Remembering Tony Scott
I just found out about Tony Scott’s suicide.
Tony Scott was one of my favorite directors. In film school, I’d often compare him and his brother by saying, “Ridley is classical music while Tony’s rock ‘n’ roll. Do I prefer one over the other? Yes. Can I pick which one right now? No.” In recent years, I’ve gravitated towards Ridley Scott’s body of work, but if I were to be honest, my fascination with film began with Tony Scott.
When I was six years old, my dad came home talking about a movie he had seen. He had really liked it. I couldn’t tell what the story was about, but I knew it had fighter planes in it and I knew the title: Top Gun. Immediately, I wanted to see the movie. Any movie my dad raved about, I had to see. My parents said I was too young, “but maybe someday.” In the meantime, I’d have to be happy with the next best thing: The soundtrack. I don’t know if it was actually one of the first CD’s my dad bought, but it (along with Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A.) was the first I remember him bringing home. I used to listen to it, trying to imagine what must be happening during each song. Some of my friends had seen the movie and I took the stories they told and replayed them as I listened to the soundtrack over and over again.
It’s funny. Top Gun wasn’t the first soundtrack to come into our house. The first record I remember owning was the soundtrack to Ghostbusters. Perhaps it was because I was hearing the soundtrack before I saw the movie. Perhaps it was because my dad, at the time in the Air Force, was the definition of “cool” to me. Perhaps it had something to do with the music itself, but it was the first time I really realized that movies had music in them and that music could exist outside of that movie. It would end up being later that I would finally see Top Gun but it had already left its mark on me. I was watching movies completely differently. I was listening to them. I was picking out what songs were being used and found myself astounded when movies didn’t have songs in them, just music. It was a couple of years later I bought my first CD: John Williams’ score to Jurassic Park. The rest, it could be said, is history.
Except it’s not. It’s still going. Tony Scott’s legacy lives on. He may no longer be with us, but his life’s work is. It will always be here to fall back on, to revisit, to review, and to re-listen to. I’m not going to try to priortize which are his best films. But I thought I’d share a couple of my favorites.
Tom Cruise. Val Kilmer. Anthony Edwards. Meg Ryan. Tom Skerritt. Kelly McGillis. Kenny Loggins. I think I was ten when I finally got to see this and man, was it worth the wait. I still listen to this soundtrack and I still fill the need . . . the need for speed!
Spy Game isn’t in my Top 10 Favorite Films of All Time, but it might be #11. Robert Redford and Brad Pitt in a buddy spy thriller? There is nothing not to like about this.
Tony Scott directing a Quentin Tarantino script is all you need to know about this movie, but I’ll also throw in Hans Zimmer’s fantastic score (which I am listening to now).
This movie is a little bit of a mess. The plot (provided by Donnie Darko‘s Richard Kelly) is overly complicated and has nothing to do with the true-life story it’s supposedly based on. But it’s got a wicked sense of humor and I’ve never not enjoyed watching it.
Enemy of the State
You have freshly-minted international film star Will Smith. You have Gene Hackman more-or-less reprising his role from The Conversation. You have Jason Lee as a duck enthusiast and Jon Voight being a bad guy you love to hate. Oh, also, a script that was punched-up by Aaron Sorkin.
Tony Scott: Gone, never forgotten.