Derek Hill is the author of the new book Charlie Kaufman and Hollywood’s Merry Band of Pranksters, Fabulists and Dreamers, now available in the U.K. (Amazon | Waterstone’s | Blackwell ) and the U.S. ( Amazon ). He has agreed to write several pieces for the Academy.
Wes Anderson’s skillful use of music in his films has no doubt come up on this site before, so I’ll refrain from proselytizing. Along with Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, PT Anderson, and Sofia Coppola, Anderson—working with his longtime musical composer Mark Mothersbaugh (at least up until The Darjeeling Limited) and any of his respective editors—is one of the best practitioners at integrating pop/rock songs into a scene in a way that is memorable and emotionally satisfying. It’s easier said than done, of course. Utilizing songs in lieu of an original score (or in tandem) can be precarious. It can bring out the most wasteful and unimaginative characteristics in a clumsy filmmaker. I’m sure we all have our own list of nefarious culprits who exemplify the worst that the medium can offer up, those lazy directors/composers who send us into catatonia as they slather on yet another saccharine note or bludgeon us into the next theater with their bullying bombastic chords. I’m talking about… well, you know who they are. We all bear the sonic scars.