Five Leonard Cohen songs in two episodes of Criminal Minds (S5E23 and S6E1):
- I’m Your Man
- The Night Comes On
- Dance Me To The End Of Love
- Sisters Of Mercy
- Who By Fire
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The three Cohen songs, “The Stranger Song,” “Sisters of Mercy,” and Winter Lady,” work in perfect harmony with the film and allow Cohen to play the part of an invisible, informal narrator, filling in the blanks left by the naturalistic, show-don’t-tell, style of the film. As nothing much is offered by the film’s dialogue in the way of back-stories, motivations and desires, it is left to Cohen and his songs. And as McCabe and Mrs. Miller swoon across with the film’s patient, meditative narrative, a larger picture emerges, like pieces of a puzzle falling into place.
The above excerpt is from The Stranger Song: Leonard Cohen and McCabe & Mrs. Miller by C Depasquale. Aquarium Drunkard: Nov 5, 2013. Complete article available at link.
While the significance of Cohen’s music for Altman’s 1971 film, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, is an often-addressed cinematic topic, this exposition is especially well written and insightful. Highly recommended.
Note: Originally posted Dec 11, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
The following excepts provide the basic lines of the plot and role of the soundtrack:
In the summer of 1995, 26-year-old Cheryl Strayed decided to walk the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail by herself without having ever having attempted a serious hike in her life. Following the death of her mother and after years of dissolute self-destructive behavior, Strayed found herself divorced, alone, lost and on a frayed edge of personal despair. Desperately trying to find her humanity and reclaim an her ideal self, she impulsively set out, ill-equipped and inexperienced, to find herself on an unpredictable and grueling odyssey from the Mojave desert through California to Oregon over the course of over 150 days. (Excerpted from Telluride Review: Jean-Marc Vallée’s ‘Wild’ Starring Reese Witherspoon By Rodrigo Perez. The Playlist August 30, 2014)
Most of the music is only used in the film’s various flashbacks. “I didn’t want to give the audience this impression of ‘film watching,'” Vallee said in a statement. “That’s often how I feel with score music. I become aware of it, aware that I’m watching a film, that someone is playing music that the characters don’t hear. When there is music, it’s because it’s playing in the scene from a sound device, a car radio for instance, or a CD player. What [Reese’s character Cheryl] is listening to in her life is the music that we hear during the film.” (Excerpted from ‘Wild’ Soundtrack Feature Bruce Springsteen, Portishead, Leonard Cohen, Lucinda Williams & More By Edward Davis. The Playlist: October 23, 2014)
This excerpt from Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne has deep connection to Reese Witherspoon drama Wild by Linda Barnard (The Star: Dec 5, 2014) offers the story about Suzanne Verdal’s link to the movie as well as a photo of Suzanne Verdal taken circa 1977:1
Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée is scrolling through photos on his phone, stopping at an image of a young girl and a pretty, dark-haired woman, smiling for the camera.
“You’re the first one that I’m showing that to,” said the Montreal-born director of Dallas Buyers Club and Café de Flore.
We’d been talking on an early September afternoon about why he wanted to include Leonard Cohen’s melancholy and romantic song “Suzanne” in the drama Wild, which had screened the day before at the Toronto International Film Festival and opens in theatres Dec. 5.
Starring Reese Witherspoon, Wild is based on Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir about her relationship with her late mother, Bobbi (Laura Dern) and her decision to repair her broken life by hiking more than 1,700 km on the punishing Pacific Crest Trail.
“There’s a personal thing about this song,” Vallée explains of the haunting “Suzanne.” He wanted the Wild soundtrack to include music Bobbi would have played in the ’70s when her kids were young, letting the songs weave through Cheryl’s mind, often becoming a memory of her mother as she made her trek.
“I have a thing for history, I love this song so much, I’m from Montreal; Leonard Cohen is from Montreal,” said the soft-spoken Vallée.
The young blond girl in the image is Strayed, then known as Cheryl Nyland, at about age 10. And the beautiful brunette woman is Suzanne Verdal, the Suzanne who inspired Cohen’s song.
Vallée [Director of “Wild”] was flabbergasted to learn Verdal and Bobbi were friends when he approached Strayed to talk about Wild’s soundtrack, wanting to include “Suzanne” along with songs by Bruce Springsteen, Simon & Garfunkel and Lucinda Williams among others.
“She goes, ‘Oh I knew Suzanne! I met Suzanne! She was friends with my mom!’ ” said Vallée.
Note: Originally posted Dec 23, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
In Atom Egoyan’s Exotica, Mia Kirshner dances to Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows at a Toronto gentleman’s club inhabited by a group of patrons, dancers, and owners who are connected by previous and ongoing relationships. The film, a prize winner at Cannes and the recipient of French and Canadian honors, is a series of mysteries solved by the revelation of more mysteries – and then presented in a chronologically jumbled manner.
For more on the two films about strippers featuring Cohen songs in the soundtracks – Exotica & Dancing At The Blue Iguana – see A Contemplation Of Leonard Cohen’s Music In Soundtracks Of Two Movies About Strip Clubs.
“Everybody Knows” from Exotica
Note: Originally posted Oct 19, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
While the current cultural mode is to lament and deride the use of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah to invoke a certain contemplative, mournful, dignified tone in movies or TV shows, I remain impressed by the impact the song has in specific instances. A case in point is the employment of John Cale’s version of Leonard Cohen’s classic in “My Old Lady,” the fourth episode of Scrubs’ first season (first broadcast October 16, 2001). The plot features three patients under the care of young doctors who star in the show. All three die, giving their physicians their first experiences with losing patients.
It was forty years ago that I first had a patient under my care die; I still remember the feelings. And, dramatic conventions aside, the concluding scene of this Scrubs episode resonate with that memory – in no small part because of the strains of Hallelujah.
Mby there’s a God above but all I’ve ever learned from <3
was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.
This precise wording appears to be a conflation of the lyrics as sung by Leonard Cohen, Rufus Wainwright, Jeff Buckley, and others. The official lyrics from the 1988 Leonard Cohen concert performance of Hallelujah, released on Cohen Live (1994), follow:
Maybe there’s a God above,
As for me, all I’ve ever seemed to learn from love
Is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.
Aspirin For The Masses is, according to the Vimeo blurb for its trailer,
darkly comic. Winner of more than 50 Film Festival laurels from Milan to Cannes, Beverly Hills to Jakarta, it is the cheapest feature film ever made, shot for $3,500 by an all-volunteer cast and crew.
Directed and written by Adam Nixon, Aspirin for the Masses can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video.
The synopsis from the Adler & Associates Entertainment, Inc. site follows:
Set in Washington DC, “Aspirin for the Masses” is a romantic comedy with no romantic spirit, as couples come together and fall apart. Joni must choose between her Ph.D. common-law husband and her dream lover. Her father Roland is a salesman with a billion-dollar idea, if he can only find angel investors. Michael has a plan to find the cash. Joni’s sister Sioux can become a licensed family therapist if she can keep her hallucinations in check long enough to pass the licensing exam. Filling out the cast are a team of lesbian movers, a teenage boy with a secret identity, a suburban mom who did way too many drugs in the 90’s, in the 80’s, in the 70’s, and in the 60’s, and Kelly, a first year pharmacy student – and former beauty queen – who steals drugs to pay her tuition.