Thursday, April 12, 2012

The 100 Best Uses of Songs in Movies pt. 5 (of 10)

Last week's installment was dominated by heavy heavy dourness and super serious business.  So, as promised, this week needs to lighten up a bit.  I mean, seriously, dude, we need to relax. Shit is getting so uptight that if you shoved a lump of coal up its ass...well, you know where I'm going with that.  As always, visit the rest of the list through the magic of clicking here

41. “In Your Eyes”  / Peter Gabriel
Say Anything... (1989)
Let's get this out of the way, shall we?  It had to be on here somewhere, otherwise the internet would've had my head.  So, there you have it: Cusack. Boombox. Trenchcoat. Peter Gabriel.  So imitated that I have to ask: how many dudes have tried this in real life, do you think?

42. “Try a Little Tenderness / Otis Redding 
Pretty in Pink (1986)
Before we were watching the throne and - more importantly- before we'd ever heard of the television travesty that is "Two and a Half Men", we had the purity of this scene.  The record store dance party scene is some sort of strange staple of comedies throughout the 80's and 90's.  And this one, as Duckie once again tries to impress Andie  (Molly Ringwald) by throwing himself around to Otis Redding, is just fantastic. 

43. “Oh Yeah” / Yellow 
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
"Oh Yeah" is the unofficial theme song of this sick day.  While there are a handful of massively memorable musical moments in the film (and this clip even highlights a couple others - seriously, how good is "Beat City" under the right conditions?), it's such an odd, halting expression of admiration for that glorious, doomed Ferrari that we pick up on it immediately and don't let go.  

44.  “Time After Time” / Cyndi Lauper 
Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997)
As much as I dislike this song (and it's a lot), I love this ridiculous scene in this ridiculous, completely underrated comedy.  Here, our titular ditzy freaks (Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow) join forces with the nouveau riche geek (Alan Cumming) to steal the spotlight at the reunion and perform the weirdest, stupidest interpretive dance for their onlooking classmates.  Because why not?  

45.  “Natural’s Not In It” / Gang of Four
 Marie Antoinette (2006)
The opening credits of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette perform a brilliant bit of time-warped scene setting.  As I'm not able to embed them here, you can visit YouTube to refresh yourself on their deceptively simple powers.  The song, the lyrics, the excess, the stark, 80's punk black and pink; if you don't immediately catch on to the juxtaposed direction of Coppola's film, you're not listening.

46.  "The Concept" / Teenage Fanclub
Young Adult (2011)
Our sad, unlikable protagonist receives notice that her high school boyfriend is now a father and immediately packs her bags for the return drive home.  On the way, of course, the only thing to play is the mix tape he gave her all those years ago.  One song in particular.  As the song repeats, as she rewinds, sings, and obsesses, we are shown her damage, her inability to let go, and her stunted place in the mindset of her drawn out adolescence.

47.  “Canned Heat” / Jamiroquai
Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Admit it: when you saw this movie with your friends, this scene was some kind of weird triumph.  It was a release of off-kilter awesomeness, a rewind and watch that happen again moment, and in what seems a very strange way, I directly associate it with the birth of the internet meme.  

48.  “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” / Simple Minds
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Ok. So, originally I was pretty sure I couldn't include this song because I felt quite positive that it had been recorded specifically for use in this movie.  In trying to sort out whether or not that was the case, I couldn't seem to find any evidence that really backed that up.  If someone knows of some, let me know.  Otherwise, what I found indicated that it was written with the purpose of being shopped around with the hopes of landing in a movie, but that it was never specifically birthed with this one in mind.  Since I have my doubts, I have to include it as I kind of really love this song and (don't throw things at me), it's basically my favorite part of this beloved movie. The actual moment (the end) can be viewed here, and it's hard to deny that the track is so quintessentially associated with teenage triumph that a mere hit of the opening sends everyone straight into study hall relapse.  

49.  “A Quick One, While He’s Away” / The Who
Rushmore (1998)
Here, a seven minute story-song is dismantled for parts and the fantastic, rollicking conclusion is salvaged to score a bitter feud between the precocious Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) and his middle aged frenemy Herman Blume (Bill Murray). Things escalate in a fairly cartoonish game of cat and mouse to dangerous, life endangering levels that are only enhanced by the bouts of harmony and discord at work in the song.

50.   “Anyone Else but You” / The Moldy Peaches
Juno (2007)
Ugh. This song was annoying, wasn't it?  I mean, does it get more twee than this?  Regardless, this irritatingly sweet scene in Juno achieved one of those remarkable feats: it took a song few people knew even existed and made it immediately recognizable. On top of that, yes, it's adorable. And yes, it fits these two characters like a goddamn custom stitched glove.  And, fine, yes, they're really charming when they sing it.  And, again, it's true, it feels like a fresh start after a harrowing journey.


  1. Very entertaining set of songs, it gives an instant good mood to anyone! I was struck by Marie Antoinette's soundtrack, I wasn't expecting it at all. Anyone Else But You it's not one of favourites, but it does fit, and like you said, it is sweet. I liked that they had some Belle and Sebastian songs in Juno's soundtrack, it's one of my favourite bands so I was glad to see them reach a wider audience as well.

    1. I love all of Marie Antoinette's soundtrack, and could probably put the whole thing on this list. I mean: "Ceremony"? "Hong Kong Gardens"? Brilliant. I'll exercise a bit of restraint on this one, though...

  2. Sooo when I get fired from my job for being incredibly (and happily) distracted by these posts, are you gonna take responsibility? haha

    Another great post!

    1. You know, I'll consider it. But ultimately it depends on the job. :)

  3. Still great! I need to revisit Juno, because I didn't initially like it, but I suspect time away will make me better appreciate it. That said, one scene I remember fondly is when Cera and Page are lying together, and the Cat Power song "Sea of Love" begins playing. That really resonated with me.

    1. I feel the same about Juno. I thought it was alright, but I didn't love it. Over time, too, I felt like it became incredibly inflated in terms of its supposed importance. Still, I think the script is solid, there are parts I like quite a bit, and it's hard to argue with its footprint.


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