Now you might remember in my last installment of Scenes (Songs) We Love, I made mention of a certain category in my personal movie soundtrack collection: Bad Movies with Good Music. Well, that thought has been sticking with me every since, because if I took a long hard look at my soundtracks, I have my fair share of contenders with that title, and over the years, I have come across some pretty awesome musical selections thanks to some pretty crappy movies. I truly believe that music is one of the most important elements in a film, and while most of critics tend to focus on original scores; not me, because I am a big fan of the movie soundtrack with songs that have a life outside of the box office, and that's what today's discussion is all about.
Now there has yet to be a soundtrack that was so wonderful that it could make me forget about the film it came along with, but I'm not a throw the baby out with the bathwater type of gal, so if I like a song there isn't much anyone can do to stop me from cranking up the volume. Besides, at least a good song in a bad movie gives you a few minutes of pleasure in an otherwise wasted couple of hours. But then again, there is the flip side when a movie is so bad that it manages to ruin a song that you used to love.
So before we get started on some of my examples of Good Music in Bad Movies, I'm going to lay out some ground rules -- well one rule, really, because just like with any list, there is never enough time or space to include everybody. So, I decided to keep my examples to films that came out in the golden age of the soundtrack album: the 90's. Which does mean that some of the more recent mind-bending duos like Thom Yorke and New Moon didn't make the cut, but that's where you are going to come in, so let's begin:
After the jump; Five Songs I Love from Movies I Can't Stand....
Battleflag by Lo-Fidelity All Stars featuring Pigeonhead: Forces of Nature
I have theories about the power of a song that makes you strut, and Battleflag is one of my go-to songs for this very purpose. This particular remix was released in 1998 on the All-Stars debut album, and since then, the tune has popped up in a few films (and trailers a-plenty). Unfortunately for me, the one film I can't seem to separate this song from was the lukewarm romantic comedy, Forces of Nature, where the song is the soundtrack to Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck getting high.
Atom Bomb by Fluke: The Saint
If this list has taught me anything it's that the 90's were a great time for soundtracks but not necessarily for movies. The big-screen adaptation of Leslie Charteris' creation, was to put it simply: a terrible, terrible, movie. I honestly didn't know what was worse: watching Val Kilmer work his way through a cavalcade of bad accents, or Elizabeth Shue waxing poetic about cold fusion in a skin-tight lab coat, but at least I got to hear this song.
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me by U2: Batman Forever
Considering this was the song that started me off on this tangent in the first place, I couldn't leave behind the Irish rock legend's contribution to Joel Schumacher's, Batman Forever. Schumacher went on to pull a double whammy by taking another great song (The Beginning Is the End Is The Beginning) and just throwing it on top of the credits of Batman and Robin. Luckily for that song, years later Zack Snyder saved the tune for his Watchmen trailer and gave the track a little bit of it's dignity back.
Perfect Drug by NIN: Lost Highway
I might get some flack for this one, but I just can't help it: I don't dig Lost Highway. I may admire the work of David Lynch and there is nobody making films like him, but that movie left me cold. But, I was smack dab in my Goth days when this song (and film) were released, and a Byronesque Trent Reznor drinking absinthe in a billowy coat was about as good as things were ever going to get. Now, if you are a little turned off by musical cacophony, this song could be a bit much, but it certainly has stayed with me longer than Lynch's tale of paranoia and body switching.
Talk Show Host by Radiohead: William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
As any of my friends can tell you, I hate Romeo and Juliet. Not just Baz Luhrmann's R&J, either -- I'm talking Shakespeare's tale of star crossed lovers. I even admired the Aussie director's attempt to modernize the tale of the fatally stupid, that didn't mean that I liked the story any better with Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes as the lovers dropping E to 'Young Hearts Run Free!". But Radiohead's song (and the soundtrack as a whole) hit just about the perfect balance of romance and angst.
Well, now it's your turn. What are some of your favorite songs from your least favorite films? Sound off in the comments...