Movies and music go hand-in-hand. The perfect soundtrack could make or break a movie. Guardians of the Galaxy was a comic book, space epic, that could easily been done by the likes of John Williams or Danny Elfman. But it was the music Peter Quill’s mother raised him on that put us inside the Earthling’s head. Don’t get me wrong, John Williams painted the scenes of Star Wars just as well as George Lucas did. And how can you not read Batman without hearing Danny Elfman’s theme, from the 1989 movie, that carried over to the animated series?
When I listen to the radio, certain songs may bring to mind a certain scene from a movie. The days of Spotify and Pandora may have replaced those of the radio DJ. Nevertheless, a good shuffle can usher a plethora of memories.
20. “Hip To Be Square” by Huey Lewis and The News – American Psycho
The first of two films on the list in which Jared Leto gets f*cked up in some sort of way – but this is the only scene in which he’s featured on the list. Always remember, it’s hip to be square. – Frank Palmer
19.”Blue” by Eiffel 65 – Iron Man 3
The third installment from the MCU’s flagship hero, opens up with a flashback to New Year’s Eve 1999. Before Tony Stark was captured by the Ten Rings, before he ever built an iron suit, he met the antagonist that would destroy his life in 2013. Better yet, he met, but never remembered, the man who later helped him build the Mark I suit. What better song to play at the end of 1999, than the song you couldn’t get away from that whole year?
John Michael Higgins plays great side characters in flicks like Fun With Dick and Jane, Evan Almighty, and Bicentennial Man. “Owner of a Lonely Heart” reminds me of his side character from The Break-Up, when he and his acappella group annoy the piss out of Vince Vaughn.
17.”Live and Let Die” by Guns ‘N Roses – Grosse Point Blank
This classic is slowly strumming away and building up in intensity as Martin Blank pulls up to his childhood home, to find it’s been bulldozed and turned into a kwik-e-mart. The real hook is at the point where it’s meant to explode into an instrumental, Blank bursts into the store, and the tune carries on at that point but is instead now being played in a non-offensive elevator musack style. Legendary…. – Simon Andrews
16.”Rocking Around The Christmas Tree” – Home Alone
What’s the best way to deter potential home-invaders from entering your address when you’re an abandoned child? Throw a pretend Christmas party, with this track playing on full blast. This festive hit will forever be associated with rotating cardboard cut-outs, an adapted toy train, and McCauley Culkin frantically pulling away at the ropes connected to his anti-burglary puppets, resulting in a quite bemused Joe Pesci. – Simon Andrews
15.”Jump Around” by House of Pain – Mrs. Doubtfire
Everyone has their favorite Robin Williams moment. Mine is when he and Mathew Lawrence danced on top of a table while rapping along to House of Pain. With that song, I think of two things: that scene from Mrs. Doubtfire, and a Pringles commercial.
14.”1979″ by Smashing Pumpkins – Clerks II
Kevin Smith’s first movie was a about a man in his twenties at a dead-end job. A decade later, its sequel was about a man in his thirties at a dead-end job. Next year, we’ll see the third installment, as I’m sure it will be about Dante in his forties. Thirty-year old Dante learned he was about to become a father. Smith explained that both, Clerks II and Jersey Girl, were about his own fatherhood. While Dante takes a drive, listening to a song from those good ol’ days at the Quick Stop, he sees Smith’s daughter, Harley, in a restaurant window.
13.”HEAD OVER HEELS” BY TEARS FOR FEARS – DONNIE DARKO
While some would argue that “Mad World” by Gary Jules is the song to include on this list, I feel that I hear this song more often and always think of this movie when I hear it. – Frank Palmer
12.”Celebration” by Kool and the Gang – Muppets From Space
This Muppet movie from 1999 trades the numbers sung by Kermit and the gang, for those by Kool and the Gang, as well as other Funk bands. Where Kermit knows he’s a frog, Fozzie’s a bear, and Piggy’s…well….a pig, Gonzo is a “whatever.” Receiving psychic messages from his brethren, he learns he’s actually an alien. When he meets his family, they land in their spaceship, blaring the song of their people. They show Gonzo that, whatever you are, “it’s time to come together.”
11.”JINGLE BELL ROCK” – LETHAL WEAPON
One of the jolliest Christmas tracks around, when we find Martin Riggs sat in his trailer listening to it, he’s in a far from jolly mood. As the track pleasantly rattles along, Riggs drunkenly makes his mind up wether or not he wants to put a bullet into his brain, by inserting his handgun into his mouth, effectively ruining this happy little offering for years to come… – Simon Andrews
10.”Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – Forrest Gump
Riding in the car with my dad, we would listen to Classic Rock, and play “name that tune.” The entire soundtrack of Forrest Gump, which he had me watch countless times, was filled with those songs. A military man himself, he could relate to Forrest. Therefore, as it was driveled into my head, the picture of Forrest and Bubba landing in Vietnam, flashed in my mind with each listen of the CCR classic.
9.”Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and The Waves – High Fidelity
There are so many songs to choose from on this movie (including the ending song that was perfect – but I didn’t want to potentially spoil that for anyone) but this was the best scene to choose for this list because any time I hear the song, I think of this scene. – Frank Palmer
8.”Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel – Watchmen
Most recently, Rock bands, Bobaflex and Disturbed, covered this Simon and Garfunkel tune. While I enjoy those covers, the original always gets me in the feels. It’s probably the harmonies that Paul and Art did so well. Like Forrest Gump, The Watchmen chronicled decades of history throughout America. But The Watchmen was a history from an alternate timeline. Alan Moore, the author of the comic, is good at creating alternate histories, like in V for Vendetta. When superhero, The Comedian, died, the song from his funeral (from that fictional era that mirrored the true one) gave me a whole new set of feels.
7.”Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry – Back to the Future
Huey Lewis hits, “Power of Love” and “Back in Time,” make me think of my favorite movie trilogy. But when Marty McFly filled in as guitar at the “Enchantment Under the Sea” dance, movie magic was made. In 1955, nobody had heard of Chuck Berry yet– except for the band’s leader, Marvin Berry. Not only did Marty bring his parents together, he also inspired a song that probably inspired him.
6.”Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns ‘N Roses – Lean on Me
The first time I saw Morgan Freeman in a movie was the first time I heard this song. It’s amazing how Freeman is viewed as this nice, gentle, old man with a soothing voice. After all, he did play God. But in Lean on Me, he was a tougher-than-nails principal, hell-bent on turning a failing school around. “Welcome to the Jungle” pretty much described East Side High. But if the song didn’t tell you, a student beating a teacher’s head into the floor, surely would.
5. “GOLDEN BROWN” BY THE STRANGLERS – SNATCH
One thing that you can’t deny, the British have a good taste in music. After Brad Pitt lands that shocking blow to his opponent’s cranium, “shock” is the only word to describe the scene. A masterfully placed right hook laid the giant fighter out and the end results almost puts you in the panic haze that our friend Tommy finds himself in. You honestly don’t know will happen next to Tommy and Guy Ritchie leaves you in suspense in a masterful way that is almost nail biting. Never a frown with golden brown. – Mark Salcido
4. “DON’T STOP ME NOW” BY QUEEN – SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Edgar Wright knew how to hit the right comedy beats for his homage to the zombie genre. When our heroes of the film are cornered in a pub with little to no help, all might be lost. So, how does he lighten the mood? With Freddie Mercury bellowing out his heavenly voice for the song “Don’t stop me Now”…while the gang dispenses with a zombie. The jam fit perfectly with the sounds of the pool cues smashing against the living corpse and even showed what the onlookers were doing – rocking out to the jukebox tunes. This only heightened the comedy in unexpected way. God bless Edgar Wright. – Mark Salcido
3. “STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU” BY STEALERS WHEEL – RESERVOIR DOGS
This set-up and scene needs no explanation because it’s burned into the pop culture conscious. The creepiness of the Michael Madsen slowly approaching the officer with that crazy look in his eyes would have anyone running and screaming for their life. And to make it worse, the camera pans to the right as Madsen plops himself on the officer and really goes to work, leaving the audience left with their imagination, which can even be more horrifying. Make sure to wait for 60 minutes before you think about grabbing another bite after you see this scene. – Mark Salcido
2. “Where Is My Mind?” by The Pixies – Fight Club
Whenever I hear this song (on the radio, commercials, covers, etc.) I always picture the ending of this movie because it fit so perfectly. Now, obviously, as the video below states, it’s the ending to Fight Club, so if you’re the one person who hasn’t seen it – don’t say we didn’t warn you. – Frank Palmer
1.”Damn, It Feels Good to be a Gangsta” by Geto Boys – Office Space
Whenever anyone hears this song about the joys of thug life, they think of two white guys and an Indian dude taking baseball bats to……a printer. I could just see the little person in Geto Boys face-palm. But really, hats off to Mike Judge for the best use of a song in a movie.
Anything that we forgot? Sound off in the comment section below!