Episode 239: Tarantino Tunes Pat welcomes "The 40 Year-Old Boy" Mike Schmidt back to the Co-Host chair to discuss the music used in the films of Quentin Tarantino. From February 11, 2016
With your host:
Pat and Kyle welcome us to the show. Ladies and gentlemen, returning to the podcast after FOUR LONG YEARS, it's Mike Schmidt!
Mike is the host of the 40 Year Old Boy Podcast, which he's been doing for eight years. It's a late night start for this episode as Kyle was running tardy. He just bought a new car. It's got Bluetooth, a backup camera, cup holders! A real man of the future, that Kyle. Here's something to know about Mike: When he loves something, he LOVES it: Van Halen, Guns N' Roses, and Quentin Tarantino.
Mike loves things unequivocally. Once he's in, he's in for everything. Pat likes Tarantino too, he's got a bunch of blu-rays. Pat and Mike agree that Tarantino knows how to use music in his movies, which is why today's topic is Tarantino Tunes! Music used in Quentin Tarantino movies. Mike appreciates originality with music in films and in film trailers. Ergo he does not appreciate the overuse of George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone" in trailers.
"God bless George Thorogood."
"No no, not at all. God damn George Thorogood. No blessing going on, send that man straight to Hell."
So when Tarantino delves into the recesses of his musical knowledge, it's much appreciated. And thankfully, Tarantino has the clout (and connections) to get those rare songs.
Pat and Mike are going to go through the films chronologically from Reservoir Dogs to The Hateful Eight. Death Proof will not be featured, nor will Tarantino's segment in Four Rooms or any of the films he only wrote (True Romance, Natural Born Killers, etc.). Mike has a clear favorite Tarantino film, the rest he mixes around on his list. Mike is looking forward to actually talking about the songs and their placement in the film. He also knows that they can't spend two hours on one film (which Mike could easily do).
After some brief Muppets talk, of which Mike is not a fan ("I do not like funny felt."), we get to the first movie on the docket:
This is Mike's FAVORITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME! And he's including Leonard Part 6, if you can believe it. This is Pat's number two Tarantino film. Mike was in L.A., sleeping on a guy's floor, when he read a review of Reservoir Dogs: "Tough guys doing tough guy stuff." Mike saw it at a matinee and was astonished by it. He noted the simmering malevolence throughout it. After seeing it, he called his friends in Chicago on a payphone (this is 1992, people) and then watched it again. Pat was living in Chicago (no, he was not on the other end of Mike's ecstatic payphone call) and saw it with his roommate.
The snappy dialogue, the pop culture references. "That movie, it sings, man," says Mike "Cool Daddy-O" Schmidt. The movie's budget was $1.2 million, it's box office was $2.8 million. Pat thinks it has the best soundtrack. "......Okay," responds Mike. Pat starts us off with the first song of the night. Steven Wright, a.k.a. the DJ of K-Billy's Super Sounds of the Seventies Weekend, introduces "Little Green Bag" by The George Baker Selection. Mike says that it begins the pattern of a lot of songs that Tarantino uses: It's a song that you don't remember hearing, but there's some air of familiarity around it and you want to listen to this song all the time. Mike's wedding party actually entered to this song. Which colors would the gang choose for their robbery? Pat would be Mr. Magenta. Mike would be Mr. Green. Kyle would be Colonel Mustard.
Mike's favorite character of all time is Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen). He's calm, cool, collected, and severely psychopathic. Mike's first song is THAT song from THAT scene, "Stuck in the Middle with You" by Stealers Wheel. It's a song that is indelibly linked with that scene.
Pat's second song from Reservoir Dogs is "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede.
Quite the sophomore surge for Mr. Tarantino. Mike saw the trailer for Pulp Fiction on a VHS copy of The Crow. It's budget was $8.5 million, it made $231 million. It put Tarantino on the map and brought John Travolta back to superstardom. This is Pat's favorite Tarantino film. When Mike was on his standup tour, he saw it in every city he went to.
Mike enjoys this movie so much. He loves the little things, like Mia Wallace doing the animated square with her fingers. Pat loves it so much. The non-linear storytelling helps it a lot. The movie also does wonders for mom-and-pop shops. You know that Henderson's shop on the corner of 5th and Walnut? There's probably a gimp down there. I'm just saying. Pat's first pick from Pulp Fiction is the surfer rock epic "Misirlou" by Dick Dale.
Mike's first pick is a song called "Bullwinkle Part II" by The Centurions. It plays when Tarantino does heroin. The song really fetishizes the whole process. Pat realizes that he's never seen anything or anyone like the characters in a Tarantino movie in real life.
Up next for Pat is a cover of his boy, Neil Diamond. It's Urge Overkill with their version of "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon". Mike says that you cared about Mia because she sang this song. Pat does not think Uma Thurman is attractive. Mike thinks she is incredibly beautiful. We know Tarantino likes her feet, that much is certain. Then Pat, Mike, and Kyle delve into a big side tangent of old cartoons like Funky Phantom and Speed Buggy.
Mike's second song from Pulp Fiction is from the infamous dancing scene at Jack Rabbit Slims. It's "You Never Can Tell" by Chuck Berry. Travolta was dancing on film again! And it was a natural dancing too, you can see the chemistry between him and Uma Thurman.
Jackie Brown is probably Tarantino's most overlooked film. Mike says it gets the short shrift because it isn't Pulp Fiction. Tarantino adapts an Elmore Leonard story and does a good job while also putting his own spin on it. It had a $12 million budget, it made $75 million. Pat's first pick is by the late great Bobby Womack. The song is "Across 110th Street".
De Niro is in it, Michael Keaton. Some serious star power. Mike's first pick is "Strawberry Letter 23" by The Brothers Johnson. Mike remarks how Tarantino got a great performance out of Robert Forster. Who would Mike like to see in a Quentin Tarantino movie? Mike wants an older legend. Interesting fact: Ving Rhames was Marsellus Wallace, but do you know who was originally offered the part? Sid Haig! And he turned it down!
Mike says it has to be someone recognizable and with good work. Like James Woods! Lester Diamond himself. Bill Paxton. Lance Henriksen. Too many names to count. Pat's next pick from Jackie Brown is "Monte Carlo Nights" by Elliot Easton's Tiki Gods.
Six years after Jackie Brown, Tarantino releases the first half of his Samurai revenge epic. Mike could have sat and watched the whole bloody affair if it was released as one movie.
Tarantino put David Carradine back in the spotlight. The anime scene. So, so good. Pat's first Kill Bill pick is the opening track "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" by Nancy Sinatra. "Bill, it's your ba-" BANG! Some more names: Burt Reynolds, Val Kilmer, Goose (no, not Anthony Edwards, an actual goose).
Mike has a lot of picks, so he plays two in a row. First he plays "Green Arrow" by Al Hirt, followed by "Battle without Honor Or Humanity" by Tomoyasu Hotei. That song went everywhere. Then Mike plays another song, Santa Esmeralda's version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". It plays during the final battle of The Bride and O-Ren Ishii.
Pat and Kyle prefer Volume I over Volume II. Mike loves them both together. He plays one more song from Volume I, which is "The Lonely Shepherd" by James Last & Gheorghe Zamfir. Mike can't believe that he is extolling the virtues of a freaking Zamfir song. But such is the power of Tarantino.
Pat's first pick from Volume II is "Goodnight Moon" by Shivaree. Mike has a confession: None of his songs from Volume II are on the soundtrack. Oh Mike.
What Mike especially loves about Kill Bill: Volume II is that Michael Madsen is in it. Mike plays "Dies Irae" by Nora Orlandi, which plays during a conversation between Bill and Budd. Mike relays that the song itself is based on a poem about a woman seeking revenge. Well, check out the big brain on Mike.
Pat's second song is "Summertime Killer" by Luis Bacalov.
Mike's last pick from Volume II is called "The Demise of Barbara and the Return of Joe" by Ennio Morricone. It's used when The Bride gives Bill his final sendoff after hitting with the devastating Five-Point-Palm Exploding Heart Technique. Mike loves how in the first movie, Bill is a total monster; his face isn't even shown on screen. But in the second, he is certainly softened.
. Mike Myers is in this movie. Kyle does an Austin Powers impression which might be the greatest or worst thing I've ever heard. Pat does not like the Austin Powers movies, but he likes the individual scenes. Very interesting. Inglourious Basterds is Tarantino's war movie. It's named after an Italian movie. Pat and Mike agree that Tarantino doesn't steal, but he definitely wears his influences on his sleeves.
The movie's budget was $70 million, but it made $321 million. Pat's first pick from the movie is "Slaughter" by Billy Preston. If there is one thing Tarantino is not afraid to do, it's mix genres. Basterds has a huge star, Brad Pitt, but he is completely overshadowed by a then-unknown Christoph Waltz. Mike's first pick is also not on the soundtrack. It's "Bath Attack" by Charles Bernstein. It plays when Shoshanna recognizes Landa in the restaurant.
Pat does not like Eli Roth (as an actor, a director, or a person). Mike agrees that Tarantino is not an easy person to interview. Mike has actually met Tarantino and performed stand up for him. Pat's second IB pick pays tribute to David Bowie. It's "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)".
Mike's second pick is a song called "Un Amico" by Ennio Morricone. Inglourious Basterds ranks 7th on Pat's Tarantino list. He felt duped by the trailer. He thought it was going to be Brad Pitt and his boy kicking Nazi ass for 2 hours, but it turned out to be something else.
Pat kicks things off with "I Got a Name" by Jim Croce.
Mike picked TEN SONGS from Django Unchained. He feels like this film is Tarantino's best use of music. Music defines the movie. This time, Mike plays a song that isn't even in the movie. Tarantino ordered it for the film, but he couldn't find a place for it. It's "Wiseman" by Frank Ocean.
Pat has a song that was actually in the movie. It's after Django kills those four guys from the mining company. It's John Legend with "Who Did That to You?". While Mike loves Tarantino, he agrees with Pat that he should probably not do an Australian accent ever again. It takes him out of the movie. Tarantino actually thought of playing Pei Mei (the Kung Fu master) in Kill Bill: Volume II. Oh sweet Jesus. Thank God for Gordon Liu. Mike saw Django Unchained three days in a row. It has a $100 million budget and it made $425 million. Leo is great, Christoph is great.
Mike's next song from Django is "Unchained (The Payback/Untouchable)", a mashup of James Brown & 2Pac. So much over-the-top violence. Pat guesses that Jamie Foxx is wearing the same jacket as Little Joe from Bonanza and he's right! Mike then plays another song, "Trinity (Titoli)" by Annibale E I Cantori Moderni. Django is blowing up the house, he's on the horse, dressed like a dandy with sunglasses. Mike calls it a fairy tale ending.
Pat plays "Apple Blossom" by The White Stripes. Pat does not like The Hateful Eight. He feels like it was too long, too talky. Mike thinks it's a great two hour movie that is unfortunately stretched into a three hour movie. This ranks eight for Mike. He likes it, but it's Tarantino's weakest effort for him.
Mike really wanted more Madsen. He feels he was the best thing in the movie because he doesn't put on a character to fool anyone. Mike was also confused by Demian Bichir's stereotypical Mexican accent since Bichir is an actual Mexican. Bruce Dern does not get enough to do. Madsen is the only one playing it straight.
Mike suggests that Tarantino should have shelved it after the script leaked and done something else. Pat and Mike also discuss Samuel L. Jackson's... um.... revealing monologue. They feel like it was too gratuitous, even for Tarantino. Pat also feels like he said the n-word was said way too many times. Django made sense to have so much because it's a slave movie, but Pat doesn't think it makes sense in this movie.
Mike finally plays his first pick from Hateful Eight, "Ouverture" by Ennio Morricone. It really gives off a sense of foreboding. The second half is when things get going, even though Mike does like the talky bits.
Pat's last song of the night is by Roy Orbison. The song is called "There Won't Be Many Coming Home".
What a fun traipse through the works of one Quentin Tarantino. Thanks to Mike for joining us and bringing his gusto and wisdom. Mike ends the show with "Sangue e neve (Blood and Snow)" by Ennio Morricone from The Hateful Eight.