LINK: The Boyhood Soundtrack

I finally saw the Richard Linklater movie over the weekend, though not in a theater, unfortunately. Which meant that living room distractions crept in, and we stopped a couple of times to eat dinner, and then later to eat dessert.

The movie has a shambling narrative that is anything but slack, but doesn’t turn on the classic arc. This is a movie about a boy becoming an older boy, tweaked by the healthy and impressive gimmick of being shot over the course of the 12 years it takes to get from there to here.

Linklater is a rock ‘n’ roll fan, of course. His second movie is named after a Led Zeppelin song, and his first movie became the name of a music streaming service. And as you might expect, there is music all over the place in Boyhood. For one thing, the boy’s dad is a musician, at least he is at the start, and lots of time is spent in bedrooms and cars, places where music plays.

What struck me after seeing the movie, however, was how little of the music I knew. Some of that is because the opening song was by Coldplay, who i’ve never really listened to much, and some is because I didn’t listen to that much indie rock and rap in the aughts. But the music is an important part of the film anyway, and I wasn’t bothered by it’s general unfamiliarity to me.

blackalbumJack Hamilton has a story in Slate today that, while somewhat pretentious, I think really gets to what’s so excellent about the Boyhood soundtrack. If you get past some of his “oooh-critical!” language, he comes to describe the scene where dad gives boy a copy of the Beatles’ Black Album powerfully and gets it exactly right.

If you haven’t seen the movie and that doesn’t make sense to you, you only have one option. Go see the movie. In a theater, if you can.

3 thoughts on “LINK: The Boyhood Soundtrack

  1. Lots to say here.

    First, I saw “Boyhood” early in the summer. Thought it was good, but certainly not the greatest movie I’ve ever seen or anything. Typically my friends criticize many of my favorite movies as slow, but “Boyhood” was super slow. My date thought it was even slower than I did. My big question was, what about the girl? She grows up throughout the movie too. How come no one talks about her?

    Second, I checked out the soundtrack and, unfortunately, I won’t be buying it. Shockingly, my favorite Linklater soundtrack will always be “Dazed And Confused.” The problem I had with that movie (although I love it – great depiction of high school in the mid-1970s) was the soundtrack was seriously too good. Kids in my high school were not listening to early KISS and ZZ Top and Alice Cooper (like me). The truth was shit like Kansas, Supertramp and Boston ruled the school. “Dazed And Confused” was like a musical high school fantasy.

    Third, my top three personal movies of 2014:

    1) Foxcatcher
    2) Birdman
    3) American Sniper (the political battle about this is ridiculous – taken for what it is – a story about a guy who is at war – the movie is very enjoyable, in the same vein as “Private Ryan” “Hurt Locker” etc.)

    I liked “St. Vincent” with Bill Murray a lot too, which is just coming out on video. I guess it was a little too sappy and lightweight for the awards lists.

  2. I love slow movies. Until the end I didn’t find this that slow, but others did. I blamed us not being in a theater, but maybe it’s just slow. It’s certainly long. I’d watch it again in a minute, even though it is far from a great movie. Very good though, and full of ideas.

    I wondered why the sister got short shrift and can only think that he wanted to focus on the boy things. He touches on the girl’s coming of age, but without all the moonyness. I suspect that’s his idea of his boyhood in the story. Telling the girl’s story would have taken more perspective. Also, that was his daughter playing the daughter, right? She was great.

    I agree about American Sniper, which has tons of flaws but is also sharp and exciting, like the Hurt Locker, and really doesn’t play politics with the story. I’m an enemy of Private Ryan, so that’s a bad example for me, but your point is correct.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the utterly silly Gone Girl, at least until the end, and was surprised by how much I liked The Interview, which took a similarly disdainful look at the media. Didn’t see Foxcatcher or Birdman, at least not yet, but also mostly enjoyed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, though our nostalgic trip to see it at the drive in did it no favors. Least comfortable seats ever!

  3. Yes, “the girl” was Linklater’s daughter.

    Yes, I enjoyed “Gone Girl” and “Planet” too. Actually when I walked out of “Gone Girl” I had visions of it being a highly awarded movie. But it faded kind of fast for me and I guess for the critics too.

    I was completely obsessed with “Foxcatcher” for about a week after seeing it. Really hit my sweet spot of unique and disturbing, plus true story.

    You must be the only enemy of “Private Ryan” in the US of A. Definitely more TOUT fodder.

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