At the intersection of movie trailers and music, what does Muse's cover of the soul classic "Feeling Good" tell us about the Robert De Niro/Michelle Pfeiffer crime family comedy?
There's always so much to unpack about a movie trailer: the stars, the plot, how much of the plot is being totally given away. But in many cases, the part of the trailer that sticks with you the longest is the music. Be it a pop song or a piece or orchestral score, it's the music that most often makes a trailer.
This Week's Trailer:The Family, the Martin Scorsese-produced, Luc Besson-directed witness-protection crime dramady starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer.
This Week's Tune: Muse's cover of the 1965 Nina Simone hit "Feeling Good."
How Literal Is It? Not very. The "feeling good" message is a fairly ironic one, particularly as it's juxtaposed with the Manzoni family attempting (and often failing) to quietly adapt to witness-protection life in France. They may well be feeling good while they're getting back to their violent/criminal antics, but things aren't exactly going smoothly.
How Emotional Is It? Here's where the decision to use the Muse cover comes in. It's infused with a sense of menace that earlier versions of the song just don't possess. The back half of the Family trailer promises a thrilling, violent, darkly comedic take on the mob genre, and Muse's song is pretty thrilling in service of that goal.
How Definitive Is It? It kind of splits the difference between novelty and familiarity. "Feeling Good" has been run through dozens of cover versions, singing-competition performances, TV commercials, et cetera. Nina Simone's version scored the rather definitive season 4 promos for Six Feet Under, while Michael Buble's croonier version appeared to have been custom-designed to sell Bailey's Irish Cream or Virgin Airlines or whatever product advertisers want to seem classy. Muse's version has been far less pervasive, and the sound is radically different enough that it doesn't feel quite as played out.
Overall Trailer Tune Effectiveness: Any trailer that boasts a married DeNiro and Pfeiffer blowing things up in France is going to have a big advantage going in. But Muse's urgent, distorted cover of Simone's classic soul puts an exclamation point on what looks like a solid fun time.