Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Soundtrack That Will Help You Remember the Titans


Remember the Titans is a film full of football, racial tension, family, triumph, devastation, and the softening of hard hearts.  Most of all, however, this film contains and preaches brotherhood and loving one another for who they are on the inside no matter the color of their skin.  The most memorable song in the film is “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.  The song comes on while the players are in the locker room after practice and the changing room turns into a stage as many of the players, both black and white, begin to sing and dance to the tune.  Even the more stubborn white players can’t help but tap their feet and sing along to the melody. 
The song is iconic and in my mind, will forever be associated with this film.  As memorable as this song and scene is, would the scene be just as memorable even if a different song was chosen?  It was necessary for the song to be something that was very well known (ethos) in order to connect to the audience and to make it more realistic that all the characters would know the song and be inclined to sing along.  The song does just that, and has immortalized the scene in film history.
(The song starts at 1:27, but the "Yo Momma" jokes that are told beforehand are worth watching 😁)

Before most of the players began getting along, (as portrayed in the scene above) it took a powerful speech to bring the separated team together.  The scene begins with the players being woken up at three o’clock in the morning to go on a run.  As the coaches and players begin the run, Leon Russell’s rendition of “It’s a Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” starts to play in the background.  Although the lyrics and original recording by Bob Dylan imply that the song has a somber undertone, this particular version is quite upbeat.  The scene that is being played over it involves the football team having to run for what appears to be a long time through the woods.  The run takes them through shallow waters and rugged terrain and is a grueling task.  If it were to be watched on mute, the feeling the scene gives off is anything but happy.  The contrasting music gives the audience a feeling 

that maybe the work the boys are putting in on this run will lead to something good.  The song tapers off once the team reaches their destination.  The coach has taken them to the site where the Battle of Gettysburg was fought a hundred years before.  The ensuing speech about coming together despite each other’s race, is accompanied by inspirational orchestral music in the background . Adding the background music to the speech brings the actor’s words to life as he delves into the issues surrounding the world and his team (pathos).  For this pivotal moment to have the desired effect on an audience, the orchestral crescendo was definitely needed.  The soundtrack of this film turned this high quality movie into a timeless classic.

Some of my favorite parts of the film:

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