Movie trailer of the Coen Borther's movie, "O Brother Where Art Thou," set to the Soggy Bottom Boys singing "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" that is heard twice in the movie. The 2000 movie was loosely based on Homer's Odyssey but set in Mississippi during the great depression.
According to IMDB trivia, George Clooney practised his singing for weeks, but for the movie his singing voice was dubbed by country blues singer Dan Tyminski. He did his job at the microphone though and turned in a hilarious performance!
Story-telling at its best, the movie was just about eclipsed by the soundtrack composed of American folk music of the time, featuring bluegrass, gospel, blues and country music [link].
“The film's soundtrack became an unlikely blockbuster, even surpassing the success of the film. By early 2001, it had sold five million copies, spawned a documentary film, three follow-up albums ("O Sister" and "O Sister 2"), two concert tours, and won Country Music Awards for Album of the Year and Single of the Year (for "Man of Constant Sorrow"). It also won five Grammys, including Album of the Year, and hit #1 on the Billboard album charts the week of March 15, 2002, 63 weeks after its release and over a year after the release of the film."”
Update – the video has been nominated for People’s Choice Awards – hop over to YouTube to watch!
Moosebutter’s Star Wars a capella (1999)
This a capella music piece is exhilarating for all hard-core fans of Star Wars and John Williams’ music. If you love both as most do, then you’ll experience a myriad of emotions just listening to the sound—especially if you were of the generation that queued for tickets in May 1977 to see the original (I did at the now defunct Odeon theatre). My imagination was captured long before opening day as a local radio station had been playing excerpts of the audio track daily and I had stitched those together on a casette tape to listen repeatedly to the dialogue, music and sound effects. By the time I go to the big screen, I knew the introductory parts by heart and sat back to enjoy the filling in of the images – and boy oh boy, were they out of this world, or what?
So that background allowed me to identify the scenes and characters associated with various phrases harmoniously hollered out by a really fun bunch of musicians.
Moosebutter is an a cappella group who pen crazy lyrics to popular music to produce what they call “therapeutic lunacy”. These talented musicians produce great sounds even over YouTube and of this piece, they say,
“Star Wars” is “based on music by John Williams, words from the original Star Wars trilogy by George Lucas. Arranged by J.S. Slagowski and Bryant W. Smith, adapted by Tim Y. Jones. This performance premiered on 19th May 1999 – the very night that Episode 1: The Phantom Menace opened in the United States.”
Thus the song ends with the exhortation to “go go go to the movies”!
Star Wars Episode I: Phantom Menace (1999)
In 1999, I was at the midnight premier of Phantom Menace at GV Marina. It was not exactly a mainstream location then but even there, the atmosphere of anticipation was electric. I was surrounded by very passionate fans who had waited 16 years for Star Wars Episode I—so much so they broke out in cheers when the trumpet sounded and first bright words scrolled forward and away…
Just as enthusiastically, they shushed themselves in jovial camaraderie and the atmosphere remained intense throughout the movie. As a result, the emotional intensity of each dramatic scene was heightened considerably! Irritation over Jar Jar Binks never surfaced as it was elbowed aside by the intense feelings of that night. Truly a unique experience!
Had this YouTube video been screened that night of the Phantom Menace, the audience would certainly have burst out in wild cheering!
But no one had heard of Moosebutter then…
Corey Vidal’s a capella lip synch video (2008)
Close to a decade after the Moosebutter premier on 27th October 2008, Canadian YouTube Partner Corey Vidal posted a lip sync of all four parts of the a capella stitched together into a single frame. This was done with Moosebutter’s support and help (read Vidal’s YouTube sidebar) and Moosebutter says, “More people saw it on the internet than probably ever saw any of our other videos…”
Double-click to hop over to YouTube and watch/listen to the high quality version.
The clip is the reason for this effusive and reminiscent post and is on its way to becoming a YouTube phenomenon with more than 2.5 million hits already. Everyone I have enthusiastically showed it to have enjoyed it with glee.
I just paypal-ed for Moosebutter’s two CDS, at only US$10 each. So perhaps they might get some boost from the old faithful, we’ll see.
Fans will have some fun reminiscing the scenes from which the statements originate. E.g. “let the Wookie win” is from Han Solo advising C3PO not to argue with Chewbacca over him cheating on the holographic chess game as they make their way to Alderaan. I think fans will be seeing the images in their mind.
Another amusing bit is the irreverent treatment of Star Wars’ colourless (upon reflection many years later) protagonist, Luke Skywalker. As we rewatched the epic, many of us grew weary at his moaning and whining and Moosebutter takes him to task rather mercilessly. Vidal doesn’t miss a beat with his facial expressions! It’s truly priceless—you just have to make sure you watch the right head!
If you aren’t a hard core Star Wars or John Williams fan, the “Star Wars” John Williams tribute is fun to watch and lovely to listen to in its own right. Vidal’s four faces and the timing is fascinating. I know my students are struggling with exams right now and I’m buried in marking, but take a break and watch this—just telling a friend about this over the phone just now raised her spirits!
[Close Encounters of the Droid Kind]
You must use the force (repeat ad nauseum)
[Raiders of the Lost Wookiee] Long time ago, far far away (repeat)
Kiss a wookie, kick a droid
Fly the falcon through an asteroid
Till the princess is annoyed
This is spaceships, it’s monsters, it’s Star Wars, we love it!
Come and help me, Obi Wan
X-wing fighter and a blaster gun
Dance with Ewoks, oh what fun!
This is spaceships, it’s monsters, it’s Star Wars, we love it!
[Super Han] Get in there you big, furry oaf
I couldn’t care less what you smell
I take orders from only me
Maybe you’d like it back in your cell
Your Highness, your worshipfulness, your highness, your worshipfulness
No one cares if you upset a droid
(nobody cares if you upset a droid)
That’s because droids don’t tear your arms out of socket.
I suggest a new strategy: let the Wookie win
That’s because nobody cares if you upset a droid.
[ET the DiscoTerrestrial] Now we listen to Luke whining:
One more season… One more season… One more season… One more season…
I was gonna go to Tashi Station for power converters
Now I guess I’m going nowhere.
It just isn’t fair.
[Jaws: the Wookiee] Wooookie (repeat)
Someone move this walking carpet (repeat)
Kiss your brother, Kiss your brother (repeat)
Well I guess you don’t know anything about women.
Who’s your daddy? (repeat)
[Jurassic Darth] Luke, I’m your father
(That’s not true!)
It is useless to resist
Come with me my son, We will rule
(I’ll never join you!)
Search your feelings it is true
So you have a twin sister
Who Obi Wan was wise to hide
(Is that Leia?)
If you will not turn
Then perhaps she will
Give in to your hate
You are mine
Long Long Long Time ago… Far Far Far Far Away
Long Long Long Time Ago, Far Far Far Away (repeat)
Kiss a wookie
Kick a droid
Fly the falcon
Through an asteroid
Till the princess is annoyed
This is spaceships, it’s monsters, it’s Star Wars, we love it, it’s true
Coming to you
So Let’s go
(go go go to the movies)
Stand in line
(buy buy buy me some popcorn)
Cause it’s al-
(please I’d like extra butter)
most the time
(Join the dark side…)
May the Force be with you all
“They came from Passabe. They came from Imbate. They came from Oesilo. They came from Oecussi. They came firing their guns. How could we fight them? With stones?”
“The Remote Village of Passabe lies on the precarious border between East and West Timor. It is a battle-scarred community with a horrific past. In the run up to the vote for independence in 1999, Passabe was a base for hundreds of pro-Indonesian militiamen who participated in a rampage of violence that climaxed in a bloody massacre.
Five years on, one man publicly owns up to his role in the massacre, an explosive move that exposes him to persecution on both sides. Shot over a year, this film documents a quest for forgiveness and redemption, and hopefully, reconciliation.”
Aki Ra’s Boys (2007) Directors: James Leong, Lynn Lee
“Boreak was six when he lost his right arm in a landmine accident. Family members rushed the young Cambodian to a nearby hospital where so-called “doctors” performed a crude amputation. Burdened with eight other children to feed and unable to cope with the stress of handling a crippled son, Boreak’s parents decided to send him to a home in Siem Reap for young landmine victims.
Aki Ra’s Boys offers a unique insight into the effect that a devastating weapon – the land mine – has on its victims and survivors, both during battle and in the long years that follow.”
The movie is peppered with amazing natural scenes shot in several countries (see special effects (etc) supervisor Adam Howarth’s photos on Flickr and this fan’s details of the various locations) over four years, piggy backing on the director’s (Tarsem Singh) commercial jobs. Lots of borrowed mythology influence this very touching story inspired by a Bulgarian film from the 80’s and underscored by the heart-wrenching music of Beethoven (Symphony No. 7 in A Major Op 92. Allegretto). Gave me a vibe like Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil” did and then there is the cutest possible child actor – who doesn’t even speak English. She rocks the house and might just make you cry. I rated it a “9” on IMDB.