When I talk about the use of music in movies, I throw around a lot of names (Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson and Martin Scorsese are the most common) but I often forget to include the Coen Brothers. And that’s a major oversight, because these guys have done great things with music in all their films.
Start with the original scores, all penned by the wonderful Carter Burwell. From the banjo-and-yodel version of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ in Raising Arizona to the pounding bass drums of Fargo‘s Nordic-inspired title song; from Barton Fink‘s edgy violins to that gorgeous and melancholy Miller’s Crossing theme.
But they’ve made great use of songs as well. Take Albert Finney’s triumphant escape from ambush set to a soul-stirring rendition of ‘Danny Boy’ in Miller’s Crossing or The Dude’s drug-enhanced bowling-themed dream sequence set to Kenny Rogers’ ‘Just Dropped In.’
And of course their most popular soundtrack of all (it even won a Best Album Grammy) was the collection of songs featured in O Brother Where Art Thou, their hilarious blend of hick and Homer.
In this scene, three escaped fugitives and a friend they picked up on the road pose as The Soggy Bottom Boys and “sing into a can” for some spending money. Take it away, boys!