Thursday, April 26, 2012

The 100 Best Uses of Songs in Movies pt. 7 (of 10)...

On Monday I had this moment where I wasn't sure I was actually going to be able to fill this list and I started to have visions of the final entry being made up of Emma Stone singing Natasha Bedingfield's "Pocketful of Sunshine".  90-100: all Emma Stone.  Or, you know, really stretching it into the absurd and just devoting a whole entry to the obvious brilliance of the clearly necessary  Peter Parker dance sequence in Spider-Man 3.  Ways to kill a franchise = that.  Then I got my shit together and realized that we have a long way to go.  Exhibit A: everything in this round of 10.  Exhibit B: everything that has come before it

61. "Tequila"  / The Champs
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)
In which a man walks into a bar...and does that. I don't know how my childhood wasn't spent learning that dance.  It should have been.  Ah, wasted youth.  

62. "Lust for Life" / Iggy Pop
Trainspotting (1996)
Blondie's "Atomic" made this list earlier and it was definitely an unconventional cut from a double soundtrack of millions.  Here's the obvious one: opening scene, junkies on the run, the "Choose Life" monologue the memorization of which I occasionally use to decide whether or not we can be friends.  If I say "mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows" and you've got're lucky we're already friends.  

63. "All These Things That I Have Done" / The Killers
Southland Tales (2006)
I have mixed feelings about Richard Kelly's overblown Southland Tales.  On the one hand, I liked elements of it quite a bit.  On the other, the pieces never quite came together. One of my favorite moments, however, was this oddly placed lip synced moment with Justin Timberlake. It's absolutely striking.  

64. "Sister Christian" / Night Ranger
Boogie Nights (1997)
Admittedly, the first song I think of when I think of Boogie Nights is "Brand New Key", but that's only because Roller Girl seems to stick out as part of the branding of that film.  She's a mascot, or something.  "Sister Christian", however, has a substantially meatier role in the film's actual landscape.  This is Dirk Diggler at his lowest low, and Paul Thomas Anderson plays up the tense elements of the scene in a way that makes the audience feel as edgy and paranoid as the coked-up addicts.  THOSE GODDAMN FIRECRACKERS.

65. "Heart of the Sunrise" / Yes
Buffalo '66 (1998)
[NSFW] I almost forgot about this prog rock strip club sequence and all it's quietly trippy glory.  If you haven't seen Buffalo '66, you really should.  If you have, I'm hoping you remembered this before I did.  As the song builds, the action does too. Yet, what's perhaps most noteworthy is just the absolute style in the merger of sound and image. 

66. "You Never Can Tell" / Chuck Berry
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Once I tried out for the high school musical and for the dance audition they made us do a routine to this song off this soundtrack.  That meant it had the whole dialogue intro, so it was almost impossible to avoid slipping into the twist instead of doing the steps.  BECAUSE SERIOUSLY THIS SCENE IS SO GREAT. 
And no: I didn't make the cut...that's for the best. 

67. "California Dreamin'" / The Mamas and the Papas
Chungking Express (1994)
The sunny melancholy of this 60's pop hit is exported to Hong Kong to serve as the theme song for a romance that wasn't.  The thing about Wong Kar Wai's use of "California Dreamin'" is that this movie actually made me like the song where I'd always sort of taken it for granted. 

68. "Still" / Geto Boys
Office Space (1999)
The actual song could have been any number of big beat cruising tracks,but the sound struck a chord with the slow motion, cathartic destruction of that hated symbol of cubicle work.  

69. "We'll Meet Again" / Vera Lynn
Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
An ironic song for the end of the world.  Here, Stanley Kubrick obliterates all optimism and scores his mushroom cloud montage with a song designed to serve as a wartime promise. 

70. "Goodbye Horses" / Q Lazzarus
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)    [and Clerks II]
I've often wondered if the movie made this a hit for Q Lazzarus or if it completely destroyed any chance she had at a future career.  It's almost impossible to separate the song from the creeptastic Buffalo Bill dance in Silence of the Lambs (embedding is blocked on the original, watch it here), so much so that even simple mimicry makes for a memorable scene.  I mean, seriously, this is a pretty great moment in Clerks II. 

1 comment:

  1. So many good ones here…
    61 is a childhood fave
    62 is a priceless intro
    64 is as epic as they get
    66 will never, ever, ever get old
    69 is gloriously iconic

    GREAT choices.


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