The Good, The Bad & the Weird: The Tribeca Film Festival & The True Test of How Good a Movie Is


This year, Tribeca Film Festival is undeniably exploring the parallel between music and film. The two elements are constantly playing off one another and American Express brought together Billboard editor Joe Levy, The National leader singer Matt Berninger, filmmaker Todd Haynes and Grammy Award-winning hip hop artist Q-Tip to verbally illustrate how this happens for audience of not just American Express cardholders but members of the press. They talked about the good, the bad, and the just plain weird when it comes how music—panelists' works included—is used in motion pictures.

The good…

“Often our music will be put into a scene to support what's happening and often it will be used when there are two characters in love and it will be used to ramp up that romance,” said Berninger whose brother is actually showing a film at the festival. “So it's adding more syrup to an already sweet thing, and it's fine, it works, sometimes.”

“One of songs was in this movie, Warrior. It's about mixed martial arts, and they used our saddest, slowest song, in the most brutal way,” said Berninger. “These two brothers were in a martial arts championship, and they're just beating each other senseless. They used it in a way that I thought was so beautiful, they were trying to make the emotion they were feeling inside clear. It was a beautiful, powerful moment.”

…the bad…

“When a film came out in the '90s, if there was a certain demographic or you're going for a certain type of theme, there's a soundtrack and it's loaded with like, a song from Seal, a song from the Cranberries, whoever was around in the '90s and that was the pomp and circumstance that music and film had where now, it's much more integrated into it,” said Q-Tip.

And the just plain weird

“There was this TV show, one of those shows that kind of throw songs in every scene in the background, there were two characters–they actually worked the song into the plot line,” said Berninger. “They were having sex on the bed to one our rock songs and she pulls out a cd from underneath her. Definitely odd.”

The true test of how good a movie is? Turn down the sound. “When I watch films now, there is almost a musicality to the way stories are written and the direction, ” Q-Tip said. “You can feel music more in film.” Haynes agrees, “It's kind of like Tip said, can you tell what's going on without sound? To me that's the real test. You can't rest on the dialogue.”