(This article is part of our Best of the Decade series.)
The first commercially issued movie soundtrack was released in 1937 for Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Since then, music has been an integral component to the cinematic experience as a means of storytelling and evoking emotion. While films typically possess a score (music composed specifically for a film that is usually instrumental), a soundtrack differs in that it contains previously recorded music matched up to various scenes. While there were some fantastic scores over the past decade, soundtracks significantly stood out with the experimental blending of musical genres and deep cuts to capture a film’s tone, theme, and setting. Here are my top 10 soundtracks (in no particular order) from the past decade which all feature pre-existing songs. Each film is fantastic in its own right, and the music is just the cherry on top.
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Each decade has a defining film for childhood audiences. In the ‘90s, there was a surge of children’s sports movies like The Mighty Ducks, Rookie of the Year, Angels in the Outfield, and Little Giants. However, none withstood the test of time quite like the archetypal coming-of-age story The Sandlot. Written and directed by David Mickey Evans, the film follows a group of young boys in the summer of 1962 who are brought together by their love of baseball and fear of one neighborhood dog known as “The Beast”. Filled with heartfelt moments of friendship and hilarious antics that can only occur during the slow, sweaty days of summer, The Sandlot is one of the best films of the ‘90s and a childhood favorite for many who grew up in that decade.
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A common complaint in film these days is that there is too much CGI. Computer graphics have not only diminished the effectiveness of monsters in genre films, but they have put practical effects and stop-motion artists out of work. While technological advancements have their perks and their place, many moviegoers believe that practical effects will always give off a more tangible viewing experience, arousing a deeper fear than any creature designed solely on a computer. Writer/director duo Gilles Penso and Alexandre Poncet’s documentary Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters reintroduces audiences to a special effects legend while also spotlighting the impact stop-motion animation has had on the movie industry despite the emergence of CGI.
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One of the defining traits of a mother is her unconditional love. No matter how rotten a child can be, a mother’s love can be undying and never waiver through troubled waters. It is both a blessing and a curse – this endless devotion and sacrifice that comes with being a parent. But just how far does that love go? How much can one parent give and risk in order to help a child that is seemingly hopeless?
In her sophomore feature Pelican Blood, writer/director Katrin Gebbe captures the immense dedication that mothers can exude despite the most defiant and dangerous kids they try to nurture and protect.
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In Christianity, the lamb is symbolic of gentleness, innocence, and purity. The animal has also been used as a reference to Jesus Christ when the bible mentions “lamb of God.” There is a softness and delicate nature to the lamb, one that provides comfort in its shed fur used for blankets and clothing. They also possess a specific loyalty and obedience as they are willfully herded by a shepherd–blindly following its master even to its death. This thematic symbolism is woven throughout director Malgorzata Szumowska’s horror film, The Other Lamb, as she depicts a tale of obedience and defiance within the isolated world of a cult. Read More »
Eventually, everyone has a first love. No matter where you find it or with whom, there is a chaotic and exciting rush that attaches itself to that particular feeling. With over one hundred films under his belt, director Takashi Miike is an expert at juggling all of the beauty and brutality that encompasses the emotional state of love. Rich in components of fear, revenge, anger, and sweetness, Miike delivers a pure knockout in his latest film, First Love. Read More »
There is a palpable love that radiates deep within The Adams’ latest film, and it is not just because the production is a family affair. A story reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, the marital duo Toby Poser and John Adams direct, write, produce, and star in The Deeper You Dig–a film at Fantastic Fest 2019 that explores grief, guilt, and determination within the fragile boundaries of life and death. Read More »
Plastered around telephone poles, buildings, and ice cream trucks in South Florida, you’ll find stickers of a clown with hollowed-out eyes, thick red lips, and a phone number under his withered face. This is Wrinkles. Legend has it that the masked clown is out to provide a service terrorizing disobedient children. Over the past few years, Wrinkles has become folklore personified. Thanks to the hyperactive age of social media, the diabolic clown is pure nightmare fuel for naughty children but a breath of fresh air for parents in need of alternative disciplinary methods. Directed by Michael Beach Nichols, Wrinkles the Clown (watch the trailer here) introduces audiences to the man behind the mask and explores society’s dark fascination with his disturbing omnipresence. Read More »
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Certain decades have their own tangible fears. The 1950s possessed a culture of fear that has been explored repeatedly throughout the horror and sci-fi genres. Cold war fears were heavily centered around an aversion to the other, technology, nuclear war, and aliens. There’s a singular simplicity in film and television that captures the emotional impact of these anxieties, allowing filmmakers to enhance metaphors through style, dialogue, and setting as opposed to overt displays of violence and nightmarish imagery. Director Andrew Patterson’s feature debut The Vast of Night at Fantastic Fest 2019 applies all of the conventional trepidation of the time period, while delivering a film with concise and unorthodox storytelling along with subtle suspense rooted in sci-fi. Read More »
In its fifth year, MondoCon is bigger than ever. In the convention’s program, co-founder and creative director Mitch Putnam mentioned this year’s con is “the first time it actually feels like we’ve hit our full potential.” Honestly, I couldn’t agree more. Movie, music, and comic book fans love Mondo for all of the rad collector items they make. Hell, I’m one of them. People line up for hours (and even camp out overnight) to get their hands on the latest releases, and this year was no different. I had the pleasure of attending this year’s two-day convention, which by far was their biggest and best event yet.
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