November 8, 2011

"Yes, nothing goes better with a brutal political attack than acoustic guitars and whistling."

That's sarcasm, but I actually think incongruously lighthearted music is captivating.



Can you think of some examples of incongruously lighthearted music accompanying a brutal attack? The "Singin' in the Rain" scene in "Clockwork Orange" comes to mind.

But come on, Jon Huntsman on Mitt Romney is a far cry from ultraviolence.

AND: As for whistling and violence... don't forget "M"!

54 comments:

Sheepman said...

Effective ad. Music insinuates that Romney is a lightweight who has no substance.

Paddy O said...

"Can you think of some examples of incongruously lighthearted music accompanying a brutal attack?"

Watched The Informant again the other day. The FBI raid of ADM corporate offices and the arrest of executives is accompanied by wonderfully jaunty music.

Wikitorix said...

Dead Island trailer - it's a videogame, but it fits the parameters.

Jason said...

The torture scene in Reservoir Dogs, where that guy cuts off that cops ear while dancing to "Stuck In The Middle With You."

The war scenes and bombing scenes in "Good Morning Vietnam," done to the "What A Wonderful World."

Coketown said...

There's the scene in Reservoir Dogs where Mr. Blonde beats up the guy in the chair. And there's Silence of the Lambs, when Hannibal escapes toward the end and that beautiful music is playing while he goes ape. And Sofia Coppola has a knack, though unintentional, for picking songs totally incongruous to the mood of a particular scene. (We get it, doll. You have an eclectic taste in music. Save it for your myspace profile.)

traditionalguy said...

The message is that Romney is a light weight scooting every which a way like a water bug.

Allie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bender said...

The war scenes and bombing scenes in "Good Morning Vietnam," done to the "What A Wonderful World."
______________

I wouldn't doubt that the idea for that was taken from Kubrick's earlier Dr. Strangelove, with "I'll be seeing you" playing to scenes of nuclear bombs exploding.

Ann Althouse said...

" Dr. Strangelove, with "I'll be seeing you" playing to scenes of nuclear bombs exploding."

The song is "We'll Meet Again," and you're right. That's a great example.

LordSomber said...

"In Dreams"

Allie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bender said...

The song is "We'll Meet Again,"
____________

Actually, the song is "Way Before My Time."

But Dr. Strangelove is a bit different -- the music is third-party background, whereas with A Clockwork Orange, it is the sociopathic perpetrator making the music. Along the latter lines, there is also For A Few Dollars More (Sergio Leone), where the bad guy plays this music-box kind of tune before shooting someone down.

LordSomber said...

"Atlantis" in Goodfellas.

"Layla" too, perhaps?

John Burgess said...

The original 'The Bad Seed' (1956) did the combination pretty well. The violence was shrouded by the mores of the time, but obvious. The tune, 'Au Claire de la Lune', a French folk song and early-student piano piece went from light to terrifying.

Henry said...

Boy, the Jon Huntsman ad is unbelievably pathetic -- from the very first second. I don't think the message "Romney disdains the Mainstream Media" is going to be very resonant in the Republican primaries.

"Can you think of some examples of incongruously lighthearted music accompanying a brutal attack?"

I don't suppose The Ride of the Valkyries counts.

There is the scene in the Godfather when Michael has his enemies eliminated during his nephew's baptism. All the murders take place to organ music and the liturgical voiceover.

Joe said...

I respect a politician more who refuses to pander to the press and play the Sunday talk show game than one who does.

The notion that a politician and/or candidate has to hold press conferences and/or go on news shows is asinine. The complaints by the press have far more to do with selling copy than anything of substance.

(Now, once you do have a press conference and/or go on a talk show, you can't be a weasel about it. Obama hasn't learned that.)

tim in vermont said...

How about Peter Paul and Mary's Polly Von? Sad and dirge like he pronounces his arrow killed his true love, then comes the excuse, in an upbeat refrain: "She'd her apron wrapped about her and I took her for a swan..."

Just sayin...

dbp said...

I would rate the ad as ineffective: Romney looks great jogging, unlike Carter or Clinton--who looked as if they would keel-over at any moment. Romney also shows good humor when being blind-sided with gotcha questions. Finally, Republicans mostly don't like the press and will look favorably on a politician who spurns them.

tim in vermont said...

If this is an attempt to win the R Primary for Romney and help him in the general with the vast majority of Americans who think Michael Moore, or whoever that clone of him was at the end and the rest of the press are agenda driven activists, then it worked great.

If the Fox News logo was supposed to be some kind of hint to the right that Romney is even dissing them, well, they shouldn't have used Chris Wallace. Here is another hint for free, don't use Shemp Smith, Geraldo, or the fat guy in suspenders either.

Chip Ahoy said...

I didn't see American Psycho but I think they do this. Kills while playing "Hip to be Square," moonwalk before a murder.

Bender said...

Fits a little bit -- "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" a/k/a "In the Garden of Eden" in Manhunter.

Geoff Matthews said...

I like the contrast here, which starts at 0:53.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9POYDoHXUX0

Triangle Man said...

@Chip

You are correct.

Pogo said...

"In Dreams" during Blue Velvet was horrifying.

Dan said...

The Victors features a firing squad with Sinatra crooning I'll be home for Christmas. Early Peter Jackson has a 19-year old Kate Winslet and friend preparing to bludgeon the friend's mother while The Humming Chorus plays in Heavenly Creatures.

Strelnikov said...

"Danny Boy" in the background of the shoot 'em up finale in "Miller's Crossing".

Erich said...

I wouldn't call "Danny Boy" lighthearted by any means, but its use is certainly dramatically incongruous in the Coen brothers' "Miller's Crossing". "The old man's still an artist with a Thompson."

Perry Como's "Girl of My Dreams" is used to good effect (I think) at the climax of "Angel Heart".

Tibore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tibore said...

"Yes, nothing goes better with a brutal political attack than acoustic guitars and whistling."

They probably figured that if it could stop Kirk and Spock in their tracks, it could work any kind of magic anywhere. ;)

Indigo Red said...

X-Files episode "Home" with Johnny Mathis singing "Wonderful, Wonderful".

Kurt said...

Bender already referenced "A Clockwork Orange," and in that case the musical choice ("Singing in the Rain") does communicate that he's a sociopath because it is so inappropriate for the context. I'd also agree with Erich's point about "Danny Boy" in "Miller's Crossing."

With "M" on the other hand, the murderer whistles the theme from "Peter and the Wolf" which serves as a warning to the audience that he's up to no good. After all, it was Lang's first "talkie" and he was careful to use sound to maximum effect whenever possible.

Palladian said...

Coketown is referring to this scene in "The Silence of the Lambs" which has Lecter listening to the Aria from J.S. Bach's "Goldberg" Variations. I think the scene would have been better if Demme had just let the Aria play throughout the scene, without the addition of the "movie music" during the attack.

Also using one of the "Goldberg" Variations, there's "Slaughterhouse Five. Glenn Gould was the musical consultant for the film, and he used his own rendition of the 25th variation over the linked scene.

Kubrick used this technique of incongruous or contrasting image/music a lot, such as at the end of "Full Metal Jacket".

Chip Ahoy said...

Peter and the Wolf Vs In the Hall of The Mountain King.

ricpic said...

What's wrong with Romney's "Listen to my words?" Sounds like a direct response to someone who won't hear his message.

J said...

The "Singin' in the Rain" scene in "Clockwork Orange".

That suggests something....intriguing about you, Miss A. What was the muzak playing when Alex had his...mask on? Also a klassic scene.

Lance said...

That's sarcasm, but I actually think incongruously lighthearted music is captivating.

Yup. The Smiths rode that formula to stardom, a la "Girlfriend in a Coma" and "Panic on the Streets of London".

q12345q6789 said...

Certainly, not high-art; but John Woo's use of "Over the Rainbow" during an explosive shoot-out in 'Face-Off' fits this category to a bloody 't'.

Dead Julius said...

Oh, come on, Jon Huntsman... really? REALLY? You gonna attack the anointed head honcho of the Republican party, and soon of the nation, from the safety of your YouTube account and the bunker of your 2% poll ratings? PATHETIC!

The fact is that Mitt does communicate... all the fucking time!... but only to the people who are actually going to decide this election. He talks to K Street. He talks to Wall Street. He is the most important man in D.C. inner circles. And-- by golly gosh!-- he talks to the good ole' fashioned interest groups.

But the public? Why the hell should Mitt talk to the public? Or to Sunday talk shows? Or anywhere, for that matter, where the presence of commoners might taint the purity of his leadership? Fuck you, Jon Huntsman... while you wallow in the muck with the proles, Romney acts with detached indifferent I-am-above-you DIGNITY!

And as Cain is exposed to be a sex-crazed beagle of black man, and Perry having been exposed to be nothing more than junior-college material with a Texas twang, there ain't much competition left.

The mighty aristocrat stands alone. And soon he will stand victorious.

Suck it up, beyatches!

knox said...

It has been used so many times it's practically a cliche. Unfortunately. Because it can be very effective.

My first thoughts were Silence of the Lambs, Resevoire Dogs, and Blue Velvet, all mentioned here. Also the opera/execution scene in The Untouchables.

X-Files episode "Home" with Johnny Mathis singing "Wonderful, Wonderful".

Most horrifying 60 minutes of network TV ever. (Besides the morning news shows, ha ha.) After the opening sequence, I remember thinking, "Not sure I can keep watching this!"

Cedarford said...

Bad Huntsman ad.

1. Romney looks great jogging. Vigorous. Dare we say...even charismatic??
2. He DISTAINS the demand of MSM millionaires that he forthwith appear as they require on their shows? Ooooooo! That will rile up Republicans.
3. Strong, telling a heckler to "listen to my words".
4. No one is noticing the voiceover, they are seeing images of Romney that make him look Presidential, a man of action, not the inaction theme Huntsman's ad is supposed to communicate.

John Huntsman, a liberal Republican who by his presence, shifts Romney to the "reasonable" center of the Party automatically in comparison to himself and the movement conservatives running. Who takes the sting of Romney the only Richman against the Hero Conservative reactionary Everyman/woman away due to the vast Huntsman family wealth.

If I was Romney, I'd be sending his future White House foreign emissary John Huntsman some fellow Mormon magic underwear as a Christmas present this year!

McDonald Family said...

Isn't it irony, not sarcasm?

great unknown said...

sure hope they were illegal Gibson guitars

Titus said...

Bowling For Columbine (I know commie) What A Wonderful World.

Crunchy Frog said...

Not lighthearted, but incredibly powerful and tragic - Pippin's song in The Two Towers

Titus said...

Ben was so fucking suave in Blue Velvet.

Love said...

I love his cool shirt and jeans.

If I didn't know any better I'd think he was worth less than 250 million.

And when he says that government workers make more than "us"...who is he referring to.

Carnifex said...

I watched "A Clockwork Orange" in my Movie appreciation class back in college. It was a real eye opener for a hick from Kentucky.

So many windows of psychology, and psychological manipulation were opened in that screening. And not just what Kubrik was doing with the film, but in the film itself, with its questions of right and wrong, and self-determination.

"Singing in the rain"-while raping a woman in front of her husband. Man that was genius.

Much as a fine wine has subtle undertones, and hints of seasons past, so this film. But wasted on those without the pallet to appreciate its true mastery.

I love my wife dearly, and all our family, but I wouldn't make them watch it for they lack the palate to "taste" it. As an example, my wife is supposed to drink a glass of wine a day, so I plied her zinfandels, and gewurztraminers. She finally got tired of my selections and told me she liked "Boone's Farm".(my wife has an IQ of 180 but her education is at best "earthy")

Anyway, I'd rather the angry sock monkey win another term than "der mittens". Can't stand RINO's. If I wanted big gummit, I'd vote for the D.

RINO's are the poorly committed cheer squad. Much like OWS. "Whatta' we want?" "Something"
"Whenna' we want it?" "Sometime"

RINO's are Schrodingers Cat writ large on the political landscape. Quit fooling yourself, the f^&*ing cat is dead. "It is no more!" to quote the dead parrot sketch.

David R. Graham said...

I was going to submit We'll Meet Again/Dr. Strangelove but Bender already did.

Kubrick was "a brilliant pervert" (Dr. Fritz Fassbender, What's New Pussycat?, describing his father). Calling Nicole Kidman.

"Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!"

SukieTawdry said...

Indigo Red said...X-Files episode "Home" with Johnny Mathis singing "Wonderful, Wonderful".

You know, I used to make out to Wonderful, Wonderful at parties when I was a teenager and always loved the song because it was so wonderfully nostalgic. And then I saw Home. Now all it does is conger up the Peacock family. (It also signals the point point at which I fast forward through the mayhem at Sheriff Taylor's house. There are some movie/tv scenes I just won't watch and that's one of 'em. Do you remember the first time you saw that episode? Was your jaw hanging open at the end like mine?)

SukieTawdry said...

Knox said...Most horrifying 60 minutes of network TV ever. (Besides the morning news shows, ha ha.) After the opening sequence, I remember thinking, "Not sure I can keep watching this!"

After its original telecast, the censors wouldn't allow it to air again for years. I made all the way through, but like I said above, there's one scene I just won't watch again.

Loren Ibsen said...

Kelly's Heroes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-RP8-UGvx4

John M Auston said...

"Unforgettable", as the Comedian is murdered in Watchmen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGXR10xzC3I

Don said...

I'd been happily whistling along with Foster the People's Pumped Up Kicks on the radio for weeks until my teenage daughter said "You know, Dad, that is about a school shooter?"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDTZ7iX4vTQ

knox said...

After its original telecast, the censors wouldn't allow it to air again for years.

I'm not surprised. When it was over, we looked at each other like, "Did we really just see that??"