Farrelly Brothers // Electric Light Orchestra “Showdown” (1973); Smashmouth “Do It Again” (2000); Billy Stewart “Summertime” (1966)

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Look, with a 2-minute graphic diarrhea scene, you either find it funny or you don’t. In other words, you probably either love Farrelly Brothers movies or hate them. Unimaginably gross, dreadfully inappropriate, off-puttingly dark, hopelessly juvenile? Check, check, check and check. Yes, I love them. I’d guess that the Farrelly’s are probably best known for their first film, “Dumb And Dumber” (1994), the cinematic marvel in which Jeff Daniels’ explosive scatological episode is featured, and “There’s Something About Mary” (1998), where Cameron Diaz unwittingly utilizes some unusual hair gel. Farther down their list are my three favorites, the one released in between, “Kingpin” (1996), which stars Woody Harrelson as a debased bowler with a prosthetic hand, and the two shortly thereafter, “Me, Myself & Irene” (2000), where Jim Carrey is overtaken by a psychotic multiple personality disorder, and “Stuck On You” (2003), on the life of Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear as conjoined twins. Just your typical fodder for feature length Hollywood comedy filmmaking.

Whether or not the premises or humor are quite up your alley, though, one thing I do find indisputable is the Farrelly’s exceptional and eclectic use of pop music in their movies (in “There’s Something About Mary” they even incorporated indie-folk legend Jonathan Richman playing songs as a recurring character appearing throughout the film). So, briefly regarding the three featured songs here…My favorite musical scene in “Kingpin” features Electric Light Orchestra’s gem ‘Showdown’ as the perfect dramatic backdrop to Harrelson’s tournament-concluding matchup with Bill Murray as Ernie “Big Ern” McCracken (in my book, right alongside Caddyshack’s Carl Spackler and Stripes’s John Winger as the greatest of Murray’s many insanely ludicrous characters). And while Jim Carrey spastically shifts between his split personalities in “Me, Myself & Irene” (or as the movie’s non-PC promotional poster described, “From Gentle to Mental”), the soundtrack is dotted, inexplicably, with 8 different oddball covers of Steely Dan songs, including this cool one of ‘Do It Again’ by the often (rightfully) maligned Smashmouth. Lastly, the finale scene in “Stuck On You” has Greg Kinnear appearing in a Martha’s Vineyard theatrical production singing ‘Summertime’, George & Ira Gershwin’s mid-‘30’s classic from “Porgy and Bess”, a song recognized as among the most covered in the history of recorded music (over 33,000 times!), but done here in the style popularized in gone-too-soon R&B stalwart Billy Stewart’s 1966 version, punctuated by tongue-trilling and scatting at it’s beginning and end.  Oh, and Kinnear performs it in a dual choreographed dance production number with none other than the illustrious Meryl Streep. Of course he does. Gotta love those Farrelly Brothers: total crudeness, but with a touch of class.


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