The importance of a good soundtrack cannot be overstated. Try watching a movie without any music and see how much it sucks. A few good jams can turn a movie around.
Personally I’ve hit up IMDB plenty of times after watching a movie to find out the songs they used. Below are ten of the top soundtracks and their best scenes in terms of music. Got a good one I missed? Spit your game in the comments.
Note: I didn’t include musicals or films with actual original soundtracks (i.e.-Lord of the Rings). The whole concept of a musical is based on the music so that didn’t seem far. As for movies like Star Wars, I’m not trying to critique symphonies.
Top artists: “Under your spell”- Desire, “A real hero” – College & Electric Youth, “Nightcall” - Kavinsky & Lovefoxxx
If there is an example of how important a good soundtrack is to a movie it’s Drive. Without some good tunes in the background you would probably realize you’re watching a movie about a mentally handicapped stunt driver (He’s retarded right?). Instead you leave in awe of how that dude from The Notebook could be such a total badass.
Best scene: Because this entire movie is Ryan Gosling brooding to music it was tough to pick one that stood out. This one takes the cake though. You know during that entire speech that broad is just thinking about getting it in with Gosling.
Top songs: “Spill the wine”-Eric Burdon, “Got to give it up”-Marvin Gaye, “Jungle Fever”-The Chakachas
Soundtracks are all about getting a feel for the time the movie was set in. No sense playing that new Kanye jam when the film is set in the 70’s. Boogie Nights did the right thing sticking with the classics of the time. Not only that, but just about all these songs could be used as a background to porn too. That’s what we call a win-win.
Best scene: A lot like the “Club entrance scene” in Goodfellas, I love how this entire clip is done in one steady shot. Hands down the best part is when the camera follows her into the water and the acoustics of the song change. Moviemaking at its finest.
"School of Rock"
Top songs: “Touch me”-The Doors, “Immigrant Song”-Led Zeppelin, “Substitute” The Who
Anyone that thinks this is just a movie for kids can suck it. This is easily Jack Black’s best performance, outside of Tropic Thunder and Airborne. As for the music, it’s insane how many good artists they have on here. The Who, Led Zeppelin, Ramones, The Doors. They even have The Black Keys! Before they were famous! Even the song the kids play doesn’t suck!
Best scene: How f**king crazy is Keith Moon?
Best songs: “The Next Episode”-Dr. Dre, “Pursuit of Happiness (Steve Aoki Dance Remix)”-Kid Cudi, “Heads will roll (A-Trak remix)”-Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Hate it or love it this movie has got some tunes. You have to respect incorporating J.Kwon into a film and not having it turn into a complete failure.
Best scene: This is what ran through my mind every time one of my friends told me their parents were gone for the weekend in high school.
"Dazed and Confused"
Top songs: “Slow ride”-Foghat, “Tuesday’s gone”-Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Low Rider”-War
If I were an 18-year-old in the 1970’s I would definitely have an orange low rider and play these songs all the time. This music is all about grooving while you’re cruising. And when Family Guy parodies a scene from your movie, you know you’re doing something right.
Best Scene: Pool halls have never seemed so cool.
"It’s Kind of a Funny Story"
Best songs: “Intro”-The XX, “Blood”-The Middle East, “Where is my mind”-Maxence Cyrin
Like most indie flicks this has a ton of bands you’ve probably never heard of (ok the XX are pretty big now but at the time they weren’t). Plenty of good jams throughout, usually I’m not a fan of when comedy actors drive to get serious (somewhat) but Zach Galifianakis gets it done.
Best scene: The glitter in Galifianakis’ beard gets me every time.
Top songs: “Can’t you hear me knocking”-The Rolling Stones, “Blinded by the light”-Manfred Mann, “Can’t you see”-Marshall Tucker Band
When I first saw the trailer for Blow I remember downloading “Blinded by the light” on Napters (THROWBACKS!) and putting it on just about every CD mix I made. If there was ever a reason to learn to play the keyboard it’s to play the chorus of this song.
Best scene: The music fits perfectly with the scene. It’s pretty much the pinnacle of George’s life. After this it’s dealing with Horseface (Penelope Cruz) and getting raped in federal prison for 15 years.
Top songs: “Don’t panic”-Coldplay, “Let go”-Frou Frou, “New Slang”-The Shins
If you talk to anyone about Garden State chances are good they mention the soundtrack within the first minute. For all intents and purposes there isn’t actually a movie, just a bunch of songs. Just goes to show you if you have a killer soundtrack the hipster community will embrace no matter how bad it actually is.
Best scene: I love how this clip displays what 90% of the people who enjoy this movie are like. “Come here and listen to how good the music I like is!” Forget Black Swan, Natalie Portman should have gotten an Oscar for pulling off the dirty hippie look so well.
"Remember the Titans"
Top songs: “Spirit in the sky”-Norman Greenbaum, “Up around the bend”-Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Peace train”-Cat Stevens
I was tempted to not even include this because I consider it a musical. These guys sing more than they actually play football. The locker room, coming out to the field, the funeral, I bet any of the guys still alive from the team probably were pissed they made them look like the cast of Glee.
Best scene: Can I just say I feel like my high school experience is a complete sham because I couldn’t beat the shit out of an old car. What gives? I’d rather take a sledgehammer to a ’87 Civic than watch a meathead rip a phonebook in half and tell me why drugs are bad.
Best songs: “Fly like an eagle”-Seal, “I believe I can fly”-R. Kelly, “Hit ‘em high”-Busta Rhymes
I know what you’re thinking: Why isn’t this whole post just dedicated to how god damn good this soundtrack is. Seal, Coolio, R. Kelly, Busta Rhymes, D’Angelo, Monica, Salt-N-Pepa, Robin S. Is this a soundtrack or a set list for the best concert ever in 1993? If you didn’t have this soundtrack as a kid you were a square.
Best scene: Is it weird that I think Lola Bunny is hot?