The music featured in a film can compliment it and make it a timeless classic, or it can render it tasteless and as well-aged as Cheez Whiz. There’s an endless cannon of quality scores and music-heavy movies, both awesomely good and painfully awful. And as a token of appreciation to all those, good and bad, compiled here are ten outstanding soundtracks. As tempting as it was, no rockumentaries were included (who the hell liked “The Last Waltz” anyway?) but rather the focus was on the scores and the songs featured in the film. What would you have included in the list?
The sacred combination of old school funk/soul and 90s gangster rap lives on the original Friday soundtrack. Chock full of songs that’ll be sweet honey pie topping on a beautiful day in your neck of the woods. Perhaps the only time you’ll hear E-A-Ski’s “Blast If I Have To.” And kick back to Cypress Hill’s track “Roll It Up, Light It Up, Smoke It Up,” which has about as much to do with smoking the ganja as any other song by Cypress Hill. Too bad Ice Cube and co. couldn’t stop making terrible sequels.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
All John Hughes’ films feature totally awesome 80s soundtracks, but this one has all the weird songs from all the bands we never heard of. “Beat City” by the Flowerpot Men has to be one of the coolest songs in this movie and somehow it’s managed to age quite well. And of course, the museum scene remains haunting and eerie, and displays perfectly the yin and yang of filmmaking and music. Apparently that’s the Dream Academy covering the Smiths. God, don’t we all wish we were 16 in 1985?
Perhaps the most insightful look at heroin use, and the most badass movie about the skag; Trainspotting features killer post-punk tracks ranging from Lou Reed to Blur. It is this disregard of musical eras that attributes to the timelessness of the film (when do you think this movie takes place? 1985? 1996?). The movie and the soundtrack sound as fresh today as they did back in 1996. Songs like Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” “Temptation” by New Order, and “Born Slippy” provide for a wonderful afternoon of shootin’ up heroin and peltin’ dogs with B.B. guns. It’s quite fitting for wholesome activities, as well.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
In keeping with the antisocial tendencies, this 1971 Kubrick film captures the dark, eerie and even comical moments of a strange future awry with “ultra-violence”. With good old Ludwig Van and some creepy pre-new-romantic synthesizers that spooky sentiment is beautifully reciprocated by the music. Hopefully, the irritating – and now disturbing – song “Singing In The Rain” has been ruined for everyone who has seen this film. Check out the strange story about the music director Walter, er, Wendy Carlos. Come and take one in the yarbles – that is if ye have any yarbles.
Repo Man (1984)
Where else are you going to hear Emilio Estevez sing a Black Flag song? It sure as hell ain’t Mighty Ducks. This 1984 cult classic is probably it. With bizarre and witty dialog, and punk rock galore this movie was bound for the annals of cult films. And let’s give it up for the Circle Jerks’ cameo as a lounge act. You have to appreciate how “When the Shit Hits the Fan” still holds up truer than ever nearly 30 years later.
The Principal (1987)
For the cheesiest of the cheesiest synth-funk proto-rap shit look no further. Watching this unappreciated nerd-fest will make any quasi-normal human want to bust out their Adidas warm-ups and scribble graffiti, but too often we’re stuck watching Jim Belushi holler classic one liners at thuggish students and lackluster teachers alike. Yo holmes, welcome to Brand-X High, your home away from prison.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Imagine this: every time you walk into a room, Foghat’s “Slow Ride” would just explode from out of nowhere. The door gets blown off its hinges and you’d strut in with feathered hair and a super snug “No Fat Chicks” shirt. That would be so cool. But every song in this movie is a bona fide classic. So classic you’re parents will love it as much as you do. One of the coolest cinematic moments has to be Wooderson and gang walking in to the emporium to Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane”. And when the night’s party at the moon tower is winding down to Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone” the post-party depression is almost palpable. How accurately the movie captured the excitement and let downs of a High School Friday night is straight up insane.
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
This is a mockumentary, not a rockumentary. Come on, that’d just be cheating. But Tap certainly has one of the best if not the greatest soundtrack around. And perhaps the reigning champs of cheez-metal. With gut-busting comedy and surprisingly intelligent songcrafting, Spinal Tap could be on par with Loudon Wainwright III or, hell, Dylan for that matter. Come on, we all know how the times are a-changin’, but don’t we all want to hear songs about big bottoms? Check out Nigel’s gnarliest guitar solo. For Chrissakes, he uses a violin.
Okay, sure there’s probably, like, ten people who actually like this punk rock squatting exploitation flick. But it has two of the best things: obscure O.C. hardcore band, T.S.O.L., and awful, awful 80s keyboard scores. The ridiculous dialog has got to be comparable with some of Shakespeare’s best. Yet, to the “actors” credit, they were real kids involved with the L.A. hardcore scene at the time, and props if you can spot Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers as one of the homeless kids. If any soundtrack reeked of 1984, this would be it.
Easy Rider (1969)
This one is a no-brainer, as lame as it is to include it, the plethora of bodacious songs just never stops to the hippie nonsense in this mediocre classic. And with the beautiful landscapes and experimental camera work set to these rock n roll standbys make it seem like a precursor to music videos. To quote Dennis Hoppper’s character “You represent a man who needs a haircut, man.” Well, bummer. Just got a haircut. Take that society.