Garden State. Forrest Gump. Maid in Manhattan. (500) Days of Summer. I could go on and on listing all of the films that have used the music of Simon and Garfunkel on their soundtracks, and it's no wonder. They're the bees knees.
But, when you think of Simon and Garfunkel and the movies, there is only one film to talk about. The Graduate. This soundtrack is the perfect marriage between music and the movies.
If you haven't seen it, The Graduate is about a 21 year old man, Benjamin Braddock, who doesn't know what he wants to do with his life, but who knows what he definitely doesn't want to do - work for his father. Oh, and he sleeps with the wife of his father's business partner - Mrs. Robinson, and falls in love with her daughter Elaine. It's a great depiction of the rebellion of 1960s youth against the expectations of their Greatest Generation parents.
The movie doesn't really end on a positive note. After Ben's romantic grand gesture saves Mrs. Robinson's daughter from a bland married life, we see the two of them on a bus happy that they rebelled, but unsure of their own future. Unsure if they made the right decision. Asking themselves what comes next?
The title credits of the film plays to Simon and Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence, which is a song about futility - people hearing without listening. Check out this clip- Ben is riding an airport treadmill. He doesn't move, but he is being pushed forward. Symbolic much? Watch The Clip!
Now, of course we all know Mrs. Robinson. A song that longs for the past, for heroes like Joe DiMaggio in a world where even democracy had been stripped to a process of choosing between the lesser of two evils. The version in the film is different from the hit radio edit that we're all used to. It sounds lighter, looser and damn cool.
Also used in the film, April Come She Will - a great song about how quickly love can die. And, Bookends, a song about looking back at the loss of innocence. Both songs deal with heavy themes, but are so beautiful that you don't seem to be bothered by the sadness, much like the experience one has while watching this movie.
The mellow and sometimes melancholy sounds of Simon and Garfunkel embody what it's like to question your life. Their music got me through adolescence, and I've returned to them in my quarter-life crisis. They're like a hot bowl of comfort and reassurance for the aimless and uncertain. And, like The Graduate, their music gives no real sense that happiness is imminent. Instead, the comfort comes from knowing that someone else is out there who understands. And, isn't that why we love music and the movies, for that shared experience?
So, readers, what did you think of my first soundtrack post? More clips? More music? Let me hear it.
I promise to be more upbeat next week!