Saturday, December 22, 2007

When Your Mind's Made Up

The movie Once: if it’s not a Christmas movie, then it’s a Christmas gift.

Everything is so exquisitely tiny about this movie: its length, its budget, its intentions. Director John Carney said he wanted to make a small budget film, and he liked the fact that the entire concept of the film could fit on something the size of postage stamp—but, O, what a postage stamp it is. (As a kid, I passed a brief period as a stamp collector, well, stamp hobbyist: two kinds of stamps stood out in those daze: the gorgeous stamps of San Marino, and the isosceles triangular stamps of the Magyar Republic.)

Postage stamp, if you will, or maybe a small rough garnet, polished up a bit, because small though its budget and intentions may be, Once is a beautiful polished little gem, showing “Dooblin” off at its finest and lovely bits of the sea. Garnet, because many of the night scenes are drenched in a lovely red wash.

About a week ago, I first heard a NPR-snippet about the film’s coming out on video, describing it as a contemporary musical: the “organicity” of the film is what struck: rather than Julie Andrews and company pausing ominously in preparation for the next big production (and then we’ll just go on about our street business as if half a million dollars of production expense never just got spent…), in Once, the music is placed in such a way that it unfolds naturally. (In truth, “musical” is not what Once is; it’s simply a film with lots of music.) ANYWAY, after the NPR-snippet, I felt the strongest desire to see the film. Afraid that it might slip my mind, I emailed a note to myself: I needn’t have: seems everywhere I turned over of the past few days, I ran into mention of it.

Probably the first movie ever to have “earned” its R rating for language alone. There is nothing the least bit R-ish about the film, and easily 80% or more of the “focks” are in the film’s opening scene. I watched the film with my 9 year old son, who thoroughly enjoyed its magic, after one brief bit of commentary from him about “that word.”

And O, what a sweet bit of resolution.

Of course, it does not hurt that this is an Irish film, since the Irish make the best films, bar none: look no further than Hear My Song, Into the West, The Secret of Roan Inish, Waking Ned Devine, In the Name of the Father, and Local Hero for proof. Yes, I know Local Hero is set in Scotland, but it is Irish through and through. What's it but a bit of pond water tween the two, anyway?

Passing note: I was emailin’ me sister earlier this week about funeral music, how our friend Steph long ago pegged Van Morrison’s “And the Healing Has Begun” (from the Into the Music album) as his funeral march. Van’s song, sung by Glen Hansard, opens the film.

Here are the first chunk of ideas for music at me wake. No particular order, and just off the top of me head:

1. Van’s “Sweet Thing.”
2. Joni’s “River” and “Court and Spark” and “Barandgrill.”
3. Small Faces’ “Itchygoo Park.”
4. Some Erik Satie (got to get me some Erik Satie).
5. Sting’s “A Sailing Ship.”
6. Lush Richard Rodney Bennett soundtrack music; though not RRB, the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack fits this category.
7. Cream’s “Badge.”
8. Neville Brothers: “Fiyo on the Bayou.”
9. Sun Ra and the Arkestra’s version of “Elephants on Parade.”
10. Van singing JB’s “It’s a Man’s World,” and plenty Al Green and Teddy Pendergrass.
11. Cassandra Wilson singing Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.”
12. Stevie's "I Believe When I Fall in Love This Time It Will Be Forever."

Plenty more where those came from.

And we'll walk down the avenue again
And we'll sing all the songs from way back when
And we'll walk down the avenue again and the healing has begun

And we'll walk down the avenue in style
And we'll walk down the avenue and well smile
And we'll say baby aint it all worthwhile when the healing has begun

I want you to put on your pretty summer dress
You can wear your easter bonnet and all the rest
And I wanna make love to you yes, yes, yes when the healing has begun

Go see Once

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Blogger Lee said...

Merry Christmas, Paschal! That's a cool shot from the movie. I haven't seen it but I think I will. Probably get it from Netflix. I went looking for details and found the official webpage. There you can download a free song from the movie. Have you been there?


12:40 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Extra thoughts...Paschal, you love music so much and keep talking about it on your blog. Have you thought of getting one of those music players for your blog? I keep seeing them everywhere now. Shouldn't be hard.


12:42 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Once is definitely a Yule-tide, any-tide treat. I hope you enjoy it, Lee. Merry Christmas.

2:29 PM  
Blogger jsd said...

Eewww, like lee I'm next stop netflix...and maybe song download.

Merry Christmas!

2:41 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Not sure how long your Netflix queues will be: had a load of them at our Hollywood Vid. Have a wonderful Christmas.

5:20 PM  
Blogger San said...

Another one to add to the Netflix queue, Paschal. You could be a movie critic as well as art critic. If the urchins ever drive you up and over the walls.

Waking of Ned Devine--loved it!

Looks like a lively wake is in store--in the far, far, far, far, far, far future.

Come over and feast your eyes on our family's best friend.


8:30 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...


Got to see Hear My Song, if you haven't already, for its own Irish magic.

I saw that lovely rein-dog earlier and got all jealous of the snow.

Blessings to all of you conver-ladies and conver-gents. Peace.

10:53 PM  

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