Sunday, July 07, 2013

31 Day Film Challenge, Day 7: A Film With Your Favorite Soundtrack

For today's pick I'm making a somewhat ticky-tack distinction between a film "soundtrack" and a film "score."  My favorite film score is definitely Ennio Morricone's composition for The Mission, one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces of music ever written as far as I'm concerned.  I picked The Mission on Day 1 of this Challenge, though, and (according to the rules) I can't pick it again.  There are lots of other film scores that are iconic and that I love-- Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars immediately come to mind-- but I've decided to stick to the details of today's prompt and choose a soundtrack instead.

As it turns out, my soundtrack pick for today is also from one of my favorite films.  There isn't a prompt for "favorite music film that is not a concert film," unfortunately, but if we ever resurrect this Challenge again, I'm definitely adding that category.  And if we ever add that category, The Commitments (1991) would be a top contender for my pick.  The Commitments tells the story of a bunch of hardscrabble Irish musicians who set out to form the "World's Hardest Working Band" and  bring soul music to the people of Dublin.  It's got all of the drama that real-life bands have, it's got a incredibly talented cast of actor/musicians and, most importantly for today's prompt, it's got Andrew Strong.  Son of Irish soul singer Rob Strong, Andrew Strong plays the lead singer in the film.  And MAN OH MAN CAN HE SING.  He was only 16 years old when he was cast for the lead role in The Commitments, but his voice sounds at least 65 rough-and-raw years older than that.  I have a few friends from Dublin and I've often told them that the way they talk about their hometown reminds me a lot of how I talk about Memphis. Maybe our two towns are soul siblings.

It would be easy to believe that The Commitments soundtrack was recorded by a bunch of Memphis performers.  The tracks are all soul classics-- "Mustang Sally," "Take Me To The River," "Try A Little Tenderness," "Mr. Pitiful"-- many of them originally recorded by Memphis artists right here in Memphis.  Almost all of them are every bit as good as the originals, and I daresay that a couple might even be better than the originals.  (Andrew Strong's version of "Dark End of the Street" is maybe my favorite version of that classic.)   At any rate, if you haven't heard The Commitments soundtrack, it's a must-add to your iTunes library.  And if you haven't seen the film, please do yourself a favor and correct that deficit post haste.

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