We all know the power that music can have. The way that it can evoke emotions and memories in a way that no other art form can quite manage. Music also has the power to bring films to life. The music from a film has the ability to instantly transport you back to a moment. But sometimes, the movie soundtracks are so much better than the films they are complimenting. Let’s count down nine movies who had better soundtracks than the films themselves.
9. Tron (Legacy)
There is no denying that Joseph Konsinski’s 2010 remake was visually stunning. But a confusing plot and a meandering pace quickly takes the shine off the visuals. It’s a shame, as the film promised so much, but delivered very little. On the plus side, the music was superb. Handled by legendary French electronic duo Daft Punk, it’s peppered with funky beats that sound like they have come straight from the future. Check out Derezzed, as it sums it up perfectly. If there was an artist or group that should write a soundtrack for a futuristic movie, then Daft Punk are it.
8. Natural Born Killers
Released in 1994 and directed by Oliver Stone, Natural Born Killers has become one of the most controversial films of all time. Mostly because of its excessive violence and plot. It’s not an overly bad film per se, but its appeal is fairly limited. Not everyone has the stomach for an ultra-violent murder-fest. What did have appeal though, was the fantastic soundtrack. This was handled by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. According to Reznor, he watched the film 50 times to get in the mood for writing the music. I don’t know how he mentally managed to do that and not go insane, but his brand of experimental industrial rock fitted snugly with the dark tones of the film. In fact, I would say tracks like Burn are more visceral than the violence on offer from the film.
7. Maximum Overdrive
This camp 80’s horror flick was actually directed by Stephen King in his one and only directorial appearance. The film was based on one of King’s short horror stories, Trucks, where machines turn on their makers. In essence, it’s a pretty terrible film. But what he did manage to do was to get one of his favourite bands to release their album as the soundtrack to the movie. AC/DC’s Who Made Who was the album in question, and my word, what an album. Hells Bells and You Shook me all Night Long are just some of the timeless anthems that feature in the movie. The album certainly makes the film bearable and even adds a little more cheekiness to it, but it by no means polishes a turkey. I’m a massive Stephen King fan, but he should definitely stick to writing books and stay away from the director’s chair. Take my advice and just buy the album.
6. Last Action Hero
Keeping the rock theme going, we now turn our attention to 1993’s Last Action Hero. Now, I was kind of torn with this one. I look back on the film with some affection for its cheesiness; ham acting and Schwarzenegger send-off’s. But in reality, it was a pretty terrible movie. It was a parody within a parody. In fact, it was so bad it was good. Which is why it’s giving me such an internal debate about slating it on this list. What wasn’t terrible, though, was the movie soundtrack.
It featured some of the world’s biggest rocks bands. There were tracks from Def Leppard; Aerosmith; Alice in Chains and AC/DC to name but a few, which more than makes up for the limp movie. The fist-pumping rock actually lends itself well to the cheesiness of the movie, so sit back, switch your brain off, and enjoy.
5. Saturday Night Fever
I would say that I have met people throughout my life who like an eclectic mix of music. What I haven’t met, is a large number of people that love disco. Either I just haven’t met them, or they avoid me, but there’s no denying that John Travolta’s sharp-dressed and dapper-dancing had mass appeal in 1978. It was a movie of its time and let’s be honest, looks incredibly dated when looking back now. It was definitely a film that was of its time and let’s be honest, it should probably stay there.
There is no denying the fantastic soundtrack though. Legendary disco-jivers the Bee Gees provided a large swathe of the music, but it also had ‘Disco Inferno’ from The Trammps. Now that is an iconic song. It’s a staple song of every wedding and birthday DJ across the globe. Everyone has heard of disco, but like green curtains and flares, it should be consigned to the history books for all eternity. If you must watch the film, you will probably look back on the movie and cringe, but the music will definitely give you a smile.
I remember watching this Ryan Gosling violent crime-noir and being a bit confused. There is no doubt that it was visually stunning and brutally visceral, but the plot was silly and some of the dialogue was, well, pretty diabolical. What wasn’t diabolical was the soundtrack. It was composed by Cliff Martinez. Nope, I’d not heard of him either. But here’s a fun fact for you. He was once the session drummer for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Cool, eh? Anyway, the soundtrack of drive is less funk, more 80s dark electro-pop that fits perfectly with the theme of film. You will get what I mean if you watch it. Apart from the violence, the fantastic music is all that you will remember from it. Which is reason alone to watch it.
Ok, I know that this one will polarise opinion, but Jaws isn’t really a great movie. I know that back in 1975 it was hugely successful. And that it made an awful lot of people scared to go into the sea for a while. But was it a good movie? I’m not so sure. Looking back now at the rubber shark is laughable, but I appreciate that at the time, it was probably pretty scary. As with any movie whose musical score is better than its film counterpart, it’s the music that you think of first. And is there any movie more iconic than that two-note music pattern that signals the arrival of Jaws? I thought not.
The music was written by legendary composer John Williams, who also wrote the music for Star Wars and Indian Jones amongst many others. There’s no denying he has incredible talent when it comes to writing music. Which is why when you think of Jaws, you think of his music.
2. The Bodyguard
No list of superior music soundtracks would be complete without Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard. Houston starred in the film and performed the soundtrack, but its only really the soundtrack we remember. Well, one song in particular, but what a song. I Will Always Love You was an international smash hit. It’s interesting to note that the song itself was originally written and released by country star Dolly Parton. But it was Houston’s version that took it through the stratosphere.
The soundtrack to the movie was half-filled with Whitney songs, but the other half was also crammed with great songs from other artists. The album won a Grammy award and has sold over 45 million copies around the globe. That’s a pretty incredible feat. But can you remember anything about the actual movie? Nope, me neither.
1. Batman Forever
After the first two fantastic Batman movies came Batman Forever in 1995. Now, I would argue this isn’t the worst Batman film in the franchise – that glory goes to 1997’s Batman and Robin – but it is pretty poor. The first two films were beautifully dark and melancholic; just how you expect a Batman movie to be. But Batman Forever took it down a more upbeat and sillier route. I guess the studio wanted to appeal to a wider audience, but it ended up a bit of dull mess. I would give credit to Jim Carrey though, who played the Riddler with a perfect insanity that you would expect him to do.
The soundtrack to the movie was not a dull mess. In fact, it had some absolute belters on. None more so that U2’s Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me, Kill Me, which was a hit single. The album also featured Kiss from A Rose by Seal, which was another huge hit. Add in songs from Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and Massive Attack, you have a pretty outstanding album. It was also a huge commercial success. The movie was also a huge commercial success being the highest grossing movie of 1995. But we know that commercial success doesn’t always equate to a good movie.
Avoid the film but buy the album.
And that’s our list of 9 films with a better soundtrack than the movie they appeared in. Are we wrong? Are there any we missed out that you would like to have seen on the list? If so, leave us a comment below.
Read about 9 songs better than the movies they appeared in HERE.
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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