The Soundtrack of Our Lives

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.

Back to the Past

This week marks 28 years of marriage to my wonderful husband, Riley. We’ve had a few tough times, but mostly our time together has been filled with joy and romance. We’re truly blessed.

Thinking back to the days when we were newly wed, I found myself considering the movies of those days. We spent many a date night at the local theatres, enjoying the new releases each week. When I pulled up a list of movies from 1985, I discovered a roster of dozens of blockbusters, cult classics, and iconic performances.

Like today, monsters and magic were big in ‘85. Zombies, werewolves, vampires, demons, pirates and fairies all had a place on the silver screen in films like The Bride, Transylvania 6-5000, Once Bitten, Silver Bullet, Day of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead, Goonies, Legend, Ladyhawke, and Weird Science.

Proper costumes set the stage for movies like Young Sherlock Holmes, Out of Africa, The Color Purple, and Room with a View.

Westerns made a statement in Pale Rider and the lighter Silverado.

Quirky cult movies included Brazil, Into the Night, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Better Off Dead, The Breakfast Club, Clue, The Man with One Red Shoe, and Real Genius.

The action flicks were sequels—Rocky IV, Rambo 2, and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Chevy Chase had a big year with Fletch, European Vacation, and Spies Like Us.

Maybe my favorite picture of 1985 (and the top grossing of the year) was Back to the Future, starring Michael J. Fox. The story is terrific, the acting is spot-on, and, with the sequels, this movie has won a place in every film-lover’s collection.

What is especially fun about reviewing these films is that over the years, my husband and I have shared several of these films with our sons, and they now have a love for them too. What a wonderful way to stay young at heart!

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