Heard It On Film

Let me take you back. It’s 1997, and I’m smitten with the films of Danny Boyle.

Admittedly, at this point, there had only been two that he had directed (although he did crop up as Executive Producer on the massively under-rated “Twin Town” in 1997) – 1994’s “Shallow Grave” and, of course 1996’s “Trainspotting” – but if you’ve seen any of those – and if you haven’t, what are you doing here, go watch them immediately – then you’ll probably agree with me that they are great, great films.

And not just for the plots, or the ground-breaking artistic visionary style of the films, but also for the soundtracks. Those films came out at around the same time as Tarantino’s first couple of movies, “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction”, two films where the soundtrack played such an important role, it was virtually an extra cast member.

Boyle’s movies are similarly blessed, and so it was that by the time of his third film, “A Life Less Ordinary”, acts were queuing up to contribute to the soundtrack: The Prodigy, Faithless, Sneaker Pimps, Alabama 3, some chap called Elvis Presley (although I suspect he may not have been queuing in person), The Cardigans, Underworld (of course) all appear.

It’s by far and away the best thing about the film which is not Boyle’s finest moments, but when the bar had been set so high by what has come before, you can forgive the odd blip.

And speaking of odd blips, here’s a song which first saw the light of day as part of that soundtrack, although it later got released as an edited single, and cropped up again on the deluxe reissue of “Odelay”. It’s also probably my favourite song in Beck’s marvellously varied back catalogue:


Beck – Deadweight

“Deadweight” was nominated for Best Song from a Movie at the 1998 MTV Movie Awards. It lost out to Will “Wicky Wicky Wild” Smith’s godawful “Men in Black”.

I know. Go figure, right?

There’s two other truly great tracks on there; firstly a different, more electronica version of R.E.M.’s “Leave” than that which appears on their 1996 album “New Adventures in Hi-Fi”, which hinted at the direction they’d be taking soon, when drummer Bill Berry quit the band (starting the sad decline of the band over the next few albums):

R.E.M. – Leave

…and not forgetting the wonderful title track performed by Ash, displaying the talents of new member Charlotte Hatherley for the first time:

Ash – A Life Less Ordinary


More soon.


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7 thoughts on “Heard It On Film”

  1. ““Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction”, two films where the soundtrack played such an important role, it was virtually an extra cast member.”
    What a great line. You’re so right, of course. Can you imagine the Jack Rabbit Slim’s dance scene without the Chuck Berry song? Tarantino has always taken great care in selecting the music in his films. Boyle did the same. Some of those iconic Trainspotting moments just wouldn’t be the same without the particular songs used with them. That opening scene, for instance. I can’t believe it would work nearly so well without Lust For Life.

    1. I have a sneaking suspicion I may have also used that line when I was banging on about Baby Driver the other week… Still, best to plagiarise oneself, I think

  2. Yes so right about the soundtrack being one of the stars of these movies – Wrote about Pulp Fiction last year after featuring a song from Breaking Bad as that whole show was full of PF and RD references and music choices.

    Did you ever watch the GOTG movies? Music pivotal to that one too. Light-hearted but great fun to watch.

      1. Oh dear – not your thing then. I share my house with an awful lot of “young people” (darling daughter’s friends) so have been converted!

  3. I like all these tunes but my favorite part of the post is the conclusion: “Corking.” We Yanks can’t get away with UK-isms like that (although I’m trying to work “chuffed” into my vocabulary).

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