Cinema Toast

Not an Easter Egg

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I Love Easter Eggs in Movies

I do love them. Those little inside jokes that seem perfectly placed for the super-fans are just that extra, This one’s just for you, to make you feel as though the movie makers know and appreciate the audience.

I keep seeing articles about all the Easter eggs in one movie or another. Especially with Rogue One. I saw Rogue One. I did not, however, see too many Easter eggs. I saw lots of references and allusions to the other films in the Star Wars universe, but referencing Captain Antilles, showing a ship from another SW movie or series, or including the line, “I have a bad feeling about this,” does not qualify as an Easter egg. That’s simply called connecting the dots.

Don’t get me wrong. I really loved Rogue One, but it was not heavy on Easter eggs.

Here’s a Great Example

I recently saw Favreau’s 2016 The Jungle Book, and it contained a perfect example of an Easter egg.

Mowgli is abducted by monkeys and taken to see King Louie, voiced by Christopher Walken. When the boy gets to the palace, he approaches a pile of treasure and picks up a cow bell. He plays with it for a moment, trying to figure it out, and then puts it back down. Why is this an Easter egg? Because Walken is widely remembered for the silly “more cowbell” SNL skit with Will Ferrell. What does that have to do with The Jungle Book? Nothing. That’s the point. It’s only there as an inside joke for the portion of the audience who delighted in Walken’s SNL appearance. That’s what an Easter egg is meant to be.

So Why the Chip on My Shoulder?

I really don’t have a problem with bloggers bringing attention to fun facts they may have noticed in a film that others may have overlooked. I appreciate them helping other connect the dots and show continuity, especially in a series. Just don’t call it an Easter egg if it’s not one. It’s like using the wrong homonym in a sentence. It’s unprofessional. And people do notice.

 

 

Cinema Toast

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

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Maybe it’s the time of year—autumn always turns me nostalgic, I suppose—or maybe it’s something else, but I’m listening to more music these days. My playlist is filling up, and not only with new songs, but with a few oldies as well.

I’ve always been a huge fan of movie soundtracks. Some of my first albums were Disney soundtracks from Mary Poppins and the Jungle Book. I listened to John William’s scores from Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark until the vinyl was worn through. As a teen in the ‘80’s, every movie had a defining soundtrack. Songs from Valley Girl, The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off take me back to very specific moments in my life as effectively as if I had a time machine at my disposal. (Thank goodness I don’t.)

I recently advised my son on a web-design class project entitled “Back to the ‘80’s”. I suggested he research album covers and movie/ TV art from the decade. Just seeing the covers for ASIA, Duran Duran, and Cyndi Lauper gave me a smile. His project is going to be totally rad!

Last night I downloaded a Led Zeppelin song that I completely forgot about until this week. And this morning my sons and I discussed the iconic (and oft-mocked) title song from the movie Born Free. My family has a huge collection of albums that we actually do play on our turntable. It includes everything from Eubie Blake to Gene Autry to Bay City Rollers to Styx and more. My husband has already set aside several LPs for our Christmas gatherings.

The reality is that music affects our moods, triggers memories and emotions, and encourages our imagination. In film, it is often the muscle that holds the skeleton of the plot together. It’s the part that begs the audience to dance with the characters. It’s the tone that entices you to fall in love, pushes you through the action, and stokes the fire of your anger.

The connection it makes with our emotions is deeper than the story on the screen. It lasts for days, years, even decades later. A good soundtrack is essential to any good movie. In my opinion, it can turn a good movie into a great film.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.