Label executive Richie Finestra may be a tough guy, prone to trashing his office and yelling himself hoarse at toneless underlings, but he's not above taking a sentimental journey.
In one of the quieter scenes from "Vinyl," HBO's mush letter to the '70s rock scene, the dealmaker takes time out from snorting cocaine to reminisce about skipping school to see "Blackboard Jungle."
His memory isn't random. Writer Terence Winter and director Martin Scorsese, who teamed up on the 2010-14 HBO series "Boardwalk Empire" and the 2013 film "The Wolf of Wall Street," are too in tune for that to happen.
While "Jungle" is best remembered for dropping Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" on '50s youth, it also linked "the devil's music" with the kind of anarchy that can lead to a switchblade duel.
In the case of "Vinyl," murder isn't out of the question.
Scorsese has long used the soundtrack of the '60s and '70s to reflect his characters' bravado, anger and primitive urges, but never to quite this effect. The performers hit all the right notes, particularly Bobby Cannavale, who plays Finestra like he was just freed from a Pat Boone concert. But the real draw here is the song selection, with Scorsese punching up tunes that range from Otis Redding's "Mr. Pitiful" to Slade's "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," each effective in its own way.
Skrillex may be the industry's highest paid DJ, but when it comes to putting together a potent set list, Scorsese still owns the dance floor.