Screen Junkies » Trainspotting Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Sun, 02 Nov 2014 03:39:07 +0000 en hourly 1 10 Other Movie Characters That Should Be Band Names, Besides Veruca Salt Sat, 16 Aug 2014 20:07:56 +0000 bgoldstein Veruca Salt's true genius was in naming themselves after the bratty girl from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Here are ten more classic film characters and the fictional bands that could have taken their names.

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By Jeff Finkle

You know ’90s nostalgia is exploding when the Volcano Girls themselves, alternative rock band Veruca Salt, go on a reunion tour. After breaking up in 1998 due to personal differences between singer-songwriters Louise Post and Nina Gordon, the duo put the original band back together this year, and even have a new album coming out. Their hit song “Seether” was one of the biggest hits of the ’90s but the band’s true genius was in naming themselves after the bratty girl from the unforgettable Roald Dahl book and the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Here are ten more classic film characters and the fictional bands that could have taken their names.

10. Cameron Frye (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

“Frye. Frye. Frye…” There’s nothing that gets rock fans riled up before a show than the recorded voice of Ben Stein being blasted from the speakers before the band emerges onto the stage to kick ass. Of course, this band has to be coaxed into getting out of bed that morning by their cool friend Ferris (or possibly a member of the band Save Ferris.) You’re sure to have the best day ever when you go see Cameron Frye perform and you might just learn something about yourself along the way. If you have to make a phony phone call to get out of work, do it. Cameron Frye is worth it. They are so choice.

You’ll feel the energy and the rage when you pump your fist to the Cameron Frye classic “Take a Stand.” You just might want to wait a few days before you call your father.

9. Vada Sultenfuss (My Girl)

Who wouldn’t want to be taken back to a time when it was OK to wear overalls, and riding a Schwinn bike took you across your whole world. Get ready to get lost in the guitar riffs of a band whose ‘70s sound is inspired by both the Allman Brothers and the Osmond Brothers. Vada Sultenfuss will knock you out of your doldrums with their groovy sound and lyrics so deep you’ll swear the singer/songwriter took Mr. Bixler’s class on poetry.

Grab your cell phones and pretend they’re lighters because when Vada Sultenfuss jams out to “An Ode to Thomas J.” you might get so emotional that you’ll wish you could run home and hug your comatose grandma.

8. Josey Wales (The Outlaw Josey Wales)

Josey Wales might sound like a perfect name for a pop group with a female guitarist but these male indie rockers (and fans of Clint Eastwood’s iconic western hero) made music history with a name that puts fear in the heart of weak-willed men. The only excuse a fan has for missing a live performance from Josie Wales is if you get stuck on a Missouri Boat Ride.

Prepare to walk tall and gaze at folks with a steely determination after hearing the Josie Wales ballad “Dyin’ Ain’t No Way to Make a Livin’.”

7.  Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction)

Who doesn’t remember the first time they saw the film Pulp Fiction, and who doesn’t remember the first time they heard the album Say What Again! by the band Jules Winnfield? They might have a Chili Peppers funk rock sound but this band is cooler than Fonzie and way more philosophical than the Peppers. You might have to fight the urge to walk the Earth when you listen to the music of Jules Winnfield because the experience is like a Big Kahuna Burger for your soul.

Listen to the track “Ezekiel 25:17” from their debut album and it will surely put you on the path of the righteous man.

6. Garth (Wayne’s World)

You’re not worthy to experience the hard rock power guitar riffs and amazing drum solos of Garth. Even the legendary Alice Cooper would bow down to their awesomeness, and Garth makes Gwar look like Maroon 5. They might be named after the ultimate sidekick but they would surely be the lead act at Waynestock. So grab your red rope licorice and your best friend and head out of your parents’ basement because Garth is coming to your town and they like to play.

Point yourself towards a real babe and get ready to “Schwing” when the band Garth plays the song of the same name. You might get lucky or at least feel like when you used to climb the rope in gym class.

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Soundtrack Studies: ‘Trainspotting’ Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:06:57 +0000 Penn Collins It's a workplace dramedy, and the workplace is "heroin addiction."

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Movies about heroin, unlike movies about other drugs, generally aren’t very fun. While filmmakers have the ability to glamorize other drugs, or at least downgrade them to “mischievous” or “sleazy,” there’s something sad about heroin films. The act of sticking a needle in your arm, the ceremony, the privacy required is a very sad, lonely state of affairs.

But thanks to the magic of Irvine Welsh and Danny Boyle, Trainspotting manages to turn heroin addiction into something of a chore rather than an addiction. The characters are humanized to an extent that addiction becomes this thing they have to live with, sometimes humorously, like the characters in Office Space have to live with their jobs and bosses.

When Trainspotting isn’t mundane, it runs towards the whimsical and absurd. Babies crawl on ceilings and guys swim through toilets to get suppositories. A dead baby on a ceiling isn’t as sad as a dead baby in a crib (which the film also gives us). I don’t know why that is, but probably because a dead baby on a ceiling makes you think, whereas a dead baby in a crib just makes you feel. The ceiling baby is not sad, but morbid and certainly bleak.

The film’s bleakness, which is probably the prevailing “tone” of the film, is largely a result of two things: the film being set in Scotland and the film featuring a pitch-perfect soundtrack that offers a halo of cool to the film. The soundtrack, populated by many New Wave, post punk, and Brit-pop artists. In fact, the soundtrack is entirely British save for the inclusion of a couple Lou Reed songs. Brit-pop was always cool, but had a hard time becoming popular Stateside. Possibly we are Americans, and we like our pop hermetically sealed in a safe environment.

As such, some of that lack of traction can be attributed to Trainspotting. I don’t think that one album is capable of stopping a movement, but the film manages to be funny, cool, and extremely dangerous, and that danger may have proved to be a turnoff for many people. The words “funny,” “cool,” and “dangerous” also describe another film that came out a year before: Pulp Fiction. Similarly, the Pulp Fiction soundtrack was something people wanted to be around, but not get too intimate with.

Trainspotting had more starpower going for it with cuts by the aforementioned Lou Reed, Pulp, and Blur, in addition to New Order, Elastica, Underworld, Primal Scream, and Brian Eno. People generally don’t go out of their way to listen to Brian Eno, and he’s generally someone that people don’t feel compelled to get to know better.

Not unlike the characters of Trainspotting. Sure, it’s fun to watch Renton attempt to straighten up and fly right, it’s fun to watch Sick Boy hustle, and it’s fun to watch Begbie fight, but by humanizing the addicts and making them far more complex, the film’s effects are more insidious than those of a Requiem for a Dream. We would watch these guys without the heroin, but from the outset of the film, we have to make peace with the fact that will never happen.

The film masterfully weaves between the normal lives of these characters and their crippling addiction, and the soundtrack goes a long way towards that end. There are a number of uses of songs here that resonate profoundly with the viewer, and the one most frequently cited is “Perfect Day” by Lou Reed, which plays while we witness the protagonists shoot heroin and bliss out.

I can say with some certainty that this song got more mileage out of its inclusion on the soundtrack than any other, newer work. It doesn’t hurt that it was the most familiar song to Americans on the soundtrack (being the only song by American on the soundtrack), but also it’s because the song is perfect.

There are lot of songs that bring to the film a more palpable sense of fun and hope, but those are by newer artists and confuse the message that DRUGS ARE BAD. It’s a little ridiculous to say that some rock songs didn’t get more traction because they glamorize drug use, but when delivered in the package of Trainspotting, lots of emotional dynamics serve as stumbling blocks on the path leading from the film to a good time.

But the film ends with hope and a perverse sense of justice set to Underworld’s “Born Slippy” (which unfortunately, exists on that playlist only as a replica of the original). Renton, once again resolute in his desire to quit straighten up and fly right, steals a sum of ill-gotten cash from his friends, gives leaves some for the only guy who deserves it, then leaves.

The song gives an extremely faint sense of hope, and that’s just enough for the film to make the leap from being a great film about drugs to just a great film.

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