I recently got to see Little Miss Sunshine at its opening screening here in Colorado Springs, and I was pleased as punch with the quirky, bright, eclectic music throughout, provided mainly by DeVotchKa and Sufjan Stevens. I was even more pleased (and instantly knew I would have to write something about this) when our local paper The Gazette ran an article about DeVotchKa’s Colorado heritage. It spurred me to take a closer listen to the so-called “indie rock with a circus-polkacabaret-Eastern-European spin” featured in the film.
For a movie like this, you are looking for music exactly like DeVotchKa: it has to be jangly and a little weird, not afraid of experimentation but catchy & likeable — just like the characters in the movie. Music producers for the film heard DeVotchKa on Los Angeles radio and sought out the Denver band, who ultimately ended up writing the bulk of the film’s soundtrack alongside composer Mychael Danna.
As for the film itself, on the surface Little Miss Sunshine is a humorous look at a quirky family road trip (kind of like a very dysfunctional Partridge Family with less singing and more porn?). While there are wildly funny parts, and it is being billed as a comedy, there are also interactions and lines of dialogue which cut a lot deeper than that. In keeping with the #1 rule of moviemaking, the road trip is never just a road trip, but instead a path to some sort of redemption for each character involved. Overall it was a satisfyingly idiosyncratic flick that fosters some deeper thinking as well (topics like parenting, failure, unreturned affections, self-image, child beauty pageants, all that good stuff).
BONUS: One other reason why I love Steve Carell (who shines in this movie): Watch as he interviews himself about the filming of Little Miss Sunshine, with great background music of “Walkin’ On Sunshine” and The Flaming Lips:
(This just reminds me how I can’t wait for The Office to return.)
“But it was okay, because it was a dry heat?”