Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekend Listomania (Special Four Hour Erection Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Actually, in this case, it means you guys already know I'm in Paris on vacation at the moment, so there's no point in trying to fool you with another lame joke about me and my Oriental [insert smutty job description here] Fah Lo Suee and I heading off to the palatial estate of some rightwing shithead du jour.

That being the case, let's head directly to the Listomania, which was inspired by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner's use of Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe" to great ironic effect at the conclusion of last week's season finale. I say ironic because somehow I just don't think Don Draper is a Sonny and Cher fan, although that not-to-be-trusted manipulating phony of a secretary he just married just might be.

In any case, and since I'll be too busy eating stinky cheeses and hanging out at dimly lit bistros with black-clad existentialists who look even stupider in berets than I do to post anything around here anytime soon, here's a hopefully fun little project to help us wile the way the hours until Monday:

Previously Existing Post-1953 Pop, Rock or Soul Record That Took On an Either Wonderful or Utterly Heinous New Meaning Thanks To Its Use in a Film, TV Show or Commercial!!!!

And my totally top of my head Top Six is:

6. Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" as heard in Dusty and Sweets McGee

Two sad and mournful junkies shoot up to the strains of Van the Man's ode to spiritual and romantic transcendence in Floyd Mutrux's brilliant semi-documentary. Trust me -- once you've seen the scene, you'll never be able to hear the song without thinking of it.

5. Nick Drake's seraphically beautiful "Pink Moon" as heard in a brilliant Honda commercial

A video that does complete justice to a great record. How many exemplars of the genre can you make the same claim for?

4. Nilsson's "Jump Into the Fire" as heard in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas

Along with snippets of "Memo From Turner," "Magic Bus," et al. I defy anybody to watch this scene without feeling they're wired out of their skull on the most primo Peruvian marching powder.

4. The Weepies' "All That I Want" as heard in a 2008 J.C Penny Christmas ad

I was falling in love when I first encountered this song on the tube, and perhaps as a result I thought it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard. The whole crass commercialism J.C. Penny connection notwithstanding, of course.

3. T. Rex's "20th Century Boy" as heard in a Levi's commercial with Brad Pitt

Marc Bolan's critical reassessment pretty much began when this obscure T-Rex b-side started showing up on the tube. And with good reason -- it's an absolutely killer rock 'n' roll track.

2. The Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice" as heard over the beginning and end credits in Shampoo

The contrast between the achingly naive innocence of this great Pet Sounds track and the top-to-bottom corruption of Richard Nixon's administration (with Los Angeles standing in as a metaphor for the sickness of America's soul in the worst days of the Vietnam Era) couldn't have have been more pointed. Myriad props to star/producer Warren Beatty for having the nerve to use it like that, of course.

And the Numero Uno most despicable use of a great record in some context where it clearly doesn't belong quite self-evidently is....

1. Elvis Presley's Viva Las Vegas in those damned Viagra Ads!! [Dishonorable Mention: Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning" doing similar duty for Cialis.]

A special circle in Hell awaits the Ferengi ad man who came up with the idea to rewrite the great Doc Pomus song to sell boner pills. I actually know the lawyer who licensed the track to the drug company; to her credit, she warned me in advance that the ad was coming. This is the first -- and by far still the worst -- in the series, BTW.

Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- themes: Films that should or shouldn't have generated sequels -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, I'd take it as a huge post-birthday present if you could take a moment to go over there and say something snarky. Thanks.]