Here we go again with a blast from the past! There are many hit shows from the 1990s but the following are both emblematic and with an unmistakable intro music. As I have done for the previous decades, they are listed in chronological order.
Twin Peaks – theme by Angelo Badalamenti (1990)
We all wanted to know who killed Laura Palmer! This eerie, haunting and occasionally creep series stems from the wild imagination of David Lynch, heralded by an equally spooky music.
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – theme by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (1990)
The face that launched a thousand ships… oh no, sorry, I meant the show that put Will Smith on a path to stardom. The hip hop answer to the Huxtables with its memorable lyrics.
X-Files – theme by Mark Snow(1993)
I’ve often wondered: why did Scully and Mulder always end up in dark places with tiny flashlights? Another mystery related to this TV cult. The music has an uncanny feeling that stays with you for a long time.
Friends – I’ll Be There For You, The Rembrandts (1994)
Misadventures of a group of twenty-somethings in New York, you know, it’s like Girls but for Gen Xers. The upbeat music of The Rembrandts will always bring a smile to your face.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – theme by Nerf Herder (1997)
Kickass leading lady that fight vampires and the forces of evil while painstakingly punning and making clever pop culture references: awesome! Welcome to the genius of Joss Whedon. The rock intro just sets the pace… in every generation there is a chosen one…
Sex and the City – theme by Douglas J. Cuomo (1998)
The life of four thirty-somethings: their sexcapades and troubled relationships in the Big Apple. All told with humour and style.
Kate (Blunt) is a FBI agent used to kick down doors and catch bad guys for the good of all American people. She follows the rules but, on a rescue operation, she stumbles on something that it’s beyond understanding: dozens of dead bodies ensconced inside the walls of a house. It belongs to a major player in the drug traffic between US and Mexico and it has the additional perk of backyard shed booby-trapped with explosive that kills two policemen. Spurred by righteous indignation, Kate joins an inter-agency task force led by Matt (Brolin), soi-disant consultant for the Department of Defense, who will show her how the war on drugs is really fought. Mat is helped by Alejandro (Del Toro), another “consultant” of the US government, who is enigmatic, apparently all-knowing and rather shady, also not American. The viewer goes along with Kate on this grim ride, discovering facts and getting information as she does, slowly realising that she stepped into a very dangerous world where police work is substituted by covert military operations and rules and boundaries are very different from what she knows and believes in. Villeneuve seems to have a knack for making films that keep you engaged and uncomfortable at the same time. The foreboding mood of the story, the constant feeling that something is not right is difficult to shake off even for the jaded, cynical viewer, all thanks to Villeneuve’s ability in combining excellent performances with a good script and expert cinematography. Brolin and Blunt sell very well their respective characters but Del Toro is the one that truly shines! I did miss him in a role he could sink his teeth in and give us something remarkable. The other interesting aspect of this film is the fact that doesn’t really give an answer to the questions it raises on the “war” on drugs, it just depicts the situation in all its stark, disheartening reality, reminding me of a very illuminating exchange in an episode of The Wire:
Carver: You can’t even call this shit a war.
Hauk: Why not?
Carver: Wars end.
Gentle readers, here’s another post on amazing combination of music and film. This time it’s about how characters (mostly, lead characters) are introduced to the audience and songs that helped making them emblematic and enduring in our collective memory. The following is a top 5 of my favorite intros.
1. Jake and Elwood, The Blues Brothers – She Caught the Katy, The Blues Brothers (1980)
From a cult movie, this intro to both the film and the characters is iconic. It was James Belushi’s favorite blues song.
2. Harmonica – Man with a Harmonica, Ennio Morricone (1968)
Charlie Bronson shows who’s boss from the get-go on the unforgettable notes of Morricone’s music.
Did you bring a horse for me?
Looks like we are shy one horse.
You brought two too many.
3. Jesus Quintana, The Big Lebowski – Hotel California, The Gipsy Kings (1988)
Nobody fucks with the Jesus!
Do I really need to add any word to this?
4. John Connor, Terminator 2 – You Could Be Mine, Guns ‘N’ Roses (1991)
Sulking teen with a penchant for motorcycles… and future legendary leader of the human resistance against the machines… What can I say? It works very well with the energy and grit of Guns ‘n’ Roses.
5. James Bond, Dr. No – James Bond theme, Monty Norman (1962)
That’s how it all began! Suave and wordly Mr. Bond’s first appearance is both charming and intriguing. The memorable theme plays softly in the background. Sean Connery will always be my favorite incarnation of 007.