Music in Media / Teenage Fanclub in “Young Adult”

By Amanda DK

It’s not a secret that Jason Reitman loves music. His first major breakout film success also yielded a hit soundtrack that reached number #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. He is a big supporter of Los Angeles public radio station, KRCW. Not to take away from any of the amazing music supervisors who have worked on his films – Margaret Yen and Peter Afterman for Juno and Thank You For Smoking, Randall Poster for Up in the Air, and now Linda Cohen for Young Adult – but the fact that all of his films have the same musical personality is a testament to his influence on each soundtrack. Conversely however, composer Rolfe Kent has been with him for all of the above referenced films except for Juno. In all of them, the musical choices feel deliberate, even at first viewing. Songs are not jammed in where they shouldn’t be; the score enhances certain moments, but allows others to bask in the (calculated) awkward or tender silence. As a result, each song or score cue feels that much more important to the story being told.

That said, I knew to have a pen and paper on the ready as I watched Young Adult. I was both surprised and unphased by the fact that there was no musical support for the first five minutes or more of the film. It was only after Mavis decides to go back to her small, Minnesota, hometown and begins packing her bags, when a few mischeivously quirky score cues snuck in.

Music in Media / Great Songs Written for Children’s Movies

By Amanda DK

Photo Credit: Dreamworks

It’s been said, but I’ll say it again: the hardest songs to place in a film are for the main titles and end titles.  Respectively they need to set up and sum up the film, but in a way that isn’t too “on the nose.”  The end title song especially is where artists and writers are often brought in to create something original; it’s usually the only time viewers will get to hear a song in it’s entirety. While an excellent opportunity for exposure, writing an original piece specifically for a project can’t be an easy task – especially for a movie geared to kids.

Music + Film / The Kinks "Schoolboys in Disgrace" as a Movie Musical

Seems like it’s pretty often these days to see albums turned into stage musicals, and/or stage musicals turned into musical movies.  It’s less often the pattern jumps from album to musical movie, but it someone had to do it.  And that someone is this guy:

And by that I mean Bobcat Goldthwaite, set to write and direct Schoolboys in Disgrace based on The Kinks 1976 LP of the same name – an album without any hit singles that peaked at No. 45 on the Billboard 200 when it was released.  No classic song for us to spend the entire movie waiting to hear?  BLASPHEMY.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Goldthwaite is quoted:

Schoolboys in Disgrace is a story that any kid who has felt that they are not being treated fairly can relate to, all set to some of the greatest rock songs you’ll ever hear…It’s the genesis story of a supervillain set to music. It’s the story of the world’s most charming criminal and a realistic high school musical for all the kids who hate sugary, sweet, unrealistic high school musicals.”

…which was apparently pretty much how he won over Ray Davies – Kinks frontman and writer of all the songs on the album – as well as an executive producer of the movie.  From Goldthwaite’s Guest DJ Set on KCRW last October before the project was confirmed:

“Ray was asking, “Well, who would you make this movie for, if you made a musical of Schoolboys in Disgrace? And I said, “I would make this movie for all the kids who f**king hate High School Musical.” And then I actually saw him smile a little bit.”

Now as much as I not-so-secretly love High School Musical, that’s an attitude  I can get behind.  Honestly though, my first question when I heard about this was, “The Kinks know about this, right?”  I mean, it makes immediate sense that the ABBA folks would be like, “YAY MUSICAL THEATRE!” but a seminal band out of the 1960’s British Invasion?  I have to admit my knowledge of The Kinks was limited to one album on vinyl and a love for the use of “Village Green Preservation Society” in Hot Fuzz.  So I did some reading.

It turns out storytelling through music is a trademark of their style – Davies created a reputation for concept albums, including Schoolboys in Disgrace (actually fashioned as a prequel to their earlier albums  Preservation Act 1 and Preservation Act 2).  Check out the album’s liner notes:

Once upon a time there was a naughty little schoolboy. He and his gang were always playing tricks on the teachers and bullying other children in the school. One day he got himself into very serious trouble with a naughty schoolgirl and he was sent to the Headmaster who decided to disgrace the naughty boy and his gang in front of the whole school.
After this punishment the boy turned into a hard and bitter character. Perhaps it was not the punishment that changed him but the fact that he realised people in authority would always be there to kick him down and the Establishment would always put him in his place. He knew that he could not change the past but he vowed that in the future he would always get what he wanted. The naughty little boy grew up… into Mr. Flash.  (via

So adding a book to the music doesn’t really seem that far off.  Other than Davies producers include: duo Howard Gertler and Tim Perell (Last Chance Harvey, World’s Greatest Dad – another Goldthwaite directed flick), Sarah de Sa Rego and Andrew D. Tenenbaum.  The project is currently in development.  No release date is set.

Stage to screen adaptations most often fail because filmmakers get too attached to the original production.  Staging is flat, clunky and well – too theatrical for the medium.  Without any middle ground however, I have to say I’m interested to see how the album to screen translation works out.

Now, let’s please hope this dies.

The Kinks “The Hard Way” from Schoolboys in Disgrace
The Kinks – The Hard Way by tadpole of july

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