Tuesday, February 25, 2014

(Spoilers) Best Movie Ending Music

***SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers may be found in the post below about VARIOUS ITEMS. And I'm going to add in a bit of filler text here to limit how much of the main article gets shown in a preview. That should take care of most of it. Hopefully. And away we go. SPOILER WARNING. ***

Goodbyes are difficult and usually awkward. I'm talking about real-life, of course. In the movie world, it seems that they aren't that much better, easier, or cool. A poor ending can ruin movies. I can think of more than a few movies I can't stand to watch again because the endings ruined them for me. 

The same can't be said of the music that carries a movie out into the credits. While this music can enhance an ending, I've yet to experience a movie that's been "killed" by a song playing before everything fades to black. Occasionally, the best ending songs have me putting the last few minutes of movies on repeat for entire nights -- even better when alcohol is involved. Here's a list of my favorites. They're kind of ranked, but I'd probably mix the numbers up depending on the day and mood I'm in.

1. Heat - "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters" by Moby
It's a Moby song without vocals that fades in, then slowly building up to a climax. The song finally peaks after a character's death, the camera pans out, and the screen fades to black. Beautifully done sequence that has me stick around for the credits every time. I actually bought a version of "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters" off of iTunes years ago, but I got the wrong version or something. It's just not as good because the one I have keeps building up and building up but never peaks. Moby also has an awesome song in the Bourne movies.

2. Magnolia - "Save Me" by Aimee Mann
One of my favorite movies and one of my favorite artists. I believe I read somewhere that this movie was inspired by a song of Aimee's and she's featured pretty prominently in the movie. Everyone sings "Wise Up" at the climax-ish of the marathon of a movie. And an incredible line from "Deathly", "now that I've met you, would you object to never seeing each other again", is spoken by a character. Aimee also gets a song during the intro sequence and at least another near the beginning. The ending sequence is particularly beautiful. "Save Me" starts playing as John C. Reilly finishes his monologue and starts driving off to see Melinda Dillon. The song is actually played in the foreground over Reilly's conversation with Dillon -- I have always found the dialogue hard to hear and have used the captions to get an idea of what's going on. In fact, I think the song drowns out the entire conversation and may be meant to. The music progresses slowly, cuts out with a guitar, then returns, and peaks right when we see Dillon's character smile for the first time in the movie before fading to black. To be honest, I usually start replaying during the monologue by Ricky Jay -- love the "archival footage" and the instrumental that starts during that sequence.

3. Lost in Translation - "Just Like Honey" by The Jesus and Mary Chain
I've spent many late Saturday nights rewatching this one for hours on repeat.  Honestly, if the movie didn't have this beautiful farewell-sequence, I probably wouldn't be able to watch it again. It starts playing just after Scarlet Johansson and Bill Murray enjoy a "proper" goodbye. Drums lead the song in as he walks away backwards from her with a huge smile on his face. The rest of the band comes in and the song plays as we get an overhead shot of Murray's car (taxi or limo) driving through the streets (freeways, more specifically) of Tokyo. It continues on into the credits before ending somewhere in the middle. The goodbye the two share at the hotel is just atrocious -- unfortunately, I've given a goodbye that crappy to someone awesome before.

4. Napoleon Dynamite - "The Promise" by When In Rome
More '80s music. I'm in the camp that loves Napoleon Dynamite and this song is a cute send off. However, this ending comes with a bit of an asterisk because the "real" ending is the wedding --  it plays after or in the middle of the credits, I forget. Sometimes it doesn't get played when the movie's shown on television since credits get fast-forwarded or cut off often. "The Promise" fades in as Napoleon and Deb essentially make up after Pedro wins the election. They're outside at school playing that game with a ball tied to a pole (tetherball?). The music plays in the foreground until the game ends and they hug, and the credits start rolling as the song keeps going. Very cute ending, but I consider the wedding portion essential to the movie and feel incomplete when it's not shown.

5. Kelly's Heroes - "Burning Bridges" By Mike Curb Congregation
Not sure if this is more of a guilty pleasure than a real favorite. I do love the song, but this movie is "ancient". If you're not familiar with it, the movie is essentially a western with Clint Eastwood set in World War II. The song plays after the Americans steal a ton of gold and ride off, literally, into the sunset. This is also one of those older movies with the screen footage plus actor name credits sequence like in Commando and Platoon. They still kind of use this style of credits, but I think it's more of an homage to the old days. Speaking of, I haven't seen this movie in a long time. Quite a marathon.

Pretty short list, but all are worth checking out -- the songs themselves or the movies they perfectly fit into.

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