June 14, 2006

Out of Sight

One of my favorite “ultimate package” movies –creative camera work, smoking soundtrack, clever script– is the Stephen Soderbergh-directed Out of Sight (1998), based on the novel by Elmore Leonard. I always enjoy watching this one, with George Clooney’s perfectly charming bank robber role, Jennifer Lopez’s badass federal marshall chasing him down, and the variety of characters that intersect the hunt (Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn). Mix in a heavy dose of sexual tension, crime sprees, greasy trunk rides, “short little Latin fellas,” and magician’s assistants, alongside the signature jumpy cinematography, chronology leaps, and quick edits that are typical Soderbergh (Oceans 11, Traffic). You’ve got a stylish winner.

Coming as a precursor to the retro-influenced high stakes sounds of the Oceans 11 series, here David Holmes has crafted a hot Miami-laced soundtrack that has received more spins on my player than any other soundtrack I own, especially in the summertime. Here are a few samples — the soundtrack is a feisty blending of old-school soul, funk, and R&B mixed with tension-filled instrumental mood music (and nary a J. Lo song in sight).

I Think You Flooded It – David Holmes

Fight The Power (Pt. 2) – Isley Brothers

The Trunk Scene – David Holmes

I’ll leave you with a quote that always gets me: even though it’s really just Dr. Doug Ross and Jenny From The Block, the story from Leonard and the direction by Soderbergh captures such a great sense of kismet in the doomed connection between their characters.

Clooney’s character says:

“It’s something that just happens. It’s like seeing a person you never saw before – you could be passing on the street – you look at each other and for a few seconds, there’s a kind of recognition. Like you both know something.

But then the next moment the person’s gone, and it’s too late to do anything about it, but you remember it because it was right there and you let it go, and you think, ‘What if I had stopped and said something?’ It might happen only a few times in your life.”

J-Lo: “Or once.”

Clooney: (long pause) “Why don’t we get out of here.”

Yeah, it’s like that.

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  • Hiya Heather, fellow Colorodoan (by way of NYC…native), I do remember this movie had some good undertow of tension…great tunes though!!! Always enjoy the Mongo version of ‘Watermelon Man’ !

    DaysofNoah — June 14, 2006 @ 5:27 pm

  • I think this blog is out of sight.

    kingseyeland — June 14, 2006 @ 6:41 pm

  • Out of Sight is definitely one of my favorite movies of the past 20 years, hands down.

    I’ve never shown it to anyone and had them be disappointed with it either…it’s just that good.

    Chad — June 15, 2006 @ 12:41 am

  • Hey Heather, you want for me to send you some stuff from the dialogue-less version? It’s the whole score, too. Funky stuff indeed. Have the same thing for Ocean’s Eleven, if you want it. Let me know what file type you prefer.

    ShaunR — June 15, 2006 @ 1:15 am

  • Jeez, that quote sounds a lot like that British guy’s sappy-assed ‘you’re beautiful’ song. Don’t get all Top 40 on us here, we expect you to reamin strong.

    Ben — June 15, 2006 @ 5:01 am

  • *gasp*

    Ben, are you equating George Clooney with James Blunt? A pox on you! Have you seen the movie? Maybe it sounds sappy here when I write it, but it’s not in the movie, I don’t think -

    heather — June 15, 2006 @ 8:13 am

  • Heather, no I haven’t seen the movie so I need to reserve judgement, but honestly you can’t blame me for not being the first in line to watch a Ms. Lopez movie. Clooney is all right, he has that swagger that usually makes women all wobbly, and I can appreciate that. But J.Lo – yikes.

    Ben — June 15, 2006 @ 9:18 am

  • Ben, see the movie! I promise, it’s not what it sounds like. I won’t let you down.

    PLUS, I thought no man (and many women for that matter) was immune to the rotund charms of her posterior. Even I like seeing it in those grey knit shorts in this movie, and I am straight as an arrow.

    Even white boys got ta’ shout.

    heather — June 15, 2006 @ 9:21 am

  • Oh, and Shaunr, YES, please send me whatever additional soundtracking you’ve got for Out of Sight (even though I personally LOVE it with the dialogue snippets), and I’ll take the Oceans 11 as well.

    send it to my gmail account, mp3 is best.


    heather — June 15, 2006 @ 9:22 am

  • Now I gotta go see that. Thanks, Heather.

    Jeff, still older than dirt, — June 15, 2006 @ 9:39 am

  • Thanks for the tunes! One of my favorite movies oat (of all time) too. And STEVE ZAHN IS A FRIKKIN’ RIOT! And there are overlapping characters (and a similar vibe) with Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (both are based Elmore Leonard books).

    Dan — June 15, 2006 @ 10:40 am

  • Great film, great soundtrack.

    I don’t know why but the line, “No more time outs” slays me everytime.

    I happen to think George Clooney is the best modern actor around at the moment. He’s just so effortlessly cool. Have you seen “Goodnight and God Luck”? Best film I’ve see in an absolute age.

    coxon le woof — June 15, 2006 @ 3:33 pm

  • Great blog, Heather! And yes, “Out of Sight” is a great movie with a great soundtrack (but if you don’t like the movie, you may hate how the dialogue intrudes on tracks like “It’s Your Thing”). And for people who hate Jennifer Lopez, she does a great job in this movie. Some actors are more spontaneous with certain directors, which is the case here. But I think it’s hard for Steven Soderbergh to get a bad performance from any actor.

    You also have to remember that “Out of Sight” came out in June ’98, almost a year before J. Lo’s first album was released and the overexposure began. People weren’t sick of her yet, and therefore she received the credit she deserved for this movie. Her on-screen chemistry with Clooney is undeniable (which is probably why they never hooked up in real life, e.g. Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd).

    I’m a proofreader for a living, so here are a few comments about the track listing on the back of the “Out of Sight” CD. First off, it’s Mongo, not Mungo, Santamaria. Second, the soundtrack includes Pt. 1 and 2 of “Fight the Power,” not just Pt. 2. Third, Walter Wanderley’s last name ends in “ley,” not “ly.” Three big typos on the back of the CD really surprises me, but I’m sure it’s not the first time. Aside from that, a highly recommended soundtrack.

    Mulberry Panda 96 — June 19, 2006 @ 11:31 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

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