Celluloid Heroes: Must Be The Season of the Kinks
For a group that began making music 45 years ago, The Kinks are doing quite well this season in movie royalty checks. At least three recent movies have featured songs by the British invasion band, which graduated from "You Really Got Me'' to a quiet intellectual cult phase, a New Wave appreciation by The Jam and The Pretenders, and a heavier metal rebirth.
The Kinks make themselves heard in the just-released "Juno'' when studious and unglamorous high-schooler (and possible dad-to-be) Michael Cera is getting dressed in his track gear, rubbing deodorant on his thighs. "He's a well-respected man about town,'' sings Ray Davies in The Kinks's 1965 hit of the same name.
Indeed, ha ha.
The Jason Reitman movie attempts much of the same sensibility as a film by Wes Anderson, whose latest, "The Darjeeling Limited,'' had three Kinks tunes from the group's 1970 album, "Lola versus The Powerman and the Money-go-round.'' One of the "Darjeeling'' songs, "This Time Tomorrow,'' was featured in the movie's trailer, and another, "Strangers,'' came at the moment "brothers'' Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman stop simply traveling through India and actually interact with its people. In his earlier film "Rushmore,'' Anderson also used a melancholy Ray Davies song, "Nothing In This World Can Stop Me From Worrying About The Girl'' to back a cannonball splash and swim by sad-sack rich guy Bill Murray.
Oh, the third film? That would the pump-up-the-volume cops movie "Hot Fuzz.'' And how better to introduce the movie's big joke, that "Lethal Weapon'' could happen in a quiet Cotswolds town, than with The Kinks "The Village Green Preservation Society?''
Soon after that ode to orderly, uneventful small-town life sounds? Yes, you guessed it, blood.
"Everybody's in showbiz, and everybody's a star,'' Davies sang three-and-a-half decades ago on "Celluloid Heroes.''
For The Kinks, who ended up exploring different terrain that most love-stuck bands, that celluloid moment is now, as current filmmakers plumb the work of a classic band that matches their contemporary mix of irony, satire, and detachment.