Moonrise Kingdom
Song: “The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, op. 34: Themes A.-F.” by Benjamin Britten and the New York Philharmonic

Every time we start to watch a movie we a transported to a different universe. It doesn’t matter if it’s a massive sci-fi epic or a tough, gritty drama based on a true story – with each new film the audience is brought into a new world with new characters, new tales to be told, and new things to be seen. In his latest film, Moonrise Kingdom, writer/director Wes Anderson took that idea to a very literal place and opened the story with the instructional track “The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra” by Benjamin Britten and the New York Philharmonic.

With an almost completely dialogue-less opening sequence, Anderson utilizes the track to immediately establish the mood and then uses that mood to give us all the information we need, both for the plot and aesthetically. The music introduces Moonrise Kingdom’s theme as well as the director’s trademark tracking cinematography, while also opening us up to the story, with the troubled Suzy (Kara Hayward) shown looking through her binoculars at the end of almost every shot, before she finally goes to the mailbox and receives a private letter from Sam (Jared Gilman). It’s an ingenious opening that sets up everything for one of the finest films of the year.

Song: “Thunder Song” by Seth MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg

Seth MacFarlane knew exactly what he had when he wrote the “Thunder Song” for his directorial feature debut – how else do you explain how it was the first scene in the film’s first trailer? For starters, any song that has the lyrics “Fuck you, thunder! You can suck my dick” and ends with a fart sound is gold off the bat, but it’s even better just because of how well the song fits the characters and their relationships.

While I don’t mean to offend anyone reading this, being afraid of thunder is a phobia almost exclusively found in children (mostly because adults know it just as the sound lightning makes). So what fear is perfect for an irresponsible 40-year-old named John (Wahlberg) who does nothing but smoke pot and chill with his anthropomorphic stuffed bear, Ted (MacFarlane)? And when else do you have the fear make itself known other than when John is in bed with his beautiful girlfriend (Mila Kunis) who wants nothing more than for him to grow up? The “Thunder Song” is featured on this list because it was one of the funniest scenes in Ted - which is a hysterical comedy all around anyway – but it’s good to find the intelligence behind it as well.

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