably right if you think it would be cheesy for it to turn up on a mixtape from the early 90's that sets the soundtrack for a romantic interlude. Except that you if you really DID grow up in the early 90's then you really WOULD have made mixtapes with this song on it which is WHY this song setting the soundtrack for a romantic interlude is PERFECT. Listen here.
2. Always Alright by Alabama Shakes in "Silver Linings Playbook." Early in the film, our bi-polar hero Pat Solitano Jr. (Bradley Cooper) goes for a jog in his neighborhood, garbage bag strapped on over his sweatsuit to speed up his rate of sweat, stopping to say hello to a teacher from the school where has not returned since his "incident", running into The Manic Depressive Dream Girl (Jennifer Lawrence). He's Rocky. Not the Rocky. Our Rocky. The Twenty-Tens Italian Stallion. He ain't gonna fly now, no, cuz he ain't that kinda hero - he just wants to feel good 'cause he feels like he's about to exploooooode.
1. St. Valentine's Day Massacre by The Twylight Zones in "Not Fade Away." This is the song played by the fictional Stones-ish band (and that, I should mention, was written by Steve Van Zandt, who is Bruce Springsteen's best friend and consigliere which probably explains why I dig it) at the forefront of David Chase's autobiographical film for their climactic audition in front of an agent. It is triumphant, and although that triumph is undercut when the agent refuses to sign the band and suggests they play more live dates to gel which leads to the band slowly drifting apart, well, in retrospect, that makes it even more triumphant. It is their last stand, the final blowout, The Beatles' rooftop concert. Perhaps it's a cliche, but then so often rock 'n' roll is about taking the cliche and making it true.