2010 Best Use of Source Music Nominees

I usually start with the musical performance category instead of the source music category, but I decided to switch it up this year.  This is a category dedicated to the movies that can take an existing piece of music and incorporate it into a movie, creating a synthesis of song and imagery.  Bear in mind that it is the use of the song and the relevance of the selection that I’m judging, not the quality of the song itself.

  • “Never Hear Surf Music Again” by Free Blood- 127 Hours: I was tempted to nominate Bill Wither’s “Lovely Day” for its place in the soundtrack because it was such a nice song, but this caustic opening track proved to be the more striking combination with the film’s visuals.  Played over a montage of Aron Ralston getting ready for his fateful hike and a lot of city imagery, the scene perfectly establishes the modern world Ralston is leaving and the sort of punky urge that makes him want to leave.
  • “You and Me” by Penny & the Quarters- Blue Valentine: There’s an interesting story behind this obscure soul song, which was only discovered over thirty years after it was recorded, but I’m only here to talk about its use in the movie.  “You and Me” is established as the central couple’s special song, and it’s used to heartbreaking effect both in the segments where they are falling in love and when they are at their lowest point later on.
  • “How You Like Me Now” By The Heavy- The Fighter: For a film that’s loaded to the brim with famous classic rock, it’s interesting that the stand out track is actually a contemporary song from a mostly unknown band that makes the nomination.  Interestingly it’s a contemporary song that’s been built to sound like a relic from the 70s.  Its use is in a really snappy opening sequence where Ward and Eklund are walking through their neighborhood, the scene doesn’t really affect the plot but it perfectly introduces these characters and their place in the community.
  • “Shame Shame on You” By Spade Cooley- The Killer Inside Me: Here’s where crate digging can really pay off.  This obscure country/western song from the fifties fits perfectly within the film’s Texas setting, but more importantly it fits the film’s sleazy tone to a T.  The lyrics, which look at a heartbreak with a  sort of twisted point of view that places all of the blame on a woman perfectly fits with the main character’s sociopathic point of  view.
  •  “Baby You’re a Rich Man” By The Beatles- The Social Network: Nothing in movies like Se7en or Fight Club really leads one to assume that David Fincher is a Beatle-maniac, but he managed to win this category in 2008 for his use of Twist and Shout in Benjamin Button and now he’s back with another expensive Beatles track in tow, one that fits into the movie for obvious lyrical reasons, but it also slyly pokes fun at the emptiness of Zuckerberg’s accomplishment.

The Golden Stake goes to…