Screen Junkies » judgment night http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Fri, 12 Sep 2014 00:11:01 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 Soundtrack Studies: ‘Judgment Night’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/soundtrack-studies-judgment-night/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/soundtrack-studies-judgment-night/#comments Tue, 29 Apr 2014 21:33:18 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=261337 What probably stemmed from a focus group of teenage boys turned into a pretty strong anthology.

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If you’ve spent the past 15 or so years looking for someone to blame for the rap-metal proliferation of the late 90’s, you can find pretty good whipping boys in those behind the Judgment Night soundtrack. In the middle of the Great Grunge Movement of 1993, Judgment Night matched some of the best hip-hop and rock bands of the time with…some that weren’t.

But before we go down that rabbit hole, let’s get the nuts and bolts of the film out of the way. This shouldn’t take long. Judgment Night takes good guys Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Jeremy Piven, and pits them against Denis Leary and the guy from House of Pain. The former group, while in an illicitly borrowed RV, runs afoul of the latter group on the wrong side of the tracks.

Bad stuff happens, and the whole thing is a pretty weak film.

There. That was easy.

Intentionally in keeping with the “worlds colliding” motif that is pretty much all the film stands on, the soundtrack serves as a high concept anthology of hip-hop and rock collaborations. It succeeded on many levels when it was released, and it still, somewhat remarkably, succeeds on most of them 21 years later, when the face of hip-hop and rock are really, really, really different.

Here’s the soundtrack:

I would think that most things that came across as ambitious and inspired 21 years ago (as this soundtrack did) would come across as pretty fucking stupid viewed through today’s lens. Let the fashions of 1993 serve as a case study. Remarkably, this album stands pretty strong. Most of the bands (both rap and rock) are pretty esteemed, and some (lookin’ at you, Boo-Yah Tribe) are piss-poor.

However, much as you can blame whoever crafted this soundtrack (Amanda Scheer-Demme, by the way, nightlife impresario and wife of director Ted Demme) for the onslaught of blindly-raging rap-metal years later, you can also credit her for curating some strong collaborations. None are transcendent, but almost all range from pretty good to very good.

So even though you haven’t heard from Helmet or House of Pain in a while, and you might not even like their music, give the first track a listen. It’s surprisingly tolerable. And anyone who can make bands tolerable to the masses is pretty much a magician. Both bands are talented and had their devotees, but their collaboration serves as a converse to the adage, “People in the middle of the road get hit by traffic going both ways.”

It serves to support, “Soundtracks that take elements of very distinct genres not only don’t alienate fans, but become greater than the sum of their parts. “

I don’t think that adage is in danger of becoming commonly used, but there you go.

Of course, if you really want to buy into this, I strongly suggest you don’t listen to the Ice-T/Slayer track. That not only unravels my argument here, but most of man’s accomplishment for the past couple millennia. Really terrible.

And as long as we’re disclosing things, I don’t think it’s actually fair to blame Amanda Scheer-Demme for rap-metal. It would have happened with or without her, so let’s continue to just blame Woodstock ’99, Carson Daly, Fred Durst, and Florida.

There isn’t much more to say about the soundtrack without forcibly sitting the reader down to listen to it, then conducting a conversation about what they heard. A slightly surprising number of bands here are still relevant, but none as big as they were when this album came out. It didn’t really change anything in soundtracks, or in music. It simply serves as an example of what happens when more than a cursory nod is given to such a high-concept undertaking.

The artists and soundtrack producers clearly worked to make this work, and considering how unlikely that was to happen, probably deserve a small parade.

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Grammy Time: 7 Great Soundtracks To 7 Horrible Films http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/grammy-time-7-great-soundtracks-to-7-horrible-films/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/grammy-time-7-great-soundtracks-to-7-horrible-films/#comments Thu, 01 Dec 2011 23:37:11 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=238413 One of these films contains a collaboration between Mudhoney and Sir-Mix-A-Lot, who I just found out is not an actual knight.

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With the Grammy nominees announced on Wednesday night, we at Screen Junkies got pretty jealous that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gets to get all judgey with music. Then we remembered that even though we’re a movie and television site, movies have soundtracks. Soundtracks made of MUSIC! (With us yet? No? Ok.) We can rank movie soundtracks. And you can read about them.

However, simply ranking soundtracks is an exercise in futility, because we would either alienate the readers with esoteric selections, or just laud a bunch of mainstream crap that’s so bland it’s offensive. Huh. I have a little more respect for the Grammy voters now.

Anyway, there are some truly horrible films out there that were a part of our lives only because they were fortunate enough to have inspired killer soundtracks that managed to outlive the legacy of their films. Seriously. When was the last time you thought of the movie Judgment Night?

Judgment Night

In the birth of his career, Denis Leary was a horrible actor. Just terrible. But because of his appeal to the MTV crowd, films managed to shoehorn him in to do his little rants and leave. No harm, no foul. He was the star heavy of Judgment Night acting opposite Jeremy Piven, Emilio Estevez, and Cuba Gooding Jr. Not good.

If only the film was as inspired as the soundtrack which exclusively featured collaborations between rock and rap acts doing original songs. While it’s a decidedly 90’s snapshot at both, where the hell else would you hear Del Tha Funkee Homosapian perform with Dinosaur Jr or Helmet mix it up with House of Pain? The results aren’t always successful, but it’s nice to hear so many angsty bands get out of their element with rappers.

Tron: Legacy

It’s all Daft Punk, all the time on this soundtrack, which serves as the one memorable aspect of the this sequel no one really asked for. Daft Punk forgoes their normal brand of electronic pop to create a much more symphonic vibe. The end result provides a gravity and intensity that the film can’t match, but if you’re working out or perhaps going to ride lit motorcycles against your nemesis in some sort of high-stakes drag race, perhaps you can do a better job than Joseph Kasinski did.

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