Music Tuesday: Four Movies With Weirdly Good Soundtracks

Caroline Richards ’22

A&E Editor

1. TWILIGHT

Before you overlook this one, I just want to say I am not defending Kristin Stewart’s acting in this movie. That would be stupid because it’s pretty much world-renowned as some of the worst, maybe ever. I am also not defending the overall plot of this movie. Or the screenwriting. Or the directing. Honestly the Twilight movies are really bad, and I will watch them only to have a good laugh at the painful discomfort I feel watching Stewart and Robert Pattinson interact. One of my favorite Bella Swan lines (one of many, because pretty much everything she says is absolutely absurd), is: “About three things I was absolutely certain. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was part of him—and I didn’t know how potent that part might be—that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.” Meanwhile, it’s been like three days since they met. 

Anyway, long story short: the movies are terrible, but the soundtrack is really good. It’s super angsty, which I find very fitting given it’s whole teenage-nostalgic-romance theme. It’s vampires and werewolves in high school for Christ sake. Songs like “Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse, which goes with the iconic baseball scene in the first movie, fits perfectly within the hardcore portrayal of the Cullen’s vampiric personalities (I can’t believe I just wrote that unironically). And songs like  “Leave Out All The Rest” by Linkin Park or “Roslyn” by Bon Iver & St. Vincent are slower and more sad to encompass the teen-heartbreak vibe. In my opinion, the music when Bella is sad it much better than when Bella is happy. Then the classic “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perry and “From Now On” by The Features wrap it all together in the somehow hopeful, even cheerful, ways the movies always end; i.e. Bella dancing in Edwards pale arms. Good job, Alexandra Patsavas, without you, everything would have been a real disaster. 

2. BOOKSMART

I first watched this movie with my mom, and let me just say that was a fat mistake. The amount of weird high-school sex jokes and sexual inuendos is pretty staggering. One scene involves masturbation and a panda and that is all I will say. However, the acting and directing is phenomenal, Beanie has such good comedic timing and style that it’s was well-worth the watch. The characters are brought out so well and the whirlwind adventure that Amy and Molly embark on the night before graduation is exciting and hysterical. 

Given the provocative and almost uncomfortably crass script of this movie, the soundtrack feels like it fits perfectly. It’s one of those soundtracks that couldn’t really be successful in any other movie, if that makes sense? They’re very energetic and boppy which can make it difficult to use them successfully in the context of the situation. In this case, however, they’re used perfectly. Songs like “Boys” by Lizzo and “To Whom It May Concern” by Sam Spiegel and CeeLo Green (et al.) are obvious hits, they get stuck in your head easily and thus the scenes they’re paired with get stuck in your head with them. 

Other songs like “Money” by Leikeli47, “Batshit” by Sofi Tukker, or “Work 4 Me” by Jean Deaux & Kari Faux are full of attitude and female bad-assery. And finally the tone shapers are songs like “Double Rum Coke” by FATA BOOM and “Bad Girls” by M.I.A, which give the movie a unique and modern pacing. It’s refreshing to see movies using music that isn’t necessarily “traditional,” and instead tries to embody music by minority groups that is actually culturally relevant

While I agree there is a time and place for string quartets, this movie was not about to be one of those for sure.

Thank you, Olivia Wilde for this movie, and really sorry you didn’t get an Oscar nomination for Best Director. Don’t take the patriarchy personally.

3. NACHO LIBRE

First of all, Jack Black is a God. I rewatched this movie recently and the level of absurdity Black effuses is so energetic and enduring you can’t not laugh. The really strange blend of religious themes and luchador athletics works so well within the framework of the writing, and within the cultural context. Ignacio or “Nacho” becomes a luchador to support an orphanage and the movie ends with him using the prize money he wins to buy a bus to take them on a field trip? What is the plot of this movie? Amazing, that’s what. And the soundtrack is amazing, too. The scene during the final competition when Nacho is being slowly crushed underfoot and his love interest Sister Incarnacion (played by Ana de la Reguera) enters with some children from the orphanage all dressed in costume, while “Hombre Religioso” (“Religious Man”) by Mister Loco plays, is pure gold. The song choice for that moment could not have been better. The bubbly comedy of the movie paired with its Mexican backdrop is captured so well in the music. Songs like “Black is Black” by Eddie Santiago and “Ska Cha Chase” by Andrew Gross are the perfect tone and pace this movie needs to correctly develop Black’s character and the predicament he’s in. At the same time “Saint Behind The Glass” by Los Lobos adds something heartfelt and sentimental about Nacho’s youthful determination. The songs are quirky, jazzy, and refreshing for a comedy that is just that.

4. SHE’S THE MAN

Ah, yes. Amanda Bynes at her peak, what a time to be alive. This movie’s soundtrack is perfect for many reasons, but mostly because it fits so perfectly into the context of the music scene in the early 2000s. The movie was released in 2006, right at the peak of low-rise jeans and Avril Lavigne aesthetics. It is also WORLDS better than so many teenage-comedy-romance movies that had come before it. Let me just say that every movie Freddie Prince, Jr. was ever in will 90 percent of the time have the worst, most vanilla romance soundtrack of all time. She’s The Man was one of the first movies to change all of that, it actually put some effort into the songs that went in the movie. And it curated a pretty amazing overall theme to the sound, so it was revolutionary in that respect. It also through in songs that were, looking back, totally cliche and absurd but somehow worked so well? They played “Hey Sexy Lady” by Shaggy, Brian & Tony Gold in the scene when Viola pretends to be this chic magnet in front of Duke (young and way too buff Channing Tatum) and the whole other group of their friends and we just let them do it? How!? All of the other songs are so iconic when you hear them, you can’t help but think of the movie. The opening scene of Bynes playing soccer on the beach to “No Sleep Tonight” by The Faders is so 2000s and so perfect in every way; the scene of Bynes arriving at her new school as a boy and walking into the boys dorm to “Good Girl, Bad Boy” by Junior Senior is lyrically spot-on and wildly stressful in the most amazing way; the first soccer practice to “International” by Chali 2na couldn’t have more sass; and need I say anything about “Dirty Little Secrets” by The All-American Rejects. The ending, with “Move Along” by All-American Rejects, leaves me with goosebumps every time.


bclark

Brendan W. Clark '21 is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod, Trinity College's student newspaper.

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