Inside Llewyn Davis
"Please Mr. Kennedy" by Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver
It would be impossible to have a conversation about the best movie music moments of 2013 without mention of Joel and Ethan Coen’s extraordinary Inside Llewyn Davis. The tale of a Greenwich Village folk singer trying to get back in the early 1960s, the film shows a deep appreciation for the genre at the heart of the story and takes great pride in the real performances by the actors. From Oscar Isaac’s heartbreaking rendition of "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me," to a troupe of Irish singers in nice sweaters singing an a cappella version of "The Auld Triangle," this entire list could entirely consist of songs from the Coens’ latest bit of genius, but if I’m going to pick one it has to be the in-studio performance of "Please Mr. Kennedy."

An intentionally bad song that is partially based on a track from a folk outfit called The Goldcoast Singers back in 1961, "Please Mr. Kennedy" represents the exact level of phony that the eponymous Llewyn (played by the excellent Oscar Isaac) can’t stand, which makes the sequence in the film where he performs it all the funnier. Amazing as that is, however, it’s actually the supporting cast that makes the scene so perfect. Between Justin Timberlake’s ridiculously cheery disposition and terrible lyrics and Adam Driver’s bizarre baritone vocal stylings both before and during the song’s performance, you’re laughing from the moment the sequence starts until it ends. And then, of course, there’s the way that the song comes back to bite Llewyn in the ass at the end of the story…

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