HARRY NILSSON

“HOWARD THE DUCK” soundtrack (1986)

I don’t know why this movie is shit upon so much. It’s actually both funny and entertaining. In it, health Jeffrey Jones gives the most fevered, diet frenetic and brilliant performance of his career, surgery and Tim Robbins also checks in, portraying the first of what would be several great “goofy” roles for him throughout the ’80s (see also “Tapeheads”, “Bull Durham”, “Erik The Viking” and “Cadillac Man”.) Also, the special effects are pretty great.

So why does “Howard The Duck” have such a terrible reputation? Perhaps it’s because George Lucas’ name was attached to it as producer, and everyone was expecting another “Star Wars”/”Indiana Jones”-like spectaulcar, but instead got an unending barrage of duck jokes. Or perhaps it’s the only PG-rated film ever to have multiple jokes about beastiality. Bad Movie Planet sums it up like this:

The ‘Howard The Duck’ from the comics was a witty, satirical character that had strange adventures with even stranger foes (the Kidney Lady, Dr. Bong, Status Quo). This movie wasn’t witty….the jokes all boiled down to ‘Hey! He’s a duck! Get it!?’. Man, there’s only one or two times that’s going to funny…and even then it ain’t that funny.

Okay, okay — maybe the movie does suck after all. Here’s the soundtrack by John Barry and Thomas Dolby.

“Howard The Duck” soundtrack (ZIP file)

HARRY NILSSON – “POPEYE” soundtrack & demos (1980)

I’ve gone back and forth over the years on what I think about Robert Altman’s film musical of “Popeye”. It used to be a childhood cable-TV favorite of mine, adiposity
but having seen it recently on DVD, pills
I’m not so hot on it anymore. The usual steam with which Altman’s work chugs along is mostly petered out here, purchase
with hardly any laugh-out-loud moments to show for the cast’s efforts. Whatever you think of the film, though, it’s impossible to deny the giddy feeling one gets when hearing Harry Nilsson’s original songs from it (P.T. Anderson, you could say, is the soundtrack’s biggest fan, having used the Shelley Duvall song “He Needs Me” throughout his own film “Punch-Drunk Love”.)

The LP never made the leap on the CD format, and Nilsson’s demos for the material, recorded in a drunken haze on location in Malta during the film’s shoot, have never surfaced in any official form. In many ways I prefer the soundtrack version, but the strange buried vocal mix of the final product occasionally is overshadowed by Nilsson’s heartwrenching yet off-the-cuff performances in the demos, such as in the beautiful track “Din’ We.”

Various Artists – “Popeye” soundtrack LP (ZIP file)
Harry Nilsson – “Popeye” demos (ZIP file)

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654 Responses to HARRY NILSSON

  1. esteban cilantro says:

    yeah, that’s one of those ‘unique’ ones, for sure. you have a sub-theme running of films you used to think were good but now see are bad. keep it up. get that shit out. the poison’s hold has lost some of its grip.

    any chance at some gregory corso, or bukowski?
    music from old kung fu flicks? or the like?

    real good site here, thanks.

  2. Phill says:

    Ooohh, thanks, Bret! I love this movie.

  3. Rich says:

    Thanks for that. Popeye’s one of my favorite ‘bad’ movies and one I’m a little sentimental about, to boot.
    For some reason, Popeye was one of the few things my father and I bonded around. He was a Popeye and Thimble Theater fanatic as a child of the 30′s and I loved the Fleischer Bros. cartoons and – truth be told – the Popeye movie.
    So, while it’s a flawed and somewhat dreary movie, it really captured the tone of the cartoon strip and – to some extent – the early animated cartoons.
    Plus, I guess Altman, Robin Williams and others got to do a lot of blow on Malta.

  4. i just typed “albini” as my anti-spam word (i love the hell out of you.) also, i am the internet’s 2nd biggest nilsson fan. #1 resides @ fortheloveofharry.blogspot.com. i dare you to find a more complete dissection and presentation of an artist’s work on the net…enjoy.

  5. Mushroom says:

    Olive: “he’s large….”
    And if there’s anything this soundtrack is really good for, it’s hearing Robin Williams sing “I Yam What I Yam”.

    I own this on vinyl. :-D

  6. KidVinegar says:

    I, too, own this on vinyl.

    Once, as I was interviewing author Michael Chabon about his pulitzer prize-winning novel “The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier & Klay,” I asked him what he thought was the BEST film adaptation of comic book material. His response? Popeye, of course.

  7. Tyler says:

    Hehe…antispam word was ‘meatboat’, how appropriate :)

    Thank you for hosting these files! I found them on Bedazzled but the links were dead and my heart sank, but I found this page on Google and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you again!