In my experience Four Rooms (1995) is one of those movies people either love or hate. Or, more precisely, they love some of it and hate some of it. It was director Quentin Tarantino’s first film after the Oscar-winning, trendsetting Pulp Fiction (1994), and it has a similar setup: different storylines with different characters unified by a central element. In this case we have four stories happening in four different rooms at a Los Angeles hotel one New Year’s Eve, and our unifying element is a bellhop named Ted (Tim Roth). Each segment of the film is written and directed by a different filmmaker and has a separate cast.
The first segment, “The Missing Ingredient,” about a coven of witches seeking Ted’s assistance in one of their rituals, is helmed by Allison Anders and stars Madonna, Ione Skye, Valeria Golino, Lili Taylor, Sammi Davis, and Alicia Witt. The second segment, “The Wrong Man,” written and directed by Alexandre Rockwell and starring Jennifer Beals (his wife at the time) and The Sopranos‘ David Proval, finds Ted delivering a bucket of ice to the wrong room and landing in the middle of a bizarre domestic dispute. In the third segment, Robert Rodriguez’s “The Misbehavers,” Ted agrees to watch two mischievous children while their parents (Antonio Banderas and Tamlyn Tomita) go out for the night. And in the final segment, Tarantino’s “The Man From Hollywood,” Ted finds himself refereeing a crazy bet between some nutty Hollywood types played by Tarantino, Paul Calderon, and an uncredited Bruce Willis. (Beals also shows up in this segment as her character from “The Wrong Man.”) Other scenes happening outside of the four main segments include Ted receiving a pep talk from an elder bellhop, and Kathy Griffin and Marisa Tomei having silly phone conversations.
Four Rooms‘s jazzy, lounge-y soundtrack, produced by Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh, is comprised almost entirely of songs by Combustible Edison, with the exception of two tracks contributed by Esquivel and the theme song to the classic TV show Bewitched. It’s one of the best things about the movie; each song adds great atmosphere to the stories (I’m particularly fond of the music in the “Misbehavers” segment). From what I can tell, the soundtrack album is out of print, but there are plenty of used copies floating around. I’ve split the songs up according to the segment of the film in which they appear, as was the case on the album.
“The Missing Ingredient”
Combustible Edison – Junglero
Combustible Edison – Four Rooms Swing
Theme From “Bewitched”
Combustible Edison – Tea and Eva in the Elevator
Combustible Edison – Invocation
Combustible Edison – Breakfast at Denny’s
Combustible Edison – Strange Brew
Combustible Edison – Coven of Witches
Combustible Edison – The Earthly Diana
Combustible Edison – Eva Seduces Ted
“The Wrong Man”
Combustible Edison – Hallway Ted
Combustible Edison – Headshake Rhumba
Combustible Edison – Skippen, Pukin, Sigfried
Combustible Edison – Angela
Combustible Edison – Punch Drunk
Combustible Edison – Male Bonding
Combustible Edison – Mariachi
Combustible Edison – Antes de Medianoche
Esquivel – Sentimental Journey
Combustible Edison – Kids Watch T.V.
Combustible Edison – Champagne and Needles
Combustible Edison – Bullseye
Esquivel – Harlem Nocturne
Combustible Edison – The Millionaire’s Holiday