Thursday, February 15, 2007

Stuff the AV Club missed on their "Songs Owned by Movie Scenes" list

The Onion's AV Club recently compiled a list of the 15 Songs Owned By Movie Scenes which details moments in cinema where a previously recorded song becomes so enmeshed with the movie scene it is in that it almost ceases to exist as an independent entity so whenever you hear that song, you will think of that movie and that scene.

While it is a pretty good list, I felt they forgot a few great or notable song/scene matches.

Just Dropped In (to See What Condition my Condition Was In by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition from The Big Lebowski: This song, which I've heard in a few other places will always be attached to this movie. It is the centerpiece of a lavish dream sequence of The Dude, one featuring Saddam Hussein, Julianne Moore dressed as a valkyrie and a great bowling motif and it was a scene so attached to the film that a still from it was used for the cover of the soundtrack album but in much of the promotional material as well. It truly taps into the alchemy of song and scene fusion. Watch the Clip.

Nobody But Me by the Human Beinz in Kill Bill Vol. 1: When I first saw the movie, I thought this was the weirdest musical cue. I mean, how could this bouncy upbeat song fit in the middle of a scene where The Bride is surrounded by members of the Crazy 88... and then that moment of cinematic magic happened and it fit perfectly. A song about how no one can dance as well as you can while in the middle of a highly choreographed and bloody one-against-many battle... the two are fused in my mind now. Watch it in this clip, beginning at 4:12.

Everybody Wants Some by Van Halen in Better Off Dead:
This scene is the meeting of live action, claymation and a great and highly appropriate song. John Cusack's Lane Meyer is toiling away at a fast food restaurant Pig Burger when he starts to daydream he is Dr. Frankenstein and his monster is a singing burger... suffice it to say, it does not end well for Lane Meyer. Watch the Clip

Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta by the Geto Boys from Office Space: The iconic scene from the movie. A fax/copier, three disgruntled employees and their revenge on the hated machine in a field, mob style. It is the perfect juxtaposition of Watch the Clip

Superstar by The Carpenters in Tommy Boy: It isn't a great movie, but it was a great use of this piece of music, a tacky middle ground between two characters that have very little in common in this buddy comedy. It is one of the more memorable scenes in the movie. Watch the Clip

Golden Years by David Bowie in A Knight's Tale: A Knight's Tale revelled in the loving use of rock music from almost the first frame, but one particular usage has always stood out in my mind. During a party scene, commoner William Thatcher who is passing himself off as Sir Ulric von Liectenstein from Geldreland is asked to show his fellow partygoers a dance from his native land and as he demonstrates, music begins playing with a recognizable tune. And here is what I like about the use of this music: it doesn't start out as Bowie's song. It begins as a more medieval instrumentation of the melody it slowly evolves from those roots, along with the dance as it proceeds until you end up with disco dancing and the real song. It just comes together so well. Watch the Clip

Do this make the list definitive? Absolutely not... and I am curious to hear what song/scenes you always associate together now, because I know I missed a lot of good choices.

So what did both me and the AV club miss?

17 comments:

AG said...

"Misirlou" and "Son of the Preacher Man," both in Pulp Fiction. (No one chooses music better than Tarantino. No one.) "Jump In The Line" in Beetlejuice. Now, ask me about television and Tom Waits, c'mon...

AG said...

(Son of ***a*** Preacher Man. I so hate typery.)

Jim Squires said...

Tarantino must hold a PhD in Musicology. If I had to pick one track from Pulp Fiction that always brings me back to that movie, it would have to be "Let's Stay Together."

Though I'm amazed neither MC nor the A/V brought up anything from the Jackie Brown soundtrack! The two that always stick with me;

Across 110th Street
Strawberry Letter 23

Both brilliant songs in their own right, but I can't help but attach them to Jackie Brown. Ironically, Across 110th Street was originally the theme for the 70's blaxploitation flick of the same name - but I always think of Tarantino instead!

Becca said...

What a great list, you've really hit on some great choices!

Paul said...

Agreed on the two Pulp Fiction ones, and I'd add "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon."

The other two that leap to mind are "Also sprach Zarathustra" in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and "In Your Eyes" from Say Anything.

MC said...

AG: How could I forget about Beetlejuice and Day-O too.

Jim: Truth be told, Jackie Brown isn't one of my favorite movies... I know, the blasphemy, the blasphemy.

Becca: Thanks... I really appreciate that(and after seeing the cultural mecca that is your apartment, wow... that is high praise indeed).

Paul: The song I always took from Pulp Fiction was Jungle Boogie.



There were a few scenes that I thought about putting on my list but held off on... Shake Rattle and Roll in Clue, Everybody wants to Rule the world in Real Genius and Bohemian Rhapsody in Wayne's World.

Schadenfreude said...

Dick Dale's Miserlou is Pulp Fiction for me, but I see that's already been said here and in the AV Club comments.

The only addition for me would be "Little Bitty Pretty One" and "Keep A-Knockin'" from Christine -- for a meh movie these music choices worked well, so much so I can't think about them without the movie taking over.

paul said...

This is a bit of a stretch, but I can't hear "Wouldn't it be Nice" without thinking of that scene in Roger & Me where the laid-off autoworker has a mental breakdown and the song plays while driving through the streets of Flint.

I know you asked for movies, but there are a few TV episodes that have owned a song too.

Can anyone ever hear Johnny Mathis' "Wonderful, Wonderful" without thinking of the Peacock family in the X-Files episode Home? I'm getting creeped out just thinking about it.

MC said...

Paul: Well in the television vein, Alias totally owns Smashmouth's "Diggin' Your Scene" now.

schad: Yeah, Christine has some good choices in it.

Diesel said...

Man, it's true. Tarantino rules at this. I'd never realized it before. Both of the examples I thought of were Tarantino.

MC said...

I wonder what musical cues he is going to bring to Grind House.

Schadenfreude said...

Oh damn, Paul made me think of one. "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong in Fahrenheit 9/11. I wasn't a huge fan of the song since it was overplayed at about a billion weddings I've been to, but ever since that Moore movie, whenever I hear it, I just see planes hitting towers.

Jeremy said...

Great list as always, MC. You got me thinking about it so much I decided to create my own list as well - no duplicates, I promise

MC said...

Schad: I always think of Good Morning Vietnam when I hear that song.

Jeremy: And a great list it is.

AG said...

Is it wrong that I plan to keep notes on the music selections for Grindhouse *during* Grindhouse? Don't worry, won't miss anything on screen, esp. since I plan at least two viewings...

(Saw part of True Romance again last night and am wondering where we could send a petition to get Tarantino to bionically rebuild Christian Slater's career... better, faster, stronger, and now with 90 percent less Jack Nicholsonness... yeah.

MC said...

When you mentioned QT and Christian Slater I thought about a good joint project for them... a western... with Slater being not dissimilar to Eastwood's Man with No Name in the Leone movies.

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