One thing that always enhances any movie, in my opinion, is the use of good music in the soundtrack. Especially if that music fits in with, and enhances, the story. While there is plenty of excellent music being composed and scored for the movies (e.g. anything by Dave Grusin), my favorite soundtracks are those that employ the best songs from Classical, Oldies, Pop and Big Band music.
One that I encountered just recently is Love Actually, a very cute romantic comedy with a terrific ensemble cast including High Grant, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley and Liam Neeson. The music is mostly Rock & Pop, with stuff from The Beach Boys, Mariah Carey, Eva Cassidy etc. But all the music really works with the story. Surprisingly, the best song of all is from Kelly Clarkson, the first American Idol winner, if you can believe it. The song she does is called Trouble With Love Is. Hunt this one down on Amazon, or somewhere, and give it a listen. The lyrics say something, the arrangement and orchestration are very good and she really belts it out. Given the right song, this young lady can sing.
One of the best movies for music is Sleepless In Seattle, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. While it has some newbies like Carly Simon, Harry Connick, Jr., Rickie Lee Jones and Celine Dion on the soundtrack, it features the Nat ‘King’ Cole version of Stardust, Gene Autry‘s Back in the Saddle Again, Louis Armstrong with A Kiss to Build a Dream On and two songs by the incomparable Jimmy Durante. How is that for going back in time?
I love Jimmy Durante. Not a great voice, but nobody can quite sell a song like ole Jimmy does. I was a fan of his TV show when I was a kid. Do you remember how he would stroll, dressed in an ovcercoat and hat, from spotlight to spotlight, singing Make Someone Happy at the end of the show? It was the best sign-off I have ever seen.
Jimmy bookends the soundtrack of Sleepless In Seattle, performing As Time Goes By during the opening credits and Make Someone Happy at the end. Perfect!