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Lean on Pete featuring the music of Richmond Fontaine

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My next project stems from a couple of life's joys - road movies incorporating vast vistas... and music.  My passion for the former subconsciously derives from many viewings of Wim Wender's masterpiece 'Paris Texas' when i was in my early teens. The sparseness of a landscape creates an atmosphere only found in this genre and the genre has seeped into adulthood - i will note 'The Straight Story and the more recent 'The Revenant', both journey's of a similar ilk, amid the ten out of ten star features in my internal movie database.

Back in July 'Lean on Pete' was released. This little gem of an independent movie is the story of fifteen year old Charly as he tries to navigate his way in a world that can be cruel, beautiful, unforgiving and kind all at the same time. The film is an adaptation of one of America's finest modern scribes ,Willy Vlautin. I say scribes because Willy's novels often feel journalistic in that they tell stories of the desperate times of human beings falling by the wayside in pursuit of the American dream.  I was introduced to Vlautin's writing through his even more stirring music and collectively his band 'Richmond Fontaine' whom i stumbled across at a gig back in 2002. From that night forth i was hooked and i went on to see them a multitude of times over the years up until they called it a day in late 2016. In the ensuing 14 years, i met Willy on a number of occasions and during those conversations became aware of his intention to publish his fiction. In my mind this was no giant leap. Willy's lyrics are evocative, conjuring images of a brutiful world laced with downbeat drunks, gamblers and runaways, the kind of folk that live on the periphery of society. 
Tracks are often structured short stories accompanied with melodic instrumentation, emoting  feelings of struggle that the most hardened country singer couldn't possibly comprehend. Richmond Fontaine albums would permeate incidental and instrumental ditties, mini soundtracks for movies never made. This is where i come in.

Back in 2006 Vlautin's debut novel 'The Motel Life' was released. Critically praised Willy eventually sold the filming rights. The celluloid take on the story premiered in 2012 and though a pretty good adaptation left me frustrated at the lack of Richmond Fontaine's music incorporated.Here we have a plethora of the finest Americana tunes of this century and not one of them overlapped a scene. Only one song made it and that was relegated to the credits.

It has always been my intention to rescore 'The Motel Life' but i just did not have the know how back in 2012 to accomplish it correctly.I have since made slow progress over the years, often abandoned but frequently thought about. I will eventually finish the edit at some point in the future.

Lean on Pete is a movie adaptation of the authors third novel and is a god send, graceful to the source material with a soundtrack so minimal it beckoned me to fill the void. My intention is not to change the narrative but is to make my edit ever more true to the book. I wasn't in love with the final scene, it just didn't feel right to me, although the original theatrical ending promotes hopefulness, i want my edit to end with a sense of relief and at the same time have the viewer succumb to emotional exhaustion mirroring our protagonist. 
I want it to end on par with the book. 
The theatrical feature ends with a Bonnie Prince Billy cover of an R.Kelly song - for me that was a big no no moment and it had to go. I have all the time in the world for the Bonnie Prince but i'll save his well crafted verse for another edit i intend to make starring Will Oldham himself but that's for another thread. 
I was also disappointed by the omitting of Charly's dream sequences that i read in the novel. In my mind this was an opportunity missed in the theatrical version. I have done my best to incorporate one in my edit.

So in summary this is a light edit that mainly focuses on rescoring.

 
The edit is pretty much finished , just a bit of tiding up to do and i need to complete some custom credits. 
I watched my work print with the better half last week and she enjoyed it. I think her maternal instinct got the better of her but i wont elaborate as i might spoil the movie for anyone who is interested. This re-score really has been a labour of love for me personally and i think my music choices have really heightened the emotional impact of certain scenes in the movie where in the original they sometimes fell flat and were crying out for a musical cue to pull on the heart strings just a little bit more.

Below is a comparison scene of the moment Charly meets Bonnie. I re-scored the scene with Richmond Fontaine's cover of the Buck Owens song "Made In Japan"

 
Thread moved to completed.
 
I know there is not  too much interest for an edit like  Lean on Pete and it was made purely for my own self indulgence as a big fan and also born out of frustration that one of the greatest songwriter's of the last twenty years'  music was not even in the film of an adaptation of his third novel.... which is criminal. It's not the first time either...Richmond Fontaine's work got overlooked in The Motel Life aswell, which was also written by Willy Vlautin  I have toyed with a re-score of that movie but its very music heavy and bleeds into all of the channels and would take a lot of work that i don't have the time for at the moment. I'll get around to it one day.

Anyway Lean on Pete is a lovely little mellow film about the peril's of being young, poor and lonely and features the alluring Chloe Sevigny and a wonderful but cynical performance by Steve Buscemi who is just being Buscemi(esque)...Charley, the protagonist is played by up and coming actor Charlie Plummer who's performances stretches far beyond his years.

I have put together a new Blu-ray cover as my first effort a couple of years ago was not up to scratch


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