One of the weirder trends these days is the one that has studios releasing DVDs of older films with CDs of music that came out during the same decade but otherwise have nothing to do with the movies in question.
As luck would have it, my first exposure to this trend came a few weeks ago when I saw the “Decades Collection” editions of The Graduate (1967), Fiddler on the Roof (1971; my comments) and When Harry Met Sally… (1989) at the local Superstore.
Now, apparently, there are lots of other films in this series too, but these particular films all happen to be famous for their music: The Graduate has a classic soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel; Fiddler on the Roof was the longest-running Broadway musical of all time at that time; and the original soundtrack album for When Harry Met Sally… introduced Harry Connick Jr. to the world, featuring nothing but his covers of classic songs made famous by Sinatra etc.
But do the CDs that accompany these DVDs reflect any of this? Do they contain any music that is featured within the films themselves? No, no, of course not, no. Instead, each disc is a miscellanous grab bag of whatever was popular on the radio at some point in that decade; if memory serves, the songs included on each disc are not even necessarily tied to the specific year in which the film came out.
The “Decades Collection” is put out by MGM. And now, according to Lou Lumenick, Paramount is getting in on the act too, releasing new “I Love the ’80s” editions of Warren Beatty’s Reds (1981) and various other films, each of which will come with a CD that includes a-ha’s ‘Take On Me’, Echo & the Bunnymen’s ‘Lips Like Sugar’, INXS’s ‘Need You Tonight’ and Erasure’s ‘Chains Of Love’.
Note: all of these songs were originally released between 1984 and 1988, which in pop-culture terms is a whole different era from the one that produced films like Reds.
The decade thing becomes even more absurd when you consider titles like, well, Fiddler on the Roof and Reds, both of which may have been produced in my lifetime but take place at least partly before my 93-year-old grandmother was born — and in a foreign country where the American popular culture of that time might not have had that much of an impact to begin with.