Movie Tunes: The Top 40 music moments in film history: 21-30

Movie Tunes: The Top 40 music moments in film history: 11-20

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20-11


20“In a Gadda-Da-Vida,” Iron Butterfly – Manhunter

Having the climax of an intense serial killer film accompanied by this 1968 heavy metal classic is enough to make you keep the lights on at night. The song is a perfect soundtrack to murder and mayhem and reflected the convoluted mind of the Red Dragon, played magnificently and creepily by Tom Noonan. The music is the backdrop to the tension created as Will Graham (William Petersen) and Jack Crawford (Dennis Farina) race to the home of the killer. Will they get there before the Red Dragon kills his blind girlfriend…? The juxtaposition of “In a Gadda Da Vida” with Graham’s intensity is incredible; I read that Noonan wouldn't be in the same room whenever Peterson was filming to create a natural tension for that climactic scene. “Manhunter” is in my top-10 favorite movies of all time; in protest, I’ve never watched the remake (“Red Dragon”), since it could never contain a scene on par with this. – RDS


19“Tequila,” The Champs – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

I think it’s safe to say that my entire generation discovered this classic rock song thanks to Pee Wee Herman and his first flick. Seeing him turn a rowdy biker bar’s clientele into a bunch of grooving softies while dancing to the song on top of the bar in his trademark shoes was the highlight of the movie. How can you not hear this song and not get images in your head of Pee Wee doing his great little dance? I recall seeing and hearing it for the first time and wondering just what the hell that song was; I even went so far to tape it from the movie itself onto a cassette, so I could groove along with it whenever I liked. Pee Wee has always been one of the coolest, and we owe him so much thanks for introducing a ton of kids to this always-great song. – JT

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18“Layla,” Derek and the Dominoes – GoodFellas

Have you ever thought the closing instrumental to Derek and the Dominoes’ “Layla” was too long? Well, it’s actually the perfect length if you want to whack a handful of mobsters and tie up some loose ends. Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) has just pulled off a major heist and, to keep details of the job under wraps, he kills just about everyone involved in the robbery, only we don’t see the murders; we just see bodies tumbling from dumpsters and hanging in meat lockers. We’re not entirely sure why it works, but Jim Gordon’s piano coda serves as the pitch-perfect backdrop for this brilliant scene, which culminates with the unexpected hit on Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci). – Jamey Codding

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17“Afternoon Delight,” Starland Vocal Band – Anchorman

“What’s it like, Ron?” asks Champ Kind (David Koechner), after Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) announces to the entire newsroom that he and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) had sex and are now in love. Turns out Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) are dying to know what love is like, too. Ron’s response? “Well, it’s really quite simple. It’s kinda like…” And with that, Ron launches into one of the cheesiest one-hit wonders of all time: “Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight, gonna grab some afternooooon dee-light…” Champ, Brian and Brick jump in to deliver a rather impressive a cappella send-up of the Starland Vocal Band’s Grammy-winning “Afternoon Delight,” a scene and song choice that, cheesy or not, fit the climate of the movie perfectly. (review) – JC

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16“Spybreak,” The Propellerheads – The Matrix

Let’s get this out of the way up front: the shootout that takes place to the tune of the Propellerheads’ super-groovy “Spybreak” in “The Matrix” is…preposterous. Both Neo and Trinity would have taken 30 bullets apiece in that battle, especially when Neo decides to pick that gun off the floor by doing a cartwheel instead of, say, diving straight for it (we admit we’re sticklers for that whole shortest-distance-between-two-points thing). But if “The Matrix” was about anything, it was about ushering in a whole new era of style in filmmaking, and this scene has that in spades. While Neo does gymnastics, Trinity runs up the wall in order to dodge gunfire, and later emasculates a guy by swiping his gun from him and shooting him with it. Admittedly, the scene was going to be badass no matter what song they used to score it, but the fact that they picked the Propellerheads, the hipster big beat band of choice at the time (and a band that we at Bullz-Eye miss terribly), raised the scene to a whole new level. Even “The Simpsons” paid the movie and song tribute by having Bart handing out menus to a Chinese restaurant like he was Neo, “Spybreak” blasting in the background. That’s called being touched by the hand of God, right there. – David Medsker

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15“Don’t Stop Me Now,” Queen – Shaun of the Dead

The last song you’d expect to hear in a movie about zombies is Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” but as the film slowly becomes a more conventional horror flick (complete with more graphic death scenes), the upbeat rock ballad certainly helps to keep the comedy alive. Not only do we get to see Shaun and Co. bashing a zombified Bernie the Bartender with pool sticks, but they do so in synch with the beat, and as a strobe-like light show entertains the rest of the zombies outside. Of course, what better way to turn off said jukebox than smashing the zombie’s head straight through it? It’s the perfect ending to a perfectly unappreciated song. (review) Jason Zingale

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14“Misirlou,” Dick Dale – Pulp Fiction

It’s a safe bet that, by the time the mid-‘90s came around, Dick Dale was not expecting anyone outside of those tightly knit surf guitar circles to be talking about his music. And he certainly couldn’t have imagined that, when one of his songs would be re-introduced to the world on the big screen, it would be preceded by the words, “Any of you fucking pricks move, and I’ll execute every motherfucking last one of ya!” Ah, but most people don’t operate the way Quentin Tarantino does (and that’s probably a good thing), and the result of his opposites-attract approach to filmmaking was nothing short of a cinematic masterstroke. While the majority of Dale’s blistering “Misirlou” plays over the text-only opening credits to Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” the song is nonetheless associated with that early morning chat over coffee between Pumpkin, Honeybunny, and their waitress garcon, and that is why it has earned a spot on our list. Garcon means boy, you know. – David Medsker

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13“Old Time Rock and Roll,” Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band – Risky Business

Despite what the tabloids might have you believe, Tom Cruise first jumped on a couch more than 20 years ago. Clad in nothing but an oxford shirt, tube socks, and a pair of tighty-whities, Cruise’s Joel Goodson lives out every repressed suburban teen’s rock star fantasy while ripping through a rollicking lip-sync routine in his absent parents’ living room. He slides perfectly into frame, his back to the audience, the epitome of cool. He sings into both a candlestick and, later, a fireplace tool. And, yes, he jumps on a couch – throwing himself face down and flinging his limbs around in what could reasonably be mistaken for a grand mal seizure. Yet, back then, the only legitimate reason anyone watching Tom Cruise might have had for saying “What the f@#k?” was if they were quoting a line from the movie. I miss those days. – Deb Medsker

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12“Sweet Caroline,” Neil Diamond – Beautiful Girls

This movie had special meaning to me for various reasons, not the least of which is the fact that an old high school friend of mine, the late Ted Demme, directed it. But aside from that, it was one of those films that makes you look at your own life and help define part of it….or maybe just makes you realize that no matter what, some things in life never change. Never is that more evident than in the bar scene of “Beautiful Girls,” when Willie Conway (Timothy Hutton) plays Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” on the piano. All of the characters (Hutton, Matt Dillon, Michael Rapaport and Uma Thurman) sing it in unison, reminiscing about their own high school days, and doing that “head bob” thing that has become synonymous with the song itself in pop culture circles. It was a defining moment in a defining movie for me: I watched an old friend direct a really cool, successful film and, simultaneously, found myself being brought back to high school…and getting a kick in the ass to do something with my own life. – Mike Farley


11“Perfect Day,” Lou Reed – Trainspotting

The technique employed by “Trainspotting” director Danny Boyle to frame the big overdose scene is alarmingly simple, yet brilliant. As Renton injects the heroin, we see him literally sink into the carpet, and that view, from four feet beneath the floorboards (carpeted on both sides, of course), is what Renton sees right up to the moment when the nurses drag him back into the world of the living with a healthy dose of adrenalin (but not after smacking the daylights out of him first). But as visually arresting as the visuals are, the scene is nothing without the song, Lou Reed’s minor-verse/major-chorus ballad that captures both the hopelessness of Renton’s addiction and his unrequited love for heroin just the same. When “Traffic” was released, people would say that if you wanted to keep your kids away from drugs, you’d show them that movie. Nonsense, we say. First, show them “Requiem for a Dream,” then, assuming they’re not catatonic and huddled up in a corner sucking their thumb, show them this. Not only will it keep them off hard drugs, it may make them a Lou Reed fan in the process, which is a win-win by any means. – David Medsker

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