Monday, August 20, 2007

If Movie Lists Were Mixed Tapes...

The mixed tape is a thing of the past, especially for the children of ipod (and my parents’ generation was stuck with LPs and 8-tracks) so this concept might be kinda limited to the twenty-four to thirty-four set. But: What if you could make a mixed tape of movies instead of songs? I’ve always loved making lists but I have a hard time ranking things. One day Gigi is ahead of The Bandwagon on my all-time musicals list, the next day Bandwagon jumps over Gigi, and then sixty hours later both have fallen two spots and Gold Diggers of 1933 has taken over. I love lists but I’m so wishy-washy I can never settle on the ordering of things. I hate saying: “This is my number one,” because I know two weeks later I’ll have found another number one depending on the weather and my changing moods.

So, to satiate my list-making desires I thought it might be fun to order things as if I were making a huge celluloid-spun mixed tape; a kind of double feature on steroids. The movies aren’t listed in order of preference; they’re listed so that each movie builds on and reacts to and flows from the ones preceding it, just like the experienced mixed tape maker who orders the songs in just the right way to maximize the sonic experience.

You know (an example): First, a fun, catchy radio hit to start things off, then a couple of happy but slightly more obscure tunes (peppy but suitably hip so as to show off your alt-rock credentials), then a slow, lilting piece, maybe about lost love, then a raucous, heavy rocker, then something ironically 80s, then a trip down memory lane with a mid-90s band like Gin Blossoms or the Lemonheads, then a party song, something hip-hop but not too radio-overplayed, then another slow song, etc. etc.

If movie lists were mixed tapes, what would be on side one? On side two? Would you start side two with something energetic or something somber? Would you end side one with something happy or sad? How would you fill the nebulous middle, that place where everything seems to run together and yet cohesion seems to fall apart, how do you keep it interesting, how do you keep it fresh? Consider this a trial run. If movie lists were mixed tapes…

Title: Procrastination Station

Side One:
Mansfield Park (1999)
Light in the Piazza
Paradise Road
Dark Victory
The Thin Man
Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows

Side Two:
Father of the Bride (1950)
The Parent Trap (1998)
Roman Holiday
Splendor in the Grass
Dinner at Eight
The Exterminating Angel


Joe Baltake said...

What a list! "The Exterminating Angel"! "Gypsy"! "Rebecca"! "The Thin Man"! "Light in the Piazza"! I love it. More to the point, I can't improve on it.

The Derelict said...

Well, thank you very much! I hope to do more of these "movie list as mixed tape" things, each with different themes, of course.

Joe Baltake said...

Thanks for the message. Yes, I love "Gypsy." FYI. You might want to check out these two posts on the subject that are on my blog, and the acompanying comments:

Joe Baltake said...

Oh, and by the way, I think Russell is peerless in the role.

The Derelict said...

Thanks, I'll check those out!

I'm so glad you agree about Russell. I thought I was the only one. It seems with the movie version of Gypsy everyone gets hung-up on the singing vs. dubbing thing but that's never bothered me. Gypsy, more so than other musicals of that era, requires top-notch acting almost more than it requires belt-it-out-to-the-back-row singing (though that's important too ;)). Rose's character especially has the potential to turn into a shrill psychopath, a stage mother monster, or she can overwhelm the story and simply be "the big star turn", but Russell manages to be both: the manic terror and the dynamo we can't help admiring.

Anonymous said...

You should create this list at where you can create custom movie lists