Pirates, Academy? Really?

Why choose a sleep-inducing movie when you have sheer magic?

Pixar’s Brave won the Academy Award for Best Animated Picture, and rightfully so. It was groundbreaking, visually gorgeous, carried lovely messages, and finally spoke to the half of the country—namely, the female population—that Pixar typically ignores. I will celebrate this win, by golly!

But if I had to choose a runner-up, Wreck It Ralph might have made it—it was such a cute movie, also with good messages and some great female characters, even if they were tropes. ParaNorman was a pretty good movie as well; it wasn’t what I expected at all, but in good ways. I think it deserved a nomination if only because it broke a few boundaries on its own.

I’m not a big fan of Frankenweenie, and I don’t think it really should have been nominated, but I’m even more irritated that Pirates! Band of Misfits was in the category at all.

Seriously? This movie was so incredibly dull and stupid that I fell asleep watching it several times. I woke myself up abruptly each time, so I didn’t miss much, but every other parent I spoke to about the movie hated it, too. It was boring and the female characters sucked. I could have hit myself in the foot a few times with a hammer and had a better time than I had watching this movie.

On the other hand, there was a movie that wasn’t even nominated that definitely deserved a nod, and that was Rise of the Guardians. It was a magical, stunning movie that made me laugh hard, cry, and feel like I wanted to watch it all over again immediately. In fact, I have goose bumps right now just thinking about that movie, and I wish I could pop it in now! I’ll be buying it as soon as it’s on DVD, that’s for sure.

If Brave hadn’t been released in 2012, I would have said that this was the movie to bet on for the awards—and it wasn’t even nominated! The Academy has a history of doing this, though; it seems like every year they pick a couple of duds to highlight over a decent movie or two. Heck, I would have chosen Ice Age 4 and its goofiness over the stupid Pirates! movie (or even Frankenweenie).

You got something against Santa, Academy? Because picking those pirates over him, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy is bound to cost you some pressies this year…


This may be the cutest chipmunk movie yet—minus the annoying man in a bird suit.

First, let it be known that I do NOT like the Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise. I loved the cartoon movie that came out in the 80s; it was the first movie I saw in theaters, I think! I could watch that one every day, even though Modern Me has a few issues with it.

The new movies, however, have royally sucked. My daughter loves them, which is, of course, why we watch them. We don’t buy them—she doesn’t love them as much as she loves, say, Up or The Princess and the Frog—but we did keep the copy of Chipwrecked from the library after we watched it. Normally we return things immediately, but we’re keeping this one until it’s due because—well, it’s pretty darn cute!

The rodents get separated from Dave while on a family vacation—via one of Alvin’s brilliant plans, of course—and hilarity pretty much ensures as they run into a woman who’s been on the island way too long, the fun-filled alternative side of Simon, and a general role reversal of all of the chipmunks. It may not sound like a great film—indeed, it’s not great, but it’s fun, and it’s the one movie in the entire franchise that I actually didn’t mind watching.

Musicals and Movies

I’ve always been conflicted when it comes to comparing musicals to their movie counterparts. The pendulum has swing both ways with musicals like Les Miserables and its movie counterparts and more modern hits like Legally Blonde.

To me, what makes a musical great is the emotions stirred by the music. That is not true with a movie. It’s actions and dialog of a movie that make it stirring and the music does an important part to set the mood. The greatest movies meld everything together.

When you watch a musical you do it for the music. The plot and actions are important, but you’re really hoping to hear some awesome tunes that you can enjoy and either make you laugh or cry. This is where movies and their musical counterparts differ.

A subpar movie can make a great musical of the composer and song writer pick the right array of songs. A lousy musical probably will make a lousy film, but you don’t see too many musicals to films anyway. To me a prime example of the subpar movie making a great musical is Legally Blonde. I thought the movie was cute, but had a lame premise and predictable outcome.

None of that mattered with the musical because the music was so catchy and fun that you overlooked many of the other points. No one ever leaves a theater reciting the dialog, but more than a few have left humming some of the memorable tunes. For me, the musical will always win over the film, but that’s just my taste.

Movie Soundtrack: Mortal Kombat

Movies about video games have notoriously been panned by critics and audiences alike until the first Mortal Kombat was release. The movie is based on the popular fighting video game and not only did well in the box office, but also spawned a sequel.

One of the keys to its success was the soundtrack. Music hadn’t been an important part of fight films up to then. The focus was on the action and during the actual fighting, there was little if no music. You were supposed to get into the fight because you enjoyed the moves and choreography.

Mortal Kombat was such a franchise by then that it needed a little something extra to get the adrenaline flowing. Most of the people who watched it were familiar with the moves and actions, so it made it more difficult to become emotionally invested.

They made up for this by introducing a fast passed techno soundtrack that complemented the action. Oftentimes, the music was actually created for that specific scene. The pinnacle of this in my opinion was the fight between Johnny Cage and Scorpion. The music used the original Scorpion catch phrase and then let loose with the techno.

Mortal Kombat was one of the first film to do this and it changed the fight movie industry because of it. You can’t watch a fight movie anymore without having techno music blaring with every scene. The fights are even choreographed to the music, so that moves happen at certain beat points. Mortal Kombat used their soundtrack to bring audiences closer to the action.

Remake Sountracks

There are few people that will say that the music to Footloose is not some of the best that have ever been in a movie. It captured a generation with such songs as Footloose by Kenny Loggins, Let's Hear It For The Boy by Deniece Williams and Almost Paradise by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson.


Most of the sounds on that soundtrack have become legend and as soon as your hear them it brings back memories Kevin Bacon's bad dancing. We flash forward and Zach Efron tries to do the same thing in the remake.


Needless to day, the movie wasn't anywhere near the success of the original. Maybe I am just biased because I think Efron is tool. The new soundtrack has many of the original including Footloose and Almost Paradise, but updated for the new generation also commonly referred to as suckified.


I understand that need to create soundtracks for remakes of original movies, especially if that movie is music centered, but as a purist I can't stomach the thought of anyone else singing Footloose. I know, I am old. This is the perspective of a person that was alive for the original and the remake. The teens and tweens that think Efron is dreamy probably have no clue of Kevin Bacon or John Lithgow are. These kids don't see it as a soundtrack to a remake because they never heard of the original.


Even if they did, they would probably hate the music because it was remixed by Cee Lo.

The Music of Star Trek

When I was a kid and I watched the Star Trek: The Next Generation, I was surprised how much the music moved me. I am primarily talking about the theme song. Maybe it was because the show did such a great job of invoking emotion from episode to episode, but all the themes were moving.

Deep Space 9’s theme was haunting and did a great job of reflecting the meaning of the series. It wasn’t a show about going places in fast ships. It didn’t need the fast paced theme and the instrumental just seemed to fit the show. DS9 was a show where people came to them. It wasn’t your perfect Star Trek crew, but a group of rebels and Star Fleet officers trying to come to an uneasy peace.

Things changed as the show went on and after about 4 years, the theme no longer fit the show.

I loved Voyager’s theme most of all because it just screamed of exploration. It had a more youthful vigor to it, so it created images of rebel gunslingers in the old West and that’s exactly what Voyager was about. They were a lone ship in the middle of nowhere trying to find their way back home.

I can’t avoid talking about the The Original Series. The original theme was very typical of the 60’s and I’m not going to talk about it. Instead, I am going to how the theme changed in the movies. Composers kept the Wild West aspect of the theme, but also matured it along with the characters. They were still cowboys, but a little long in the tooth.

Original Versus Themed Soundtracks

One of my favorite soundtracks to listen to is from “The Wedding Singer” with Adam Sandler. It doesn’t have any original songs on it, but is does have a compilation of 80’s music that fit with the movie.

“The Wedding Singer” is set in the 1980’s and revolves around the life and love life of a wedding singer named Robbie Hart. Most of the music in the movie Is iconic songs from the 80’s and are great to listen to in the car or at home.

That’s the thing about soundtracks that use existing songs. Odds are you are going to like all of or most of them because they all follow a similar theme. When you buy a soundtrack made up of mostly original songs, then you run the risk of not enjoying most of the songs on there.

The most famous example is “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Deon for the movie “Titanic.” The song itself was a huge hit and seemed like it would never go away, but the rest of the soundtrack for the movie is made up of instrumentals.

Unless you like an hours of instrumentals, you just wasted $20 on a soundtrack you probably won’t listen to again. In the time of iTunes, where you can buy a single song from an album or sound track this may not seem like much of a problem, but as a lover of musical soundtracks, it’s a debate that will never go away. Trust me, I’ve been talking about it for a decade.

Soundtrack From the Movie "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"

One of the most well known movies that is well established in the United States movie history is the movie, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” This movie tells the story of the seven brothers who end up with brides in the most unconventional way. The movie was released in 1954.

The plot is indeed quite funny. It involves the oldest of the brothers Adam played by Howard Keel marrying a woman called Milly played by Jane Powell who is just known for only a short time. Milly goes with Adam to live in the woods and discovers a cabin filled with six more brothers. The men all have bad manners and are impolite. Milly teaches them hygiene, manners and how to treat a lady. The hope is that the brothers will also be able to find wives like the eldest brother Adam did.
The brothers end up going into town and getting into a fight. Before they do so they catch the interest of six girls that the townspeople teases them about. The brothers are thrown out of the town. In the end after kidnapping the girls, the townspeople tell them they must have a shotgun wedding.

The soundtrack for “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is truly worth it. It consists of some of the best musical show tunes of that era. Song such as “Bless Your Beautiful Hide,” “Lonesome Polecat,” and “Sobbin' Women” are a delight to hear. Other gems on this soundtrack include "June Bride," "When You're in Love" and “Spring, Spring, Spring.”

Soundtrack From the Movie "Sound of Music"

There is no movie that seems to be more well known than the “Sound of Music”. It was released in 1965 and it tells the story of the von Trapp Family. It is a “Rodgers and Hammerstein” film, distributed by 20th Century Fox, which has some of the well known musical pieces available. This film was first shown as a Broadway play in the late 1950s. The play is based on a book called, “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”. The movie was based in Germany, Austria and California.In the movie, Julie Andrews plays “Maria” and Christopher Plummer plays, “Captain von Trapp”. The movie tells how Maria is brought into the family’s home to become the governess. Songs such as “Maria” and “My Favorite Things” are some of Rodger and Hammerstein’s best work. Other songs include “Do-Re-Mi” sung by actress Charmian Carr who plays the oldest daughter Liesl. Liesl also sings “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” to let people know she is not a young girl. Songs that have made it onto the soundtrack are also the title song, “The Song of Music” and Julie Andrews beautifully sings, “Edelweiss”. One of the ending songs, “So Long, Farewell” is sung by the entire family is a delight to listen to.

The film was an instant hit based on the popularity of the Broadway play. It thought to have made over $150 million at the box office and this very popular soundtrack has sold over 11 million records across the world.

Soundtrack for the film, "Notting Hill"

One of the best soundtracks for a movie is “Notting Hill”. This is a popular movie for those who love Hugh Grant or Julia Roberts. The movie tells the story of a very successful actress “Anna Scott” falling in love with an average guy “William Thacker”, who is not a movie star. Anna walks into the bookstore that William owns.

The movie also details all of the hassles of trying to make a relationship work, especially when two people live in different countries. It is a story that can represent any two people when one has a demanding career. In the “Notting Hill” film, it also shows what it is like to constantly live in the public’s eye and not have the freedom to move around or even get into a new relationship.

Through a series of hurts and misunderstandings, it takes “Anna” and “Will” a full year before they are finally together as a couple.  This is not before each one feels that the other one has betrayed or rejected by the other person.

Some of the most romantic songs were chosen to be the accompanying soundtrack for this film. Songs such as “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” by Al Green, “When You Say Nothing At All” by Ronan Keating, “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Lighthouse Family, and “From Your Heart” by Another Level.