Music Blogs - Blogged Blog Directory Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, March 21, 2008

Top 5 Friday: 5 Movies with semi-decent Alternative Soundtracks

5. Clueless:

I love it when people don't realize that Clueless is basically Jane Austen's novel Emma. It's one of the few Alicia Silverstone movies I'll watch and the irony of the entire thing never fails to amuse me. Under that clueless, vapid exterior lies a smart, witty, sensitive Cher that makes a few lifestyle and spiritual changes at the end all orchestrated by a great soundtrack. You've got some Cracker, some Lightening Seeds, the Counting Crows, some Radiohead. There's lots of what I would consider some one-hit-wonder Alternative songs in here, which are the standout tracks for me: Jill Sobule's "Supermodel" and Luscious Jackson's "Here". It's a charming soundtrack, much in the way the movie is, and nice for when you want a little randomness mixed into your regular listening habits, whatever they may be.

4. The Wedding Singer:

To borrow a quote from Empire Records, shock me, shock me, shock me when I discovered the other day that someone turned The Wedding Singer into a Broadway musical. We all know of my love of musicals but my first question was "Why??" I had to rewind it to make sure it wasn't a joke and my question still stands, why?

It's your charming, typical love story of a Cater-Waiter and a really bad wedding band front man engaged to other people who meet and eventually realize that they were meant for each other. (Hello basic plot-line of chick flicks.) The Wedding Singer has a great soundtrack though...The Presidents of the United States of America, The Culture Club, New Order, The Thompson Twins...while it's not an entirely Alternative soundtrack, its great for those songs that are oddly peppy and make you want to sing along. (I mean really, who doesn't love singing along to Adam Sandler belting out "somebody kill me please..." while in the car with the windows down?) Standout tracks are "Everyday I Write the Book" by Elvis Costello and "China Girl" by David Bowie, but you really shouldn't miss or dismiss Ellen Dow plus the Sugarhill Gang doing "Rapper's Delight". No, it's not Alternative, but it's amusing and well worth the listen.

3. Empire Records:

"This music is the glue of the world Mark. It's what holds it all together. Without this, life would be meaningless."

In my house, all things stop and no opportunity is lost to watch Empire Records if it's on television. With commercials, without commercials, in doesn't matter. Empire Records is an important movie in my household and around here, you stop what you're doing to watch it, no matter when it started. And you also know what "Happy Rex Manning Day" means should it be said randomly. We've never been able to figure out why, exactly, we have such a great love for the movie, but we do. Independent music store, smart-alecky employees, Rex Manning, and an Atlantic City putting the store at risk of being sold to a large chain all make for a quirky good time. The music is fitting for the movie and it's got a sort of laid back, relaxed, almost sad Alternative vibe to it. Standout tracks include "Liar" by The Cranberries and "Ready, Steady, Go" by The Meices. What really makes me love this soundtrack, though is "Sugarhigh" by Coyote Shivers, on the soundtrack sans Renee Zellweger. It's jump-around-on-my-bed goodness that describes a mood I can often be found in.

2. Pretty In Pink:

Okay. Let's just get this out of the way: did anyone really buy into the idea that James Spader and Andrew McCarthy were young enough to be high school boys? Molly Ringwald and John Cryer were a bit more believable in their roles as Andy and Ducky, but really. James Spader as a high school senior? Even in 1986 he looks so...old. Like 2 packs a day old, but I digress.

I admit it Pretty In Pink isn't the greatest movie ever. It didn't really stand the test of time, as it were, for me. I loved it when I was in high school because Andy was just so cool and I desperately wanted to distance myself from the real life Steffs and Blanes that I knew. And she wore a lot of pink, which really, is never an issue for me. What did stand the test of time, though, is the soundtrack. Made up of songs that I loved then and still love now. If I drop off "If You Leave" by Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, which I loathe, it's probably my most favorite movie soundtrack ever. It uses the less popular "Shell Shock" by New Order and "Pretty In Pink" by The Psychedelic Furs is still an Alternative standard for me. There's Suzanne Vega, there's Belious Some, there's Echo and the Bunnymen creating an atmosphere of love, longing, and the awkwardness of not managing to fit in anywhere, even with those that are your own "kind." The soundtrack ends with probably the saddest Alternative song ever, "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" by The simple. So heartbreaking. Exactly perfect for the movie and exactly perfect for pretty much everyones lives.

I can do without seeing Pretty In Pink anymore, but I'll never give up the soundtrack.

1. Cruel Intentions:

Oh, how I love Cruel Intentions. Everyone always remembers it for it's famous in the park kissing scene, but it's really the dramatic, sad event towards that always gets me. It's dark, it's amusing in it's own way, it's explicit verging on socially unacceptable, it's unexpected, it's sexy. It's evil. It's got a perfect soundtrack.

This is one of those soundtracks that seemed to be tailor made for the movie in every way. The songs picked were appropriate for the scenes they played in, meaning plot and music manage to go hand in hand. The Counting Crows "Colorblind" manages to capture the sad trek Ryan Phillippe makes and "Bittersweet Symphony" from The Verve brings you out of the emotional tension the movie pretty much puts you through. It's a soundtrack that I think best sums up the emotional parts to movie, the Alternative genre's got a mix of (musical) acts that talk about love and sex and obsession and the darkness that is sometimes life. If those are the main themes to Alternative music, then I don't know what is. There's nothing upbeat about this soundtrack, not really, not even the peppiest of songs manage to cast a happy light to the whole thing.

Standout tracks, even though they all standout in their own ways, must not be missed: "Every Me, Every You" by Placebo and "Comin' Up From Behind" by Marcy Playground, which is so, so much superior to their "Sex and Candy" single. As far as Alternative soundtracks go, you absolutely cannot go wrong with the Cruel Intentions soundtrack.

No comments: