While of course soundtracks and scores are an essential part of filmmaking greatness, every once and a while a singular song encompasses the theme of a movie. It can be inspirational, romantic, or downright annoying. Some jams can even be bigger than the movie. This is my Top 10 Songs Made For A Movie. I have excluded actual scores, so no John Williams or Danny Elfman stuff here.
10. ‘Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites’ (“Spring Breakers”):
This is a movie I do not like. Director Harmony Korine makes films that he believes are commenting on society yet he never has an original thought. Big-time talents do his movies because it’s sexy and the finished product is, well, basically empty. “Spring Breakers” is another installation to Korine’s filmography of pretentious bullshit. I do however always call a spade a spade. The main jam by Skirllex, the hugely popular techno DJ, is just so damn catchy. It embodies dancing in the club in all of the best ways with a fast beat and relatable flow for the literal “Spring Breakers” in Miami. Too bad the movie sucks, but this jam does not.
9. ‘You’re The Best Around’ (“The Karate Kid”):
Prepare yourself Daniel-Son! Montages are similar to voice-overs. They’re annoying and a cheap way to tell a story. As always there are exceptions in life, one of which being the lightning quick tournament sequence leading up to the finals in “The Karate Kid”. Once the scared white boy gets going, with the support of a hot chick and his wise master Miyagi, nothing will stand in his way. The evil opposing ‘Cobra Kai’ crew appears to be unstoppable as they beat down every young karate student on the mat. Too bad they haven’t faced THE KARATE KID. After all, he is ‘THE BEST AROUND’!
8. ‘Gonna Fly Now’ (“Rocky”):
In case you did not know, there is a real life statue of this guy. Yes, “Rocky”, the idiot boxer with a heart of gold played by Sylvester Stallone, has a statue in front of City Hall in Philadelphia. Deservedly so as this iconic character represents everyone trying to get out of their own pit of sorrow. “Rocky” is a true symbol of hope for anyone. The penultimate showcase of his upcoming fight comes as he runs through the streets and up the Hall steps with people following in his wake. I would challenge anyone that does not know the words; “GETTING STRONG NOW!”.
7. ‘My Heart Will Go On’ (“Titanic”):
This S.O.B. “Titanic” keeps on coming back in lists, but yah gotta call it honestly. This is the biggest event movie ever and set a record that no other movie has a chance of breaking ever (17 weeks, look it up). The story of Jack and Rose falling in love on the famous sunken boat has a multitude of elements that build into a classic romance. However, this tale of love would not be so impactful if it was missing one of the biggest songs ever. Celine Dion was already established, but her title song “My Heart Will Go On” won every award imaginable and dominated the airwaves for just as long as the movie dominated the multiplex. I do not know which one was bigger, the song or the movie. All I know is that “My Heart Will Go On” dominated in its time, just like “Titanic”.
6. ‘Shake Ya’ Tailfeather’ (Bad Boys II):
I’m sorry, but “Bad Boys II” totally sucks. Director Michael Bay made one of the most expensively stupid blaxploitation movies ever, even using “B” roll footage of explosions from his first “Transformers” movie (True Story). The crew also literally destroyed a starving Brazilian community full of people living in shacks with a giant Hummer. AMERICA! Yet its so awful that its fun, which is exactly what ‘Shake Your Tailfeather’ is. P. Diddy and Nelly are ‘meh’ as rappers. Kind of like The Kardashians when it comes to talent. Then Murphy Lee comes on the track and he’s just bad as a hip-hop-a-ropper. Thank goodness for him and his best friend Nelly deciding to ‘Going Down, Down Baby, You’re Street in a Range Rover…’ Perhaps no other song has encapsulated a film better than ‘Shake Ya’ Tailfeather’. It is so stupid on a level that actually takes work to achieve. Yet you’re gonna be bumping your head to the beat. This marriage of movie and song is like the walk of shame after a bad hookup. But who cares, get you’re jollies off playa’.
5. ‘Kiss From a Rose’ (“Batman Forever”):
Director Joel Schumacher made two awful Batman movies. Putting nipples on the bat suit, really? Thank the lord for Christopher Nolan. There is one good thing to take away from “Batman Forever”. No, it is not Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones acting like damn idiots as the Riddler and Two Face. What the hell was everyone thinking? Out of all of the garbage came one of the most ridiculously majestic hits on the radio ever. Seal is by no means a hall of fame singer. But everyone knows his name because of his penultimate soundtrack stunner that is “Kiss From a Rose”. The 14 week-in-a-row top video on VH1 somehow made the ridiculous “Batman Forever” romantic. It helped to lead the otherwise awful picture to be, at the time, one of the biggest money making movies ever. The jam matches just how cheesy the film is, but I’ll rock this one at a karaoke bar any night of the week.
4. ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ (“Dangerous Minds”):
Name me a person that does not know “Gangster’s Paradise”. I’ll wait… Exactly. Admittedly the Michelle Pfeiffer starring troubled teen drama “Dangerous Minds” is a bit tone deaf. The film is not intentionally offensive, but it’s kind of ignorant in how to project poor minority youth in the school system. Things are tougher than going to a rich white kid school no doubt, but it’s not a total collection of thugs that only a pretty white women can figure out. This classic rap track by Coolio has become iconic far beyond its source material. The crew was even able to get Pfeiffer in the big music video to simply sit down with Coolio rapping things like “Power and the Money, Money and the Power, Minute After Minute, Hour After Hour”. It is as admittedly silly as the film itself, capped off when Coolio won the Grammy and in his speech was pissed that Weird Al Yankovich made fun of the track. Dude, it’s just a song. Still, “Gangster’s Paradise” is catchy as hell.
3. ‘How Do I Live’ (“Con Air”):
I am not a country music fan. Nothing but respect to those musicians, just not my thing. Despite that LeAnne Rhyms somehow makes me tear up every time “How Do I Live Without You” comes on the stereo. After winning his Oscar, Nicholas Cage began making his now 20 plus year marathon of stupid action movies, mostly to avoid tax evasion. In the beginning it was kinda fun, especially with “Con Air”. Cage is the only man capable of stopping a plane full of insane convicts being released into society. The heart-felt moment comes when Cage meets his daughter for the first time and delivers a blood-soaked stuffed rabbit. It is cheesy obviously, but when the little girl hugs her father and the song comes up is some heartwarming shit.
2. ‘Who Ya’ Gonna Call’ (“Ghostbusters”):
Other than “Star Wars”, “Ghostbusters” is the penultimate example of making a good movie that’s purpose is to be branded. The characters are charmingly hilarious with SNL alumni’s Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd leading the charge. Plus, how cool is that logo. Yet perhaps the base reason this is such a classic could be traced to a simple phrase; “Who Ya’ Gonna Call?” The ridiculous comedy concept that was “Ghostbusters” needed a spike in it’s proverbial party juice, which is exactly what Ray Parker Jr. brought to the table. Combining aspects from the movie in the lyrics with a sick beat centered around the Ectomobile makes it impossible to not feel like “I Ain’t ‘Fraid of No Ghost’s”.
1. ‘I Will Always Love You’ (“The Bodyguard”):