18 Oct Vinyl on Film: 10 Great Scenes
Film and vinyl records go back a long way. As long as there’s been a need to depict the making of, a personal taste in, or a love for music, the very tactile and visual presence of a record or record collection has done the trick (and more so than a scene of someone downloading tracks of BitTorrent). From Blackboard Jungle‘s devastating record-smashing scene to 500 Days of Summer‘s Beatle debate at a record store, vinyl’s cinematic appearances have made for moments alternately romantic, nostalgic, stirring and loud as hell. Below, we revisit just 10 of cinema’s finest vinyl-led scenes.
Almost Famous: Lester Bangs picks Iggy Pop Almost Famous is of course replete with some of the best record-made moments, though the sheer spectacle of Lester Bangs dropping by a San Diego radio station to deliver an impromptu critique of the ’70s rock scene trumps ’em all. The late Phillip Seymour Hoffman imbues his Bangs with equal rock authenticity and authority, even as he’s throwing shapes to Raw Power.
High Fidelity: Rob Gordon’s autobiographical record collection Cinema’s flag-bearing record collector and patron saint of vinyl obsessives/snobs everywhere, Rob Gordon here attempts to re-arrange his record collection in autobiographical order, because music = life. It’s… comforting, indeed.
Pretty in Pink: Duckie arrives at TRAX Now this is how one enters a record store.
Jackie Brown: Jackie puts on some music In the midst of a crime thriller, only Tarantino could find time for an argument for vinyl over CDs and a sweet spot of The Delfonics.
The Royal Tenenbaums: Margot and Richie listen to records For a director whose pet themes include that of childhood and nostalgia, it’s only logical that at least one of Wes Anderson’s movies should feature grown-up children playing a well-picked Rolling Stone record in a tent lit by a globe and disco ball. And it’s a sure mark of Anderson’s tonal genius that this scene comes off not as trite but as immensely tender.
Ghost World: Seymour’s original 78 Ghost World‘s Seymour boasts the kind of record collection (pristine!) and vinyl obsession (that stuffy record-swapping party!) that’s too school for cool, but you gotta love a guy whose heart is in the right place. As Enid here says so herself, “Wow.”
Shaun of the Dead: Vinyl vs. zombies Ah, vinyl records. A source of music and comfort, and a weapon to wield against zombies – who knew?
Before Sunrise: Jesse and Celine in a listening booth In a record store in Vienna, everyone’s favourite pairing Jesse and Celine hit up a listening booth for a spin of Kath Bloom’s “Come Here” and a demonstration of what sexual tension looks like.
This is Spinal Tap: None more black Here’s Spinal Tap bringing shrewd and incisive insights (“It’s like a black mirror!”) to bear on the cover art of the best record never made.
A Clockwork Orange: Record shopping In one of the flashiest scenes of record shopping ever, A Clockwork Orange sees our hero Alex enter a record emporium or disc-bootick – no fusty and dusty enterprise, but a shiny, graphic playground – to pick up some records and a couple of devotchkas. Roll over, Beethoven!