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How needle drops have created some of the most iconic movie moments : NPR

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NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe talks with Rico Gagliano, host of the MUBI Podcast, which simply wrapped a collection about nice needle drops in cinema historical past.



AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

Lots of films and reveals go from good to nice once you drop in a single essential ingredient.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BORN TO BE WILD”)

STEPPENWOLF: (Singing) Get your motor working.

RASCOE: The needle drop – like “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf within the film “Simple Rider” or “Idiot Of Me” on the finish of “Love & Basketball.”

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “FOOL OF ME”)

ME’SHELL NDEGEOCELLO: (Singing) You made a idiot of me. Inform me why.

RASCOE: What makes these songs and so many others so efficient? Rico Gagliano joins us now. He is the host of the “MUBI Podcast,” which simply wrapped up a collection on well-known needle drops in movies. Welcome to the present.

RICO GAGLIANO: So beautiful to be right here. Thanks for having me.

RASCOE: What makes for a very good needle drop?

GAGLIANO: So many issues. I really feel just like the factor that I’ve realized in doing this collection is that there’s something ineffable about it. I’ve requested a number of administrators within the collection why they put sure songs into their movies at a sure second, and quite a lot of them could not inform me, I imply, past the plain, which is that they love the tune. It evokes one thing throughout the scene.

However I’d additionally say, effectively, there’s two issues. The very best needle drops work in certainly one of two methods. One is once you’ve bought a film the place not a lot is being straight stated, the place you’ve got bought characters that do not discuss so much or characters which have buried so much, and the needle drop is doing the talking for them. And an amazing instance of that might be the film “Aftersun” – got here out final yr. It bought a greatest actor nomination. And that film ends by utilizing Queen and David Bowie’s “Beneath Stress.”

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “UNDER PRESSURE”)

FREDDIE MERCURY AND DAVID BOWIE: (Singing) Stress pushing down on me, urgent down on you, no man ask for.

GAGLIANO: The director, Charlotte Wells, informed me that second comes as shut as she will get within the film to telling you what is really occurring emotionally for these characters. After which I feel the opposite is once you’re utilizing a tune that appears to don’t have anything to do with the scene that you simply’re watching, and it provides a layer of complexity.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “ATLANTIS”)

DONOVAN: Atlantis despatched out ships to all corners of the Earth. On board had been the 12.

GAGLIANO: And Scorsese did this on a regular basis, particularly with, like, his combat scenes or sequences of violence the place immediately, he’ll put over high of it what looks like an innocuous or out-of-left-field pop tune. And I am considering, off the highest of my head, there is a horrifying scene in “Goodfellas” the place a mobster will get an actual beatdown from another mobsters, and within the background is Donovan’s “Atlantis.”

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “ATLANTIS”)

DONOVAN: (Singing) Method down beneath the ocean the place I wanna be…

GAGLIANO: It simply offers it that further layer of complexity. I feel these are two ways in which the perfect needle drops work – for me, anyway.

RASCOE: Is there a tune that you simply love the place a film modified the way in which you hear it?

GAGLIANO: So I am a toddler of the ’80s and ’90s and I grew up with Tears for Fears.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “HEAD OVER HEELS”)

TEARS FOR FEARS: (Singing) One thing occurs, and I am head over heels. I by no means discover out…

GAGLIANO: And I’ve identified their tune “Head Over Heels” my complete life. However once I noticed it within the film “Donnie Darko,” there is a montage scene the place the digicam floats each in gradual movement and in sort of quick movement by a Nineteen Eighties-era highschool.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “HEAD OVER HEELS”)

TEARS FOR FEARS: (Singing) Throw it away. Throw it away.

GAGLIANO: It is one thing in regards to the nostalgia of it that simply made me understand how beautiful that tune is and the way sort of elegiac it’s.

RASCOE: I additionally suppose which you could have music that elevates a film that perhaps isn’t an amazing film, however the soundtrack is out of this world. I consider “Stomach,” that intro with “Again To Life,” the – sort of the a cappella model…

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BACK TO LIFE”)

SOUL II SOUL: (Vocalizing).

RASCOE: …Is superb, proper?

GAGLIANO: That is an insane scene with the black mild.

RASCOE: With the black mild and the way in which that comes – (singing) regular. Are you prepared?

It is loopy, proper? Like…

GAGLIANO: It is actually good.

RASCOE: However is the film nice? You already know, look.

GAGLIANO: That film is, like, sort of – stylistically, that film is unimaginable. It is…

RASCOE: It is unimaginable.

GAGLIANO: Nevertheless it’s nearly so visually insane that you simply’re not fairly certain what is going on on generally.

RASCOE: Yeah. The plot’s a bit of bit (vocalizing). However that is an instance of a needle drop that is punching above its weight. Do you could have any others of your thoughts?

GAGLIANO: Oh, man, individuals are going to kill me for this. Millennials particularly, are going to kill me for this – however “Empire Data,” which has this superb ’90s soundtrack.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “TIL I HEAR IT FROM YOU”)

GIN BLOSSOMS: (Singing) I did not ask. They should not have informed me. At first, I laughed, however now…

GAGLIANO: However the film – I really feel like there have been quite a lot of films within the ’90s that had been made since you may get a soundtrack…

RASCOE: Yeah.

GAGLIANO: …With, like, a bunch of hits on it. And I do not know if that is actually what was behind that movie. However I do suppose that that soundtrack is perhaps a tad higher than the movie.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “TIL I HEAR IT FROM YOU”)

GIN BLOSSOMS: (Singing) From you, hear it from you…

RASCOE: That is Rico Gagliano, host of the “MUBI Podcast” – that is M-U-B-I – and their latest collection, “Needle On The File.” Thanks a lot for being with us.

GAGLIANO: Thanks.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “TIL I HEAR IT FROM YOU”)

GIN BLOSSOMS: (Singing) I do not wish to take recommendation from fools. I will simply determine every part is cool till I hear it from you, hear it from you.

Copyright © 2023 NPR. All rights reserved. Go to our web site phrases of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for additional data.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content is probably not in its remaining kind and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability might range. The authoritative document of NPR’s programming is the audio document.

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