A soundtrack album might contain a lot of good songs, but ultimately the soundtrack is going to be judged on how well it captures the essence of the movie. This is indeed the case with the soundtrack to the film, "Cherish" - an independent film that virtually went unnoticed in 2002. "Cherish" is one of those films I happened to stumble on - and it proved to be one of the most entertaining films I had seen in some time. After watching the movie, I realized that this was one of the most entertaining movies I had seen in some time. One thing that contributed to this movie being entertaining was the outstanding soundtrack that was assembled. "Cherish" has a soundtrack that consists of a mix of pop favorites, one-hit wonders, and some modern day flavor.
To appreciate the soundtrack, one must understand the movie's plot. Zoe Adler (played by Robin Tunney) is someone who is basically socially inept and somewhat of an introvert. Zoe struggles with her lack of social skills both in the office and in the social scene as well. She is also romanticist who loves 1970s and 1980s music and gets immersed in the songs of that era. Unknown to Zoe, she is being pursued and followed by a stalker (played by Brad Hunt) Zoe's life will change when the stalker finds Zoe going to her car to pick up her cell phone. The stalker takes Zoe hostage and forces her to drive - running down a police officer Following the incident, the stalker leaves the scene and Zoe is left facing a homicide charge. While awaiting her trial, her lawyer arranges for Zoe to be put in the "Bracelet Program". This is a program that essentially places Zoe under house arrest and uses a bracelet to electronically track that Zoe stays indeed under house arrest. The movie focuses on Zoe's attempts to deal with her house arrest while attempting to prove her innocence. At the same time, there is focus on Zoe's relationship with the police officer Bill Daly from the bracelet program (played by Tim Blake Nelson), who also suffers from social ineptness.
Much of the credit for assembling the soundtrack has to go to Paul Broucek, who was in charge of music for this film. Much of the theme of the movie deals with obsessions - and many of the songs reflect this theme. The theme of music is very nicely woven into Zoe's character as well (she is a big music fan). There are fourteen tracks on the collection, unfortunately they are not ordered as in the movie:
"She's Gone" by Daryl Hall and John Oates
"Tainted Love" by Soft Cell
"Breakdown" by Noe Venable
"I Melt With You" by Modern English
"Private Eyes" by Modern English
"I'm Not in Love" by 10CC
"Cherish" by The Association
"Happy Together" by The Turtles
"(Keep Feeling) Fascination"
"Down Easy" by Noe Venable Trio
"Alone Remix" by Mark De Gli Antoni
"Get Up an Move" by The Impressions
"While I'm Alone" by Maze (Featuring Frankie Beverly)
"I Love You" by Climax Blues Band
Some of the classic songs on here are really going to grip you. When "Tainted Love" is played during the homicide and later in the movie, it gave me a whole new perspective on that song. Before this movie, "Tainted Love" was just another overplayed song by a one-hit wonder (Soft Cell). After hearing it in the movie, it gives a much more haunting feel when listening to it, resulting in a whole new appreciation for a song that I never cared for in the past.
The Hall and Oates tunes are well positioned in the movie too. "She's Gone" is played when the stalker realizes he can no longer find Zoe (who is under house arrest). "Private Eyes" is played when Zoe calls her own cell phone and the stalker realizes it is Zoe, so he plays that song to indicate "Private Eyes - they're watching you". Again, these are old songs, but given a whole new appreciation when put into the context of this film.
Perhaps the best use of music is saved for the end. Climax Blues Band's "I Love You" is beautifully woven into the movie's final scene. In that final scene, we find Zoe and Daly reflecting on the relationship that they had established. This is a very gripping and powerful song to begin with, but when put into the finale of the movie, it is that much stronger.
Like many soundtracks, "Cherish" does not include every song or piece of music that is in the movie. In particular there are some glaring omissions such as Terry Jacks' "Seasons in the Sun", Human League's "Don't You Want Me?" (although another Human League song, "Fascination" is included on the soundtrack), and America's "Sister Golden Hair". Other notable omissions include Togetherness' "I Bet You Never Knew That I Followed You", the Style Council's "You're the Best Thing", and the Flamingos "I Only Have Eyes for You". These songs would have been nice to be on the soundtrack - and all of them fit nicely into the theme of the movie.
One other omission revolves around "Breakdown". In the movie, the classic Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song is included (and woven very nicely into a scene where the Stalker has a "melt down"). However on the soundtrack a cover is included by local San Francisco music star, Noe Venable. Venable's music has a small role in the movie and Venable also has another song included on the soundtrack ("Down Easy"). Venable puts a haunting, folksy spin on "Breakdown".
One final note, Mark De Gli Antoni provides much of the instrumental score of this film and I wish that more was included on the soundtrack. Still, this is a very good collection of music. Not only do I recommend the movie, but I also recommend this collection.