5 soundtracks that are far better than the movie

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A great soundtrack is so often wasted on an average film.

You know when you’re really enjoying a film and then they use a really, really great song in just the right moment and it makes you feel like everything in the world is okay?

Well have you ever experienced the opposite? When you’re watching a film you just cannot stand and then one of your favourite songs comes on and you just feel… dirty? It’s as if the stench of the film is going to rub off on the band or the song and you’ll never be able to appreciate it in the same way again.

It’s a pretty trivial problem, but I hold great artists to pretty high standards so it’s kinda gross when their art is used in such inglorious ways.

So, while we’re celebrating the most memorable soundtracks over the next couple of weeks, I thought I’d offer my thoughts on a few that are memorable for all the wrong reasons.

If you see one of your favourite movies in here, then don’t get too upset. I spend most of my spare time watching Top Chef and the Japanese reality TV show Terrace House, so I’m not exactly the arbiter of great taste when it comes to on screen entertainment.

But, seriously, these movies are pretty bad.

Reality Bites

 

I saw Reality Bites purely on the strength of its soundtrack. I had no idea what the movie was about, I just knew it had Crowded House, Juliana Hatfield and Dinosaur Jr. on the soundtrack and that was enough to convince me to spend an hour and a half watching it.

That was definitely a mistake. I could have just listened to ‘Locked Out’ 30 times in a row and probably had a better time. I still don’t know what the movie is about because I’ve pretty much completely blocked it outta my mind.

Some people still love it. I know this because I've had many arguments about the merits of this film. I think people only love this film because they love the 90s. Nostalgia is fine, but it shouldn't cloud our judgment when it come to what's actually good. Hollywood wanted the Gen X dollar, so they pandered to that audience with a romaticised view of the early-20s lifestyle. 

I’d prefer to watch the next film I’m about to write about than sit through it again.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

 

Here’s the point where I have to admit I haven’t seen this film, so I’m really just assuming it’s awful. Mainly because of all the reviews (it rates just 28 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and also because my colleague Nat Tencic said ‘it is a boring movie with lots of Taylor Lautner chest muscles’.

It also has lots of really good songs, which must’ve been some consolation for the poor parents who were dragged to see this weird vampire sex teen thing (again, haven’t seen it, just speculating).

Thom Yorke, Bon Iver & St. Vincent, Lykke Li, Death Cab For Cutie, Band Of Skulls – this was a serious list of A-grade, not-quite-mainstream artists. The joys of a Hollywood budget.

Last Action Hero

 

After losing their way a bit in the 80s, AC/DC were well and truly back at their best by the time they were asked to contribute to this 1992 Arnold Schwarzenegger action-comedy vehicle. ‘Big Gun’ is an absolute monster of a rock song and it alone is enough reason to see the film.

Add in some equally bitchin’ hard rock from Megadeth (the ‘Angry Again’ riff is a ripper) and Anthrax (wish they’d left the turntables alone though), and a little variety courtesy of Cypress Hill’s excellent ‘Cock the Hammer’ and you’ve got a more than passable soundtrack for a less than passable action film.

But hey, it grossed about 50 million bucks over its budget at the box office so who’s having the last laugh here?

Batman Forever

 

U2’s ‘Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me’ was the lead single from this killer 1995 soundtrack, but there’s so much gold on here.

Mazzy Star, Nick Cave, Michael Hutchence doing Iggy Pop, The Flaming Lips, Sunny Day Real Estate, PJ Harvey and even The Offspring doing a decent job of The Damned’s ‘Smash It Up’.

And it’s crazy to think that pop music reached its absolute pinnacle in 1995 when Seal released the hit song ‘Kiss From A Rose’. I’m still not sure why people even decided to keep writing songs after it came out. Surely music was done, right? We’d heard everything we needed to. The best song had been written.

Conversely, I’m glad they kept making Batman movies after this hugely questionable addition to the franchise. They got better (they got worse too, but the Batman & Robin soundtrack isn’t as good as this one).

Tank Girl

 

This forgettable box office flop had a soundtrack cobbled together by none other than Courtney Love. She did a damn fine job of it, too.

It features Björk’s ‘Army Of Me’, Devo’s ‘Girl U Want’ (which they re-recorded for the film’s opening titles), L7’s ‘Shove’ and, for some completely unknown reason, Joan Jett and Paul Westerberg doing a punkish rendition of Cole Porter’s ‘Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love’.

The film was so spectacularly unsuccessful that the artists reportedly started to back away from it. Björk and her label, Elektra Records, had no interest in using Tank Girl footage for the ‘Army Of Me’ clip.

Side note: Jamie Hewlett, who was one of the creators of the original Tank Girl, is a co-founder of Gorillaz and continues to be the character designer for all of its members.

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