Friday, July 6, 2012

My Favorite Movie Soundtracks

Music plays a big role in movies. Aside from film scores, songs (those with lyrics) also set the tone and mood of a film. They also express characters’ emotions or tell stories on their own. After watching so many films, I have come up with a list of my favorite movie soundtracks. I listed 14 songs. Now let me count them down.

(Note: The embedded clips are the actual scenes from the movies where the songs are played. They may contain spoilers. Thanks to those who posted the videos on Youtube! )

14) Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) by Harry Belafonte – Beetlejuice (1988)

Jason Derulo sampled this in one of his songs.
This Tim Burton film is full of randomness, and one of them is this scene when these diners lip-sync and dance to Harry Belafonte’s song against their will.  Winona Ryder should have joined them.
13) Yoo Hoo by Imperial Teen – Jawbreaker (1999)  
 Is it just me, or does Rose McGowan look like a younger Sylvia Sanchez?
Rose McGowan and the gang strut their stuff on the hallway while Imperial Teen’s Yoo Hoo plays. This is probably the best entrance ever! Never mind that the film is a dud. Watch it when you’re tired of pa-deep and pa-intellectual films. It won't hurt.
12) The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel – The Graduate (1967)
The song is played in other scenes, but this one is a non-spoiler for those who haven’t seen the movie.
I would love this song whether or not it was played in the movie. Listening to Paul Simon’s voice (I think it’s his) accompanied by the guitar (and other instruments later) is just relaxing, despite the song being actually inspired by the assassination of JFK.  
11) To Sir With Love by Lulu - To Sir, With Love (1967)

 Lulu, who looks like Jersey Shore’s Snooki here, sings the theme song to Sidney Poitier, one of my favorite actors.
I used to be a teacher, and I taught students about subject-verb agreement and the like. I don’t think I’ve changed their life that much. I wish I had been more like Sidney Poitier in this movie. Too bad I’m not black, and I didn’t teach a bunch of problematic English high school students. It must have felt great to have someone make a song for you.  
10) Norwegian Wood by the girl who played Reiko - Norwegian Wood (2010)  
 I loved this song the first time I heard this. This part is perhaps the only scene that I liked.
I didn’t know that it’s a Beatles song and that the movie is titled after it. I watched the movie without knowing what it is about. I just watched it because a friend was raving about it. It turned out to be just a movie about a bunch of suicidal people who haven’t discovered lubricant. Don’t hate me, Murakami fans. I’m sure the book is better than this film.  
9) Moon River by Audrey Hepburn - Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
 I can’t think of anyone who can top Audrey Hepburn.
Audrey Hepburn singing. ‘Nuff said.
8) I’ve Seen it All by Bjork and Peter Stormare – Dancer in the Dark (2000)
 I have this thing for eccentric female musicians.
Bjork breaks into a song and dance number while in the middle of a railroad. Now I've seen it all. The movie, directed by Lars von Trier, was awarded the Palm d’Or at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. And Bjork? Well, she just got the best actress award.
(See my top 7 favorite soundtracks after the jump.)
7) Goodbye Horses by Q Lazzarus - The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
 NSFW. Don’t watch if children are around.
It’s hard to listen to this song without thinking of a psycho tucking his family jewels in between his legs, thanks to The Silence of the Lambs. That’s sad because the song is really good. But then again, it would not have been famous if it had not been played in film. Do you know that Q Lazzarus is actually a woman? She sounds like a man here.
6) Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds - The Breakfast Club (1985)
You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.
Actually, I didn’t like the film much because I couldn’t relate to any of the characters. You see, I hadn’t had any angst when I was a teenager. Still, I think this song fits the movie well. It makes me feel nostalgic though I don’t have anything to be nostalgic about. 
5) Mad World by Gary Jules - Donnie Darko (2001)
 An instrumental version of this was played in a scene in Asiong Salonga, which made the overrated film okay.
The original version of Tears for Fears is new wave. Michael Andrews and Gary Jules are clever enough to make a slower version of the song for the movie Donnie Darko. I don't get the time travel theory of this film, but it's a great film nonetheless.
4) I Never Dreamed Someone Like You Could Love Someone Like Me by Katie Irving – Carrie (1976)
I think of Sissy Spacek and pig blood whenever I hear this song.
I first heard this song on the radio, and I thought that it was just an ordinary love song. I never knew that this is a soundtrack of a horror film. The lyrics made more sense when I watched Carrie.  The song is played just moments before one of the best horror movie scenes ever.
3) Anyone Else But You by Ellen Page and Michael Cera - Juno (2007)
 This is probably the theme song of every part-time lover/full-time friend in the universe.
Ellen Page made teenage pregnancy look cool even though it's not in real life. There are many great songs from this Academy Award-winning movie, but this one, sung by Juno and Bleeker, is my favorite. It is originally by The Moldy Peaches.
2) Tobenai Tsubasa by Salyu as Lily Chou-Chou - All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001)
 The song ends at 4:20. Watch longer and you'll have a major spoiler.
In English, the title means “wings that cannot fly,” very fitting for the scene where it was played. This kites scene is a visual spectacle. Salyu’s ethereal voice in the background makes it better. Shunji Iwai, the director, and Takeshi Kobayashi, the music producer, collaborated well on this high school drama. I also like Lily Chou-Chou's other songs, one of which is used in Kill Bill Vol. 1.
1) Across the Universe by Fiona Apple - Pleasantville (1998)
 I couldn’t find a clip of the scene where the song is played, so, instead, I’m posting the music video, which is also inspired by the movie.
Two siblings (played by Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon) are transported into a TV show where everything is perfect, or so it seems. This movie has taught me that being real is better than being ideal. Fiona Apple's rendition of the Beatles song is a perfect soundtrack to this perfect movie. Roger Ebert gave it four out of four stars
Love Spit Love’s version of The Smiths’ How Soon is Now would have made this list, but it was only played for a very short while in The Craft, and the scene where it is played is not memorable. The song would later become the theme song of the TV series Charmed, which is also about witchcraft. I just want to tell you that I like it. :)
I have an aversion to anything romantic, but after making this list, I realized that I also have my “cheesy” side. Just look at the number of love songs here! I hate myself for that. Hehe. Anyway, I hope you enjoy these songs (and the movies) as much as I do. :)

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