You know how sometimes you’re watching a movie and a song comes on and it’s perfect? It sounds as though that song and that scene were created for each other (which of course sometimes they are). In honour of these beautiful moments I’ve, rather haphazardly, comprised a list of my favourite musical moments in films. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find clips of all of the scenes and so you’ll just have to watch the films (they’re all fab films anyway so you’re welcome, I guess).
NUMBER TEN: The School of Rock- Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) // The Ramones
The School of Rock (2003, dir. Richard Linklater) has been one of my favourite films since I saw it when it first came out and one of the best things about it is the soundtrack. When I went to see it aged 7 (oh my gosh that was ten years ago) I was totally into the Ramones and T. Rex (thank you dad) and so this movie was a God-send.
This is my favourite scene in the movie and the music carries it seamlessly. It’s a montage of Jack Black teaching a class of kids about Rock`n’Roll, what’s not to love?
(sorry the link is in Portuguese, but you get the point).
NUMBER NINE: Reservoir Dogs- Little Green Bag // George Baker
This list wouldn’t be complete without a spot-o-Tarantino and this scene from cult classic Reservoir Dogs (1992, dir. Quentin Tarantino) is, in my opinion, a complete masterpiece. It’s so understated and the guys just look amazingly cool. I’d kill to strut out of a diner with Quentin Tarantino, Tim Roth and Steve Buscemi.
NUMBER EIGHT: Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron- You Can’t Take Me // Bryan Adams
Okay this is an odd one, but bear with me. For those of you who haven’t seen Spirit (2002, dir. Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook), it’s the animated tale of a horse living in the American West during the 19th Century and his battles to remain free. It’s actually a heart-wrenching tale and was a big part of my childhood.
Anyway, in this one scene Spirit has been captured by some cowboys and is being taken back to their ranch. With the stunning terrain and the weather and music reflecting his anger I just find it surprisingly powerful. It sends shivers down my spine and I’d like it played at my funeral.
NUMBER SEVEN: O Brother, Where Art Thou? – I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow // The Soggy Bottom Boys
I only watched this movie (2000, dir. The Cohen Brothers) super recently, but I’ve fallen head over heels with it. I’ve had the CD Soundtrack in my house forever though and so I was already aware and a fan of all the music in it beforehand. However, seeing George Clooney singing was not something I was prepared for (so what if it’s dubbed?? Use your imagination people!). The entire film was incredibly aesthetically pleasing and reminiscent of Django Unchained, or should that be the other way round?
NUMBER SIX: The Virgin Suicides- Playground Love // Air
I’m afraid to say I didn’t fall in love with this movie (1999, dir. Sofia Coppola). After having had it built up by others I felt rather let down when I did come to see it. I did however love the soundtrack and so here we are. The lyrics to Air’s “Playground Love” are charmingly dreamy; especially the opening lines (I’m a high school lover, and you’re my favourite flavour) and they coolly smother the film. It’s so pale and far-off and I’m unsure whether the make-believe feel is comforting or somewhat sickly, but I like it.
NUMBER FIVE: Snatch. – Golden brown // The Stranglers
Wowee I love, love, love this film (2000, dir. Guy Ritchie). It’s jammed full of quotable, clever dialogue and the way it slots together is flawless. The whole soundtrack is so great and so cool, but I had no difficulty in choosing my favourite musical moment. Jason Statham’s speech doesn’t overcrowd or disturb the music at all, it just works. And an Irish, shirtless Brad Pitt. You. Are. Welcome.
NUMBER FOUR: The Royal Tenenbaums- Needle in the Hay // Elliot Smith
!! CONTAINS SPOILERS !!
(TW: Suicide, Self-Harm, Depression)
I think this is one of the most poignant scenes in cinematic history (2001, dir. Wes Anderson). It’s so subdued and discreet yet utterly overwhelming and completely crushing. Whenever I hear Needle in the Hay I replay the scene in my head and cry; its jaunty build-up makes my throat tight and stomach heavy. The best scenes are the ones that stay with you and from the effect this has on me we can safely say this ticks that criteria.
NUMBER THREE: Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain – The entire soundtrack // Yann Tiersen
Almost anyone ever to have watched Amélie (2001, dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet) is likely to tell you two things about the movie. The first is that they loved it and it’s one of their favourites, the second that the soundtrack was one of the best they’ve ever heard. I can’t choose one moment of the film where this is most showcased as it’s so consistently perfect so I’m cheating a bit and throwing the whole film in. As I didn’t have a particular scene this clip is a sort of mash up, but it doesn’t quite convey just how good the full experience is.
NUMBER TWO: Donnie Darko- The Killing Moon // Echo and the Bunnymen (AND Head Over Heels // Tears for Fears)
(TW: Drug use)
I can’t articulate how attractive I find boys in pyjamas and here we have Donnie Darko (2001, dir. Richard Kelly) making my dreams come true on top of a mountain (later in his career Jake Gyllenhaal again realises my dreams on top of another hillock in Brokeback Mountain, but that’s a different matter entirely). As Donnie sleepily cycles into his suburban town and this song comes on my heart does summersaults; not only because I’m madly in love with him, but the song choice is also just fab. Unfortunately youtube only has a clip of the director’s cut in which Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division plays. I mean don’t get me wrong I like that song just as much as the next guy, but it just doesn’t feel right.
So, here’s my second favourite piece of music from Donnie Darko and it’s still a killer. In this passage we’re given a look at the dynamics of the high school Donnie attends. It’s a fun, bright clip and I always find the blatant drug use during school from the tough guys utterly hilarious.
NUMBER ONE: Fight Club- Where Is My Mind? // Pixies
!! CONTAINS SPOILERS !!
So here with have it, number one and the very reason decided to write this article in the first place. I was rewatching Fight Club (1999, dir. David Fincher) the other day and as it came to the last scene I started to well up. By this point you can probably tell it doesn’t take much for films to make me cry, but this was slightly different. I was crying because of how well the music went with the scene and how happy it made me.
That image of Helena Bonham Carter and Ed Norton holding hands and accepting their fates is such an amazing send off for the end of the film. I also would like to say that I think Ed Norton totally rocks that no-trousers-long-coat-look. I can’t fault this scene (apart from in this clip the snapshot of genitalia we glimpse has been edited out for censorship reasons YAWN).
I had real difficulty narrowing this down to ten as there are so many more scenes I could have included. I’m already half way through part two so watch this space.