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Trailer Tunes: ‘Wish I Was Here,’ The Shins & Radical FaceVideo description

Trailer Tunes: ‘Wish I Was Here,’ The Shins & Radical Face

At the intersection of movie trailers and music, what do Radical Face’s "The Mute" and a new song by The Shins tell us about Zach Braff’s sophomore feature?

There's always so much to unpack with a movie trailer: the stars, the selected visuals, 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 an orchestral score, the music often makes a trailer.

This Week’s Trailer: Ever since its wildly successful (and controversial) Kickstarter campaigns, Wish I Was Here has been one of the most talked about indies in a long time. Written and directed by Zach Braff, who also stars, the film follows Aidan Bloom, an underachieving father and husband who directs most of his focus towards his fledging acting career. When his ailing father can no longer afford to pay for his grandchildren’s private school and public school turns out not to be an option, Bloom must home school his kids.  In the process, he predictably learns important lessons about life, fatherhood and love.

This Week’s Tune(s): Known for his passion for indie music, Zach Braff incorporates two songs into the full-length trailer for Wish I Was Here: first, “The Mute” by Radical Face, an indie folk act comprised of Jacksonville native Ben Cooper, followed by an untitled song by The Shins (a group that Braff brought into the mainstream with the Garden State soundtrack) written especially for the film.

How Literal Is It? Pretty Literal. Along with the “ooo-ooos” and the acoustic guitar of Radical Face’s “The Mute,” the lyrics of the song effectively convey Aidan’s yearning for something more.  The Shins lyrics—especially the line “change lies in every connection tonight”—also echo the state of flux that Aidan is experiencing as he deals with the responsibility of caring for his kids and his sick father. As Aidan gradually embraces his new role as the as his family’s patriarch, the Shins croon “do you still think I am strong?,”  

How Emotional Is It? It tugs at the heartstrings, for sure. Radical Face’s simple chords and gentle melody provide the perfect backdrop to initial glimpses of Aidan’s untroubled life before catastrophes mount.  The melodious rhythm and honeyed tones of The Shins’ untitled song, as performed by James Mercer, give the ensuing shots of hospital visits and ocean vistas a soul-searching quality in keeping with Aidan’s self-discovery.

How Definitive Is It? With his ear for exceptional works from indie rock bands, Zach Braff embeds these two songs in his trailer so effectively that they will forever be associated with Wish I Was Here. The achievement is not unexpected since Braff’s relationship with The Shins goes back to his use of “Caring Is Creepy” and “New Slang” on the Garden State soundtrack (which earned Braff a Grammy). The addition of the song from Radical Face is just more of the same.

Overall Trailer Tune Effectiveness: While there’s a lot going on in the trailer (School plays! Surfing! Head shaving! A dog urinating! A mean rabbi!), the music anchors all the moving parts and viewers come away with some sense of a film that they will want to see. The two songs Braff features promise an exciting soundtrack as well.



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