Friday, November 16, 2007

All Coming Together

Tonight I hung out with my married friends (Joe's wife, Melissa's husband, Emily's man, and Joey's old bag), and we all watched Oceans 13. Or is it Thirteen? Ocean's? Hang on, quick check: It's Ocean's Thirteen.

I really quite like this poster.

Anyway, this story really starts last night after Dave and I watched The Office, and then because nothing was on we resorted to re-viewing one of our taped infomercials featuring agéd soft rockers (I repeat: I am so glad we taped that). Well, then Dave ran off to Massachusetts and I was left alone with some books, so I did what anyone would have done—I turned the TV back on. The guide (the Guide?) said that Ocean's Eleven1 had thirty more minutes in it so I flipped to TNT or TBS or T-whatever in the hopes that I would catch my favorite scene. You know what scene this is; it's right near the end when they've pulled the job and they watch the dancing fountain and contemplate what a great job they did as the sweet strains of Debussy's "Clair de Lune" plays (an orchestral arrangement—it was written for piano). Since this is my favorite of all possible songs, this is my favorite scene from the movie. And I caught it just in time.

Okay, flash-forward. No wait, flash back even farther (further?). When I was in high school my brother and I ran a pretty successful racket getting lots of cheap CDs from those BMG and Columbia House mail-order things.2 Once we had satiated our desire for pop and rock standards we turned to other genres, and one of the albums I picked up for next to nothing was called Extraterrestrial Classics, reportedly featuring classical music from popular sci-fi films. Purchasing unknown CDs because they have an intriguing name isn't always considered good business, but I was willing to take a chance on a possibly kitschy compilation. It turned out to have some decent stuff—a couple of Star Wars tracks, Captain Picard's favorite Mozart tunes, that sweet theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and a beautiful rendition of Erik Satie's Gymnopédie no. 1 (an orchestral arrangement—it was originally written for piano, but Debussy of all people arranged it for orchestra to help out his struggling friend). The Satie piece was nearly enough to validate me, but the jewel of the CD, the one song that made the purchase completely valid beyond question, was a version of Debussy's "Clair de Lune" performed on synthesizer by Isao Tomita, from the film The Right Stuff. It was awesome. I mean, the song itself was incredible, and the use of strange sounds and effects (particularly the tremolo) was just magic.

Okay, now flash-forward. So we're watching Ocean's Thirteen, and right in the middle of the movie we hear a familiar sound—it's "Clair de Lune," making a reprise (re-prize or repreeze?) from the first film (second film, technically?). But it isn't the same version used in the first film; it's the Isao Tomita version that first made me love the song, the one from the odd and obscure compilation CD I pretty much pilfered from BMG.3 Seeing that this is a movie whose sole purpose is to keep the audience out of the loop, I felt pretty dang good being in the know on this one.

Plus: "Clair de Lune" was used in Wes Anderson's recent film The Darjeeling Limited, and it was the only thing I knew in a film full of artifacts, songs, and places no one could possibly know. Gymnopédie no. 1 was used in his film The Royal Tenenbaums. Isao Tomita composed the score for the film The Twilight Samurai, which both Joey and I unsuccessfully tried to get our classes to watch for our final-day pizza party and movie classes. Joey's class opted for Apollo 13 (Thirteen?), and mine unanimously chose Gladiator (Hans Zimmer composed the music for Gladiator and also for The Last Samurai, which, unfortunately, is not the same thing as The Twilight Samurai).

And for those in the know, Eddie Izzard was in Ocean's Thirteen; Julia Roberts was not.

So what's the bottom line? Uh, something about the endless interconnectivity of information and human experience, etc. etc. Oh, and you should give a listen to:

     "Clair de Lune," arranged and performed by Isao Tomita
     "Clair de Lune," the orchestral arrangement from Ocean's Eleven
     "Clair de Lune," the original piano arrangement
     Gymnopédie no. 1 (ignore the number—it's the right one)
     "From My First Moment," an adaptation of Satie by Charlotte Church

1Quick check: yes, it's Ocean's Eleven. The original, however—the one starring Sinatra, Martin, Davis Jr., and Lawford—is Ocean's 11. And although they were Matchbox 20 for their first album, since then they have been Matchbox Twenty. And though my computer swears otherwise, it's "Counting Crows", not "The Counting Crows."
2No we didn't make up fake relatives. We just referred each other to each in turn and cleaned up.
3Or were they still pilfering from me? Who wins in those scams? It's like going to Mexico and bargaining some dude down from $10 for a butterfly knife to $5 for the knife and a couple packs of Chicklets—Chiclets?—los Chiclatos. You think you cheated him and got the deal cuz, hey, you got an illegal knife for five bucks, and he thinks he cheated you cause the knife only cost him two. Looks like everyone wins (except the Mexican economy).


Kirby said...

That was a pretty good movie, but I enjoyed the other two considerably more. Something about the newest one was lacking in "Ha HAH!" moments.

Kirby said...

Also, check this out. I googled "citing wikipedia," and guess what I found?

Who'da thunk it?

drew said...

I always mix up Claire de Lune and Moonlight Sonata. Is that weird? Doesn't 'lune' mean 'moon' in some language? Which one was the one we heard at that killer concert in the chapel at Trafalgar Square and which was the one in that crazy movie 'The Scent of Green Papaya'?

drew said...

also, though 'chiclatos' is a great guess, they're called 'chilcles'. paz fuera!