PGCMAs: Best Soundtrack and Use of Source Music (2015)

Posted: February 8, 2016 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Danel “PG Cooper” SimpsonPGCMA 2015

*The above image represents 2014’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman.

Best Soundtrack

The Big Short: If nothing else, The Big Short’s soundtrack is probably the one I would most likely listen to on my own time. It’s got all sorts of pop music (new and old), some classic rock, and some really awesome metal songs.

Creed: The Rocky series has always been known for its music and I like how the series shifts to music more representative to Adonis than Rocky. There is a lot of energetic and inspiring hip hop tracks which both fit the tone of the series while also forging its own identity.

Ex Machina: The soundtrack to Ex Machina is more a case of quality over quanity. There isn’t a lot of source music, but the use of “Get Down Saturday Night” and the instrumental “Bunsen Burner” are really memorable.

Joy: David O. Russell’s latest effort was not met with the same acclaim his last few films were, but the man still put together one hell of a soundtrack with a tremendously wide range in style.

The Martian: Much of the film’s humour stems from Watney endlessly deriding the disco music he’s “forced” to listen to in the film. The prominent role the soundtrack plays in the story makes this worthy of a nomination, but the use of David Bowie’s “Starman” really puts this over the top.

And the winner is…

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Joy

joy-poster-350

The sheer volume of music won me over. This is a film that contains music from artists as disparate as Cream, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat “King” Cole, Randy Newman, Elvis Pressley, Cole Porter, and Bruce Springsteen, just to name a few.

Best Use of Source Music

This award looks at how a film uses pre-existing music for a desired effect. The focus isn’t so much on how good the song is, but how well it’s used.

“Aire Libre” by Lucien Belmond, Wild Tales: The various short stories in Wild Tales all focus on characters seeking vengeance of sorts, but this music marks a story ends with a sort of weird understanding between characters. It’s an oddly tender moment that is in keeping with the film’s strange tone.

“Get Down Saturday Night” by Oliver Cheatham, Ex Machina: I never expected to hear some R&B in a low-key sci-fi movie like Ex Machina, but it did happen. I won’t spoil the scene, but I will say it’s one of the most unexpected and hilarious scenes I saw all year.

“Master of Puppets” by Metallica, The Big Short: There are a few scenes of hedge fund manager Michael Burry listening to metal in his office, but this one is my favourite. Instead of cutting the scene to the music in a frenetic manner, the scene actually plays in a standard fashion, which emphasizes the absurdity of hearing aggressive riffs and drumming in an office building.

“Starman” by David Bowie, The Martian: The Martian is a film dealing with space which is all about hope and coming together to achieve a common goal. Clearly, David Bowie’s “Starman” is a perfect companion and the song is used during a really moving scene in the third act.

“To Love Somebody” by The Bee Gees, Joy: The use of this Bee Gees love song during a montage of Joy’s failed marriage seems at first merely an ironic music choice, but the choice takes on greater meaning when realizes how tender their relationship remains in spite of their divorce.

And the winner is…

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“Starman” by David Bowie, The Martian

the martian

Perhaps I’m being effected by David Bowie’s recent passing, but no use of source really matched the power of this scene. “Starman” really is a perfect song for the film and the scene itself is cut together very well. It’s a moment that really inspires a sense of hope and good feelings and I can’t imagine it working nearly as well with a different song.

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