Normally when I nominate a song for Scenes (Songs) We Love, it's because I want to share a scene (and a song) that is, for the most part, a happy memory. But today, I'm doing things a little differently, because as much as I may love Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band's Do Your Thing, it's visual accompaniment is the definition of a downer. My first exposure to the soul classic was in Paul Thomas Anderson's porn masterpiece, Boogie Nights, and as I watched Little Bill (played by William H. Macy) make his way through **spoiler alert** his last New Years Eve party, I was on pins and needles. As the camera tracks Macy and that bass kicked in, I may have had the overwhelming urge to get down, but I also knew that something was up, and it was not going to end well.

Watch the scene after the jump...
But before we talk about the movie, let's get to a little music history; Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band formed in the early 60s and had their fair share of personnel changes before finally disbanding in 1975. Do Your Thing was released in 1968 and it became one of the band's most famous hits, along with the Express Yourself (which was also the basis for NWA's hit of the same name). Do Your Thing is just one of the many fantastic period tunes that Anderson included in his tribute to the good old days of 70's porno, and as a fan of all things funky, I can't recommend Wright and the gang enough. But, enough about the music, let's get back to the movie.
In Bill's final moments, Anderson hits upon an unexpected contrast of music and image and what could pass as nothing more than a damn funky bass-line translated into something more. The death of Little Bill acts as a bridge in the story between the 'Do what you Feel' 70s and the dawn of the 'Me Decade' -- and Bill is the first casualty. What this scene manages to say in between the thumping groove and spectacular production design is an idea near and dear to me: satisfying your every whim and desire may sound good on paper, but what this song and this scene highlight is sometimes that philosophy has a price -- and as the song says, 'It's a jungle, baby'. Everything quickly gets out of hand and what started out as a running gag about an unfaithful wife becomes the tragic end of a 'family' member and an omen of what is to come -- and let's just say Little Bill's sad and lonely suicide is only the beginning.

Warning: this scene has graphic violence and is NSFW to say the least...

CATEGORIES Fandom, Cinematical