Song of the Day #4,863: ‘Save Me’ – Aimee Mann

Boogie Nights bought Paul Thomas Anderson enough creative capital to do whatever the hell he wanted on his next film, and he spent every penny of it. He delivered 1999’s Magnolia, a 3+ hour melodrama that follows a dozen main characters and culminates in a rain of frogs.

This is a glorious, full-hearted mess of a movie. It could easily lose 20-30 minutes (something Anderson himself now admits) and yet its grand ambition is one of its greatest charms. And as a time capsule of Anderson’s early development as an auteur, I’m glad it exists in its fascinating, imperfect original form.

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Song of the Day #2,476: ‘Wise Up (Live)’ – Aimee Mann

magnolia_wise_upThis list is dominated by directors I number among my favorites, which raises the question: Am I listing these songs because I love the films of these directors, or do I love the films of these directors in part because of how well they use these songs?

I’ll argue for the latter. My favorite filmmakers make great use of music, whether it’s Woody Allen’s Gershwin tunes, Spielberg’s John Williams scores or Wes Anderson’s ear for 60s Brit Pop.

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