I just sI I just sat down to watch the 1986 film The Mission starring Jeremy Irons and Robert Deniro. Powerful performance by Aidan Quinn, who memorably played the jealous older brother in Legends of the Fall. The film is about the interaction between the Spanish and the Peruvian natives of the late 17th century. There is a beautiful scene early on where Jeremy Irons, playing a Jesuit priest, climbs up a waterfall and then charms the natives with a ripping oboe solo. Is there a better metaphor for music as the universal language than that ? Two cultures bridging differences to establish peaceful contact through music. Incidentally, it was the music of Ennio Morricone that drew me to this film and it doesn’t disappoint. The sound track literally sweeps you up in its soaring majesty.
Oh no! Deniro just swept into the native village with guns blazing, taking hostages to be sold into slavery. Confirms my suspicions that we’d be a lot better off if someone took the guns out of people’s hands and replaced them with instruments. Deniro rocks his conquistador beard though. Not sure about the Indians red and black dyed hair - it’s so unintentionally punk rock. Whoa. Aiden Quinn just got slain! That was quick. Looks like a Sid Vicious move.
A young Liam Nesson appears to adequately step into the solid supporting actor void that opened up for a second. Is it just me or has Liam Neeson done too many movies lately? He’s like the Bob Dylan of Acting. Dylan’s been doing a never-ending tour for 20 years. Deniro is like the Bruce Springsteen of Actors. He’s got numerousl signature go-to moves that always get the job done. (“Are you lookin’ at me? Are you lookin at ME!? Baby we were born to Ruuuuuuuunnnn!)
Actors and Musicians are like NBA stars in that way. You can’t be truly great unless you have at least two stellar go-to moves for crunch time. Jordan had the pull-up jumper and the subtle ‘hook your man double pump drive’. Karl Malone only had one, the fade-away jumper. Thus no rings. Sorry Karl. I was pulling for you in the 04 Finals but you guys hit the Pistons' buzz saw. The 04’ Pistons were like the Basketball equivalent of Steely Dan. No Real superstars just five solid guys. One really transcendent year/song (“Reeling in the Years” for Steely Dan.) Another really solid performance in the 05’ Finals for the Pistons (“Ricky don’t lose that number.”) Using this Logic the ’11 Miami Heat are Rush - three people responsible for the whole sound.
Songs I’m listening to lately.
“Heart Full of Soul.” The Yardbirds.
A great little guitar riff that seems to forecast Jimmy Page’s next act - Led Zeppelin.
“Pyramid Song” by Radiohead
A soaring track from the Amnesiac album that almost feels like leaving your body. Actually that’s what the lyrics are about - it was inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy as well as the Egyptian and Tibetan Books of the Dead. Stunning.
“Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” Journey
Gotta love song titles with parenthesis. Loved it’s use in the recently released Tron: Legacy. The words in parenthesis were quite appropriate in that case.