weird dances and good soundtracks

by pieces of moments

Um, so I had a really weird experience tonight at Screen on the Green out on the National Mall. It was my first time to SotG and my friend Meg had said to me, very cryptically, that we had to get there by a certain time so I could experience the thing that happens before the movie begins. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what that meant. Nothing in my wildest imagination could have prepared me for the reality.

We’re sitting there, in a great location (thanks to some friends of Meg’s who happened to be there earlier to lay claim to some prime patch of ground). An announcement comes on the screen. Couldn’t even tell you what it was about, wasn’t paying attention. After that they showed an ooooooold Looney Toons cartoon. Hilarious, but still not this mystery event. Then, it happened. Some abstract graphics started appearing on the screen. Everyone started to stand up. Utterly perplexed I kept saying “Why is everyone standing?” or “What the heck is going on?” and then things really got crazy: in unison everyone standing started dancing the Really though, it was more choreographed gyration and not dancing. But all the same – WEIRD. After about 30 seconds of this insanity everyone sat down, including Meg, whose eyes glowed with gleefully as she said “See? that’s what I was talking about!”


Thankfully I found footage on YouTube to prove it to you because honestly, I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I had not seen it with my own eyes.

Okay, so, enough of that.

The movie tonight was On The Waterfront, a movie I had always wanted to see but had not up until this evening. It’s an absolutely astounding film, much more than I expected. Of course, when Brando said his famous “I coulda been a contendah…” lines everyone cheered, which was endearing and annoying all at once.

There are many famous and memorable lines, scenes, themes, and clothes (hey, don’t tell me you didn’t at some point in your life want that checkered jacket that Brando wears through the whole movie), but the fact I had forgotten is that Leonard Bernstein (see @ 2:14) wrote the movie score. How could I forget that?! Needless to say, the score perfectly matched the movie in it’s stark, brusque, and yet very poignant moods.

I wish more “classical” composers would associate with film. Not to diminish the astounding film score composers there are out there (Alexandre Desplat is one of my personal favorites), but for my own selfish curiosity I would want to know if and how, in any way, the presence of images and dialogue would alter (or if it would not alter much) the method/sound/writing-in-general of any given composer. A large part of why I saw Revolutionary Road was to hear how a Nico Muhly film score would sound, especially in comparison with his studio albums or his collaborative work.

Sigh. I’ve always kinda wanted to be one of those studio musician kids. How fun to record great soundtrack music all day, and then get to see this amazing work of art that you helped create with a mamoth host of other people with vastly varying skills. Hmmm, where’s my “to do/accomplish” list?