Karaoke? Yeah baby!

Joseph-Gordon-Levitt-500-Days-SummerSpontaneously bursting into song, that’s what it’s all about. By ‘it’ I mean random and unexpected musical scenes in films. They are like little rays of cinematic sunshine.

And, like all good moments of music that you experience in your life, a lot of these will have stayed with you as fond memories; for me, I’ve always had a soft spot for the songs in A Life Less Ordinary and Empire Records.

Some of these you may have seen coming – karaoke for example – but some, I imagine, took you by surprise in a wonderful way, as they did me. Here’s my selection:

‘Don’t Stop Believing’ Chris Evans – The Losers
Need to ensure no one gets in the lift with you? Just sing Journey with gusto. An unexpected and genuinely hilarious scene, one which works due to Evans’ ballsy delivery.


‘Beyond The Sea’
Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz – A Life Less Ordinary
A great scene in this underrated Danny Boyle film. It got me hooked on Bobby Darin for a fair while and remains one of my favourite Cameron Diaz performances.


‘Sugar High’
Renee Zellweger – Empire Records
It’s hard to pick one scene in a film packed with musical gems. This one is so much fun that it makes the cut. And Zellweger is so sweet singing her little heart out.


‘Hey Ma’
Anna Kendrick and Jake Gyllenhaal – End Of Watch
Apparently on a long drive the two actors were mucking about singing in character with director David Ayer in the back seat. He caught this and stuck it in the movie. That’s a moment.


‘Brass In Pocket’
Scarlett Johansson – Lost In Translation
This Sofia Coppola film which gave Scarlett her break remains my favourite of her performances. As she donned a pink wig, Bill Murray’s resistance was futile.


‘These Eyes’
Michael Cera – Superbad
Comedy that stands the test of time, now that’s tough. This film holds up though. A modern classic, encapsulated in this memorable scene. The hurtin’s on me yeah!


‘Here Comes Your Man’
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – 500 Days Of Summer
I have to say, I know one or two girls that would fall over themselves to get a piece of Gordon-Levitt. Here he gives us a masterclass in how to effortlessly rock a tank top.


‘Afternoon Delight’
Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner – Anchorman
Remember the first time you saw this film? Every scene held a wonderful surprise. This one was a classic example as I doubt anyone saw this 1976 song by the Starland Vocal Band coming.


‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’
Tom Cruise – Top Gun
I am sure I’m not the only one that’s had mates reenact this in the direction of unsuspecting women; essentially cornering them till the song is done. Ladies do love a crooner.


‘New York New York’
Carey Mulligan – Shame
Filmed with Mulligan singing live in one unbroken shot, this scene is so raw and affecting that I’ve only been able to watch it twice. Along with Fassbender, Mulligan elevated this film to pure art.


‘He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands’
Steve Buscemi – Con Air
Supremely creepy, yet mesmerising in a way. An innocuous little scene in the middle of this – clearly quite bonkers – Michael Bay movie has Buscemi singing like a loon as their plane prepares to crash.


‘Blue Shadows’
Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short – Three Amigos
This 1986 John Landis classic was packed with wonderfully witty musical ditties. Whilst ‘My Little Buttercup’ tends to get all the plaudits, honorable mention should go to this song too.

Behold! Cinema’s best movie bromances

Romances are ok, but in all honesty they’re for girls aren’t they? Far better to go for a good bromance, there’s nothing fluffy or lightweight there. Male bonding, get in!

Often a good bromance is deeply rooted in a dramatic situation or blossoms in the face of adversity – it’s a complex relationship with meat on the bones. With that in mind, I’d like to celebrate a few of the best out there. Remember, it’s like they say in Top Gun, ‘…after the taste of success, one of life’s little joys…is the boys!’

Riggs-And-MurtaughLethal Weapon films (1987-1998) – Riggs and Murtaugh
Did they coin the term ‘buddy cop movie’? Unlikely. But they did make a strong claim for the best set of films to wear that tag with pride. The bond between Mel Gibson’s Riggs and Danny Glover’s Murtaugh was a joy to watch throughout.

Bad Boys (1995) – Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey
Will Smith at the height of his powers riffing off Martin Lawrence. Even Michael Bay couldn’t spoil the love shining through, loosely hidden beneath bitching and practical jokes. ‘Bad boys, bad boys, watcha gonna do!

Swingers-Jon-Favreau-Vince-VaughnSwingers (1996) – Mike and Trent
You’re money and you don’t even know it.‘ Trent (Vince Vaughn) spends the majority of the film boosting Mike’s (Jon Favreau) self-confidence following a breakup, proving that – ultimately – it’s your mates that help you through.

Jerry Maguire (1996) – Rod Tidwell and Jerry Maguire
There’s countless scenes to pick – the whole movie is pure bromance. Ok, there’s a bit of romance in there, I’ll give you that. But for every romance scene with Zellweger’s Dorothy, Cuba Gooding’s Tidwell gets a bromance scene to match.

shaun of the dead ed shaunShaun of the Dead (2004) – Shaun and Ed
Hot Fuzz (2007) – Nicholas and Danny
To be honest you could take any of the films that feature Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, such is the real life friendship these two have it shines through, lending itself perfectly to characters they play. You could watch them hang out all day.

Starsky & Hutch (2004) – David Starsky and Ken Hutchinson
Ben Stiller’s buttoned-down Starsky and Owen Wilson’s cavalier Hutch – a perfect mismatch with bromance in abundance. Wished they’d done a follow up in some ways. Here’s the knife-throwing scene to bring back happy memories.

superbadbromanceSuperbad (2007) – Seth and Evan
Two rising stars at the time – Jonah Hill and Michael Cera – gave their characters such sweetness and depth. You really felt for them, particularly at a tender moment near the end where they’re parting company and moving on with their lives.

Sherlock Holmes (2009) – Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson
Guy Ritchie struck gold bagging Downey Jr for the lead with the dependable Jude Law as the trusty Watson. An enticing cocktail of razor-sharp wit and action followed and a new buddy action franchise was born.

2009_the_damned_united_018The Damned United (2009) – Brian Clough and Peter Taylor
Acting giants Michael Sheen and Tim Spall play Clough and Taylor and both put in brilliant performances, as you’d expect. You think maybe they’re not that close, till they fall out and reunite in a touching scene.

End of Watch (2012) – Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala
Made all the more poignant and heartfelt by the way Gyllenhaal and Pena built the bond between their characters with every scene. Just two LA beat cops who are brothers in all but blood. You’re right there with them to the bitter end.

Emma Stone – rising star of Hollywood

wichita zombielandThere’s something about Emma Stone, only I cannot pinpoint her appeal. Maybe that’s part of her appeal? The other night I watched The Amazing Spider-Man – the latest franchise reboot – and Stone is great in it. Strong chemistry with Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker, as you’d expect now they’re dating in real life.

There’s not many young actresses out there that have sublime, comic timing combined with dramatic talent. Stone does in abundance.

Hollywood – an industry always looking for the next bankable star – picked up on this quickly, casting her in a variety of roles; from comedy to action, indie to blockbuster spectacles – make no mistake, Miss Stone’s star is on the rise.

We have take-off
Ever since she broke into the A-list in 2007 as Jules in Superbad, she’s gone from strength to strength. So, too, have the three young, male actors: Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Michael Cera and Jonah Hill – each having starred in some brilliant films in the last few years.

After Superbad, for me, her next effortlessly cool character was Wichita in Ruben Fleischer’s 2009 film, Zombieland. Perfectly cast opposite another actor good at mixing intelligent delivery with sharp, witty, comic lines, Jessie Eisenberg. Admittedly she didn’t have too much to do in this film, but played her part well.

easy_a_emma_stoneMoving into the stratosphere
In 2010, she made a significant step up playing fantastically-named lead character, Olive Penderghast, in comedy Easy A. A super-smart, teen comedy with a killer script. With so many witty, excellent lines, the film seemed tailored with Stone in mind. Indeed, she gained a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.

2011 was also a strong year, she starred in 1960s drama, The Help – a critical and commercial success. She also played opposite Ryan Gosling in another smart rom-com, Crazy, Stupid Love.

No matter what roles she’s cast in or what male actor she’s opposite, Stone just seems to come across so relaxed and natural. Smart, sassy, easygoing, but gives as good as she gets – dare I say it, perfect girlfriend material? Perhaps that’s another part of her appeal, both guys and girls want to hang out with her. She seems fun, likeable and accessible.

emma stone gangster squad ryan goslingGoing supernova
So what’s next? Well, we can look forward to Stone in next year’s crime flick, Gangster Squad. With a really strong cast, this film reunites Stone with Zombieland Director Ruben Fleischer and her Crazy, Stupid Love co-star Ryan Gosling – so expect sparks, drama and Tommy guns!

Also, she’ll most likely have some other films up her sleeve for next year. Furthermore, with the latest Spider-man reboot seen largely as a success, she’ll reprise her role as Gwen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, scheduled for 2014. So, all in all, things are looking good for Hollywood’s golden girl!