Monday, January 21, 2013

MOVIE MUSIC MOMENT: WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU GO-GO / ZOOLANDER



"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!
as seen in
Zoolander (2001)

Finally, proof that I am not just going to be dissecting songs from just classic cinema, though some may consider "Zoolander" to be a modern classic. (A sequel is coming in 2014 by the way.) What we have here is a comedy so stupid that is sometimes manages to become transcendent, or perhaps it's just unforgettable. When Derek Zoolander (played by writer/director Ben Stiller) is feeling down in the dumps his posse of light-in-the-loafers and lighter-in-the-heads male models know it's time for, "Orange Mocha Frappuccino!" Cue what I have mistakenly referred to as "Jitterbug" (because it's the word the song begins with) by Wham!

What follows is a brief joyride around town as the fun-loving men suck from their straws and groove to the soundtrack (even though their actions do not particularly match the music). A necessary pitstop turns into the most (mock-)gayest fight of soapy water and gasoline you'll ever see. The song continues and so becomes iconic with this scene. It plays over action and dialogue, as carefree a sound-track choice as the actions of the characters onscreen. It's then brought to a "Noooooo!"-like slow-down when one dumb choice in a movie chockfull of them has actual consequences. An explosion (Boom!) finally takes over Wham! and the one thing that started this diversion, an Orange Mocha Frappuccino, flies at us from the fiery background. It's one of the many dues ex machinas in a harebrained plot that cannot get anywhere without them.

It's offensive in its stereotypes, but more so to the senses, but creates a Movie Music Moment I have not been able to shake for all these years. Damn the genius of it all. The victims are later eulogized by Zoolander who survived them, "If there is anything that this horrible tragedy can teach us, it's that a male model's life is a precious, precious commodity. Just because we have chiseled abs and stunning features, it doesn't mean that we too can't not die in a freak gasoline fight accident."

What are your thoughts on this Movie Music Moment from "Zoolander"? Oddly enough, this movie also uses "Also Sprach Zarathusa"! I promise, I did not plan this one this time, but now we're three for three when it comes to Richard Strauss' piece appearing in the films I've chosen so far. Besides "Zoolander," what are some of your favorite movie music moments?

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