Friday, February 17, 2017

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The Bicentennial Song

It is incredible that the category of Best Original Song has lasted as long as it has. It is possibly the most expendable category at the Oscars. I know people who think the ceremony runs too long always suggest moving the Short Categories to the Governors Awards, but at least those serve as calling-cards for obscurer filmmakers.

But Original Song? It is not like it was in the 1930s, when musicals were as common as romantic-comedies and a song was as much a part of the studio package as a leading lady and a happy ending. When was the last time the winner even played on the radio? Outside of a dance remix? You know Justin Timberlake isn't going home with the Oscar this year!

Still, it makes for an entertaining category, a fun diversion during the ceremony, and a chance for Neil Diamond to accidentally call Ayn Rand a nominated songwriter:

(It's kind of bad form for Diamond to openly root for Barbra, but very gracious of her to cede the mic to Paul Williams)

So, consider this a musical break - the nominees, with video, after the jump.

Mom had no comments, but she did rank.

"A World That Never Was" from Half a House
music by Sammy Fain
lyrics by Paul Francis Webster

I abstain, as I've not seen the movie. It's just not available!

"Ave Satani" from The Omen
music and lyrics by Jerry Goldsmith

It almost seems unfair to separate this from Score, as "Ave Satani" is the score, playing each time some death or disaster occurs. But it works. It's creepy, unholy, the perfect Latin prayer for the devil!

"Come to Me" from The Pink Panther Strikes Again
music by Henry Mancini
lyrics by Don Black

As phoned-in as the rest of the movie, and used as a backdrop to one of its worst scenes.

"Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky
music by Bill Conti
lyrics by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins

It's the training montage of cinema, set to a rousing, instantly iconic anthem. By the time the song climaxes and he's running up the steps, you're leaping out of your seat, getting pumped, cheering Rocky on - and if you're not, I don't understand you.

"Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star is Born)" from A Star is Born
music by Barbra Streisand
lyrics by Paul Williams

Not my favorite song from the movie. Barbra gets to sing it in a single take at the height of her romance with Kristofferson, when they're really creating something special - personally and professionally. So what's the issue? Those dumb lyrics (love soft as an easy chair?).


My rankings:
4. "Come to Me"
3. "Evergreen"
2. Gonna Fly Now"
1. "Ave Satani"

Mom's rankings
1. "Gonna Fly Now"

By some sort of trickery on her part, Mom bumped out all the competition but her favorite. Which means the official Silver Screening Room vote goes to...


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