Thursday, November 13, 2008

That LIVE Song from "Zach and Miri Make a Porno"

Last night I finally went to see writer/director Kevin Smith's newest movie "Zach and Miri Make a Porno," which was released on October 31. I had been wanting to see it, but was a little hesitant because I had only heard "eh, it's alright" reviews. But I ended up really enjoying must know I am an easy laugh when it comes to pseudo-intellectual comedies (from Knocked Up to Spinal Tap to Caddyshack to Old School) so keep that in mind as you read the following. With that being said, the reason I bring up my over-active funnybone is actually to discusss the music in the film.

For starters, I love dissecting how a director uses various songs against the canvas of a movie or TV show. When I leave a movie without thinking, "What was that song in the one scene..." I'm usually left with a *blah* feeling about the whole experience. A well-placed tune, for me, represents a perfect storm of visual, auditory and emotional stimulation. Exceptional marriages of film and song can be amazing like, "Tiny Dancer" in Almost Famous or "Canned Heat" at the end of Napolean Dynamite. Luckily, there was one such song, ("Lift Me Up" by Live) employed expertly by Kevin Smith, during Zach and Miri.

During this particular scene, it comes time for Zach (Seth Rogen) to have sex with Miri (Elizabeth Banks) on top of a pile of coffee bean sacks (no pun intended). Now, I think that we can all agree that there are two distinct types of sex in film: 1) Rougher, devoid of emotion screwing/fucking and 2) Softer, sensual love making. I think it's fair to say that the music played during said coitus has a significant role in determining which type of sex the audience is seeing or is being conveyed off-screen. This is exactly why the use of Live's "Lift Me Up" was so perfect. Instead of seeming like Zach and Miri were simply screwing for money to pay their past-due bills in an emotionless porno, the lyrics ("I'll lift you up, we can love or cry / Hey, I'm in love, I'll take you up again / Your eyes have too many colors and I can only try") and the manner in which it goes back and forth between rock balladry and arena rock made the scene feel like two human beings actually making love.

After doing a bit of research, the song was a demo during the Throwing Copper (1994) recording sessions, and somehow didn't make the cut. On an album that sold 8 million copies, I can't make the argument it was sorely missed. This song works on a number of levels in the movie. The band Live are from York, PA which is only 200 miles due east of Monroeville (suburb of Pittsburgh) where the movie was shot and takes place. In addition, I have to think Kevin Smith has serious clout to get an unreleased song from 14 years ago into a movie (n.b. it somehow didn't make it onto the official soundtrack, and therefor will remain unreleased).

In summation, "Lift Me Up" was an excellent song choice for Zach and Miri's sex scene. It's a mostly unknown song by a band that is local to the location of the movie, it hits all the right lyrical and emotional buttons, and really puts a stamp on the scene to scream "THIS IS CENTRAL TO THE PLOT". It goes to show that excellent song choices in movies and TV can have a dramatic effect on the storytelling but also the emotional connection to the audience. When a great song like this is chosen you can't imagine the scene happening without it, nor could you think of a better musical selection in its place. Below is the best version of the song I was able to find. Enjoy.

"Lift Me Up"

P.S. you can now buy a Monroeville Zombies t-shirt HERE


Anonymous said...

Haven't seen it yet, but Kevin Smith never fails (I refuse to watch "Jersey Girl" for the record). And Kevin Smith + Live = Amazing. If you don't love Live, you're a commie (with the exception of the entirety of Secret Samadhi). Well stated Ethan.



NoFanofLiveorSocialism said...

Now that's a quality post w/ a message!

LRybal said...

Ooh thanks for posting the song! I'm a big fan.

hannah said...

dude....awesome. Many, many thanks for posting the song. I'm a deep fan, and would have had no idea even where to start looking if not for you. thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I would very much like to thank you. You have made my day. After having seen the movie with my girlfriend, there's nothing better we would've wanted than enjoying it again. I've been looking everywhere for it.

Anonymous said...

Just another thanks for posting this.
Much like the acoustic version of Death Cab for Cutie's "Soul Meets Body", there is nowhere to get this then through the kindness of others.

Anonymous said...

Just a quick note, the song is actually called Hold Me up, but otherwise you're 100% accurate, great song, i heard it once live and never since.

There's a semi-decent copy of the song from the Demo

Tony said...

Saw the movie today, and was immediatly struck by the song. How could this have been keep in the vault for so long - then again, perhaps it was the time in the vault that made it such a belter in the movie.

I am grateful to have found your posts as I have trauled the internet for many hours up until this point.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to express my gratitude...thanks a lot.

Willem's Sailboat said...

I know, what a tune.......and again so fitting to the integrity of the actual love scene.

For anyone who found the downloads floating around a bit "demo-y" I have made my own attempt at a better copy using Audacity. The cymbal intro had to go cos it sounded like it was in a tunnel post-compression but Everything else is there and I tweaked the bass, equalization and managed to get rid of the volume "dips".

Get it at: Me Up (Zack and Miri).mp3

Please leave any feedback on mediafire or email me at:

Anonymous said...

Thanks heaps for the write up! I've included and excerpt from your review on my blog and linked it back to you. It'll be up momentarily.

HOORAY for the Live track.

52CANCIONES said...

Great post and superb blog.
Thanks a million!

Shaun said...

Hey thanks! Live have actually gained a new fan thanks to you :)

Mike said...

I just saw this movie the other day and I was actually moved by this scene due in no small part to the song. It really did come together perfectly and hit me (someone not easily moved to emotion) in all the right places.