Everyone knows the art-punk band Devo and its hugely catchy 1980 hit 'Whip It' -- not to mention those dork-tastic flowerpot helmets. But the old-school Ohio rockers have also left a lasting footprint in Hollywood through its movie-friendly music.
In particular, bespectacled frontman Mark Mothersbaugh has composed the scores for dozens of films, including such diverse gems as 'Dumb and Dumber,' the first four Wes Anderson features, and the 2010 documentary 'Catfish.' So we figured he'd be the perfect inaugural subject of our new recurring feature, Musicians on Movies.
Mothersbaugh recently took a break from promoting 'Something for Everybody,' Devo's first album in 20 years, to e-mail us the five movies he would have liked to have scored.
1. 'Island of Lost Souls' (1932)
This movie inspired the first A-side of Devo, 'Jocko Homo,' and later music also.
I would score the film with the orchestral version of Devo's music, and use it to underline the "What is the law?" and "Not to walk on all fours ... Are we not men?" sections.
The movie has been remade a half dozen times [note: most famously as 'The Island of Dr. Moreau,' starring Marlon Brando, in 1996], each with cringe invoking features -- none of them even coming close to the power of the original.
2. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (1962)
'To Kill a Mockingbird' represents Hollywood at its very finest, when a popular film could truly contain a message. It has one of the most moving scores of all time.
I wish they still made movies like this.
3. 'Memento' (2001)
Kind of overlooked, 'Memento' was a very smart film with no music budget. I can't remember what the music sounded like, but when i saw it, I thought that it would have been an interesting project, in that you could treat the themes in the same fashion as the picture, and reverse the progression of the melodies, in the same way the progression of time was reversed in the telling of the story.
4. 'The Darjeeling Limited' (2007)
I appreciated the idea of using music from older Bollywood films, but i felt ultimately the score let the film down.
A composer's job, among other things, is to develop that which picture and words can't lift on their own -- but I sat in the theater reimagining the score the first time i saw it.
5. Anything by David Lynch or Quentin Tarantino
I just like those guys a lot -- and, well, actually, there are probably another dozen young directors to add to that list.
I really appreciate anyone trying to inject art into mainstream film.