Imagine Batman and Robin being in the same sentence as Citizen Kane… Of course, there are times when we all collectively decide that this film or song is objectively bad. It’s oddly unifying, but for the most part, it’s just a matter of opinion. Sometimes the songs from movies are better than the films themselves.
When the world of film meets the world of music, the two can help produce an all-time classic.
A terrible soundtrack can’t necessarily save a terrible film, but a great soundtrack can bolster a good film into greatness. Oftentimes we’re met with a fantastic soundtrack that outweighs the film and our senses are put into conflict.
Great song, forgettable movie, here are 9 songs far better than the movies they appeared in.
1. Another Way to Die – Jack White and Alicia Keys
From Quantum of Solace (2008)
James Bond films are synonymous with their theme tracks and so many music icons have carried the mantle. And more than one of the songs has been better than their movies. Louis Armstrong, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, and a woefully misjudged A-Ha, have all taken up the reins for the esteemed Bond song.
The second film in the most recent Daniel Craig reboot of the much-loved franchise took the disparate duo of Jack White and Alicia Keys. And managed to flounder whatever goodwill they’d set up.
“Another Way to Die” had a mixed critical reception and some believed it didn’t feel like a Bond song, but that’s exactly the point! It wasn’t just another tedious, ouch-my-ears-are-bleeding Bond song.
Unfortunately, it was tacked on to a less than stellar Bond film, which indeed was just another Bond film. Hmm, I think I can see the correlation here…
2. Flash – Queen
From Flash Gordon (1980)
Flash Gordon falls into the territory of it’s so bad that it’s good. Yet asides from the terrible acting, the main thing we all took away from the film was the theme song. Flash! Ah-ah! Saviour of the universe.
Cheesy dialogue, laughable costume design and a typical good triumphs over evil plot, Flash Gordon is so ’80s that it hurts! That doesn’t mean that the film is unwatchable by any means, but it’s certainly good for all the wrong reasons.
With stadium-rock legends Queen at the helm of the soundtrack, the film had to do a lot to fail. It’s doubtful that Flash Gordon could’ve ever matched the star quality of Queen. Though nobody could have foreseen just how much of a commercial and critical flop Flash Gordon would be.
On paper, Queen was a perfect fit for the film, and indeed they were – when you think garish sci-fi opera, who else but Queen? Sadly, they couldn’t save the film, unlike Flash who, as we all know, saved every one of us so this ends up on our list of songs better than their movies.
3. Heart of Glass – Blondie
From Anger Management (2003)
When you use Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” to open your film you better damn well hope that it lives up to such a classic song – spoiler: it didn’t!
Obviously it would be difficult to match the success of an iconic 1979 number one single, “Heart of Glass”. But Anger Management was yet another throwaway Adam Sandler film. Oh, and they dragged Jack Nicholson into it too.
Granted Adam Sandler films have a love or hate quality to them, but the lukewarm reception to Anger Management speaks for itself. The film had its moments – it certainly wasn’t quite Jack and Jill, though comparatively, “Heart of Glass” is a ’70s gem that weirdly sounds like an ’80s gem.
4. Korn – Did My Time
From Lara Croft: Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life (2003)
Another one from back in 2003 when nu-metal was still a thing, Korn’s “Did My Time” was something of a positive to come out of the Razzie winning Tomb Raider film, The Cradle of Life.
Okay, so “Did My Time” is a little of its time, but it did earn them a Grammy nomination, whereas The Cradle of Life won awards but not ones to pop champagne to.
Funnily enough, punching sharks underwater and fending off shadow monster trees don’t make for a great film. Hence the aforementioned Razzie and Golden Schmoes award for worst movie of the year.
The Cradle of Life was yet another showcase of video games rarely translating well to the silver screen. “Did My Time” was a notable success for Korn, so at least there’s that.
5. In the City – Joe Walsh of The Eagles
From The Warriors (1979)
The Warriors is a cult classic, and for the record, I really like the film, but the sensible part of my brain knows that it’s more than a tad silly.
But, it did give us a favourite of classic-rock radio stations, “In the City” by ex-Eagles guitarist, Joe Walsh.
The entire film centres on a gang-member (Luther) killing a gang-leader (Cyrus) who was trying to broker peace between all the gangs of New York City. Yet in the chaos the matching sleeveless leather jacket wearing, the Warriors are blamed.
The Warriors have to make their way back to Coney Island with all the also matching uniform wearing gangs on their tale – it’s riveting stuff.
Luther’s justification for such a central plot point: he just likes doing stuff like that. If you were looking for deep forays into character psychology then you are in the wrong place.
“In the City” was later re-recorded by the Eagles for the album The Long Run, but the song was never released as a single.
6. No Shelter – Rage Against the Machine
From Godzilla (1998)
If you ever wanted proof that a good soundtrack cannot save a terrible film, then look no further. And no, the P Diddy and Jimmy Page collaboration is not included in that. Godzilla (the Matthew Broderick one) hosted more than a few reputed musicians. Who no doubt vehemently kicked themselves after watching the film. Foo Fighters, Green Day and Rage Against the Machine? Where did they go wrong?
“No Shelter” marked a strange contribution to the film’s soundtrack. Considering that the song was an attack on the world of Hollywood and films. Stranger still, “No Shelter” seemingly attacked the very film it featured in with the line, “Godzilla, pure motherf**king filler, to keep ya eyes of the real killer”. Either the irony was lost on them or this is pure genius I’m not sure. Nevertheless, the song was certainly something to take away from an otherwise abysmal film.
Godzilla was a resounding commercial failure and any pipe dreams of a sequel were quickly abandoned. Maybe Rage Against the Machine were happy about this? Again, I’m not sure, all this irony is overwhelming.
7. Wild Wild West – Will Smith
From Wild Wild West (1999)
Though it would be difficult to produce anything quite as terrible as the film Wild Wild West. Will Smith’s song of the same the name just oozes light-hearted ’90s fun. It’s slightly cringe-worthy granted, but maybe after a few drinks, it’s enough to get to you on your feet. Not convinced? Maybe it’s a generational thing…give me that at least.
“Wild Wild West” hearkens back to a time that Will Smith would rather forget with him being a serious actor now, but we remember the real Will Smith. Silly yet fun music, Fresh Prince, and some less than great films, Smith has certainly come a long way since then.
For the ’90s kids, “Wild Wild West” still pops, though as one of those songs better than their movies. For everyone and their dogs, the film was a car crash. Will Smith is genuinely embarrassed by the film, what’s more to say? Erm… more than a few Razzie awards… ouch!
8. Living in America – James Brown
From Rocky IV (1985)
Although grossly patriotic, James Brown’s “Living in America” is a feel-good song of the highest degree. Though sensationalist and a little gaudy. I’m not even from the US and yet somehow I feel like donning a star-spangled jumpsuit when I hear this classic hit. And what could be a better fit for a dire film that has a less than inconspicuous subtext of ‘America is the greatest!’?
If you like half-baked political discourse. Or borderline Russiaphobia and endless montages then Rocky IV might just be for you. Clearly Stallone had the mounting tensions between Russia and the US in mind when he penned the screenplay for Rocky IV in 1985. But it came across has somewhat tone-deaf. The infamous line, “I can change, and you can change, everybody can change…” as he looks over a mostly Russian crowd is vomit-inducing. Somehow I don’t think a film about boxing is enough to ease years of political strife. Perhaps don’t use “Living in America” in your film if you’re trying to broker good relations between these two countries? Maybe I’m reading into this too much.
Of course, the Rocky franchise was and is extremely successful having grossed over one-billion pounds. Despite peaking at number five “Living in America” was James Brown’s biggest single in the UK. You can always trust us self-loathing Brits to celebrate a song about living somewhere else, “Living in the UK” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. In the US “Living in America” did one better and peaked at number four.
9. Sweet Emotion – Aerosmith
From Dazed and Confused (1993)
Put your pitchforks down, step back and re-watch Dazed and Confused… Is it really that great? Is it maybe just nostalgia that’s making you believe that it’s great? We get it! The ’70s is over…man.
Dazed and Confused had a monumental soundtrack with Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, and Bob Dylan all making a musical appearance. But, the opening “Sweet Emotion” was a particular high of songs better than their movies. And yes, high is italicised because unless you grew up in the ’70s. Or are/were incredibly high when watching Dazed and Confused the film had very little to offer. There’s a certain boyish charm to the film, but it really hasn’t aged well at all. Case in point: Matthew McConaughey’s character, Wooderson…ugh!
Upon its release, Dazed and Confused garnered moderate commercial success though it since went on to be a household teen movie. The opposite was true for “Sweet Emotion” which was the first of a string of hits for Aerosmith before they go a bit…you know, ballady…
Teen movies always come off as somewhat cheesy especially after a re-watching them as an adult, but nostalgia is a helluva drug. The soundtrack was undeniable, but the film is a little tired… and hungry!
Hey-ho, when all is said and done, as I mentioned, art is subjective. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. It’s true that a good song can help nudge a film into something brilliant, but what that song is still down to opinion.
And that’s our list of 9 songs better than the movies 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.
More from our music pages HERE.
Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters
Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?
Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw
While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.
Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor
Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.
Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff
Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.
Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw
Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.
Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.
Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor
Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.
Dr Strange- Ravenclaw
Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.
Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff
Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.
Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.
Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin
This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.
T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff
T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor
At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.
Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.
Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.
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