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Friday, July 1, 2011

Five Best: Defining Movie Songs (for me) Part 4

courtesy of
And, to finish it off, part four. See the playlist at the bottom of each of these posts to listen to the songs in full.

Link to Part 1

Link to Part 2

Link to Part 3

Note: Characters in the film don't technically "sing" these songs. For a list of those, check out the Five Best Non-Musical Sing-a-Longs.

Note: Some of the songs/videos on these lists may not be suitable for young audiences (language).

Luke Wilson in "The Royal Tenenbaums"courtesy of

Elliott Smith - "Needle in the Hay" from The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Link to Scene:
The second Wes Anderson film on the extended list is just as funny, but not in this particular scene. Dealing with the realization that his love may be unrequited, Richie (Wilson) decides to kill himself. It's a beautiful, but terrifying act, made all the more impactful with the knowledge that Elliott Smith took his own life just two years later, ending a promising music career. The parallels are tough to ignore, but this scene is real enough for me.

Jon Heder in "Napoleon Dynamite" courtesy of

Jamiroquai - "Canned Heat" from Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Link to Scene:
I like the movie, but I still can't figure out how in the world it made so much money. Regardless, this awkard, but enteraining film introduced us to one of the most memorable main characters in a long while and handed us quote after quote after quote. The fruition spoonfeeds us an insanely chroeographed one man performance from Heder, helping his friend in his goal to becoming class president. It's ridiculous, but man can he move.

Natalie Portman in "Garden State"courtesy of


The Shins - "New Slang" from Garden State (2004)

Link to Scene:
It's become the "hipster movie you aren't allowed to like," partially because Zack Braff is a bit of a jerk. But, at the time, it was a voice for people who couldn't figure out where home was and what to do with love. In Braff and Portman's first meeting, she sums up her character quickly as a girl who isn't shy, especially when it comes to her favorite music. It's all capped off with Portman's facial expressions while he listens - she's like a kid on Christmas. Though the song may not change his life, she certainly will.

Scene from "Shaun of the Dead" courtesy of

Queen - "Don't Stop Me Now" from Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Link to Scene:
Edgar Wright's fantastic parody on horror films hits all the right notes, thanks in large part to the lead performances from Simon Pegg and Adam Frost. But this is the scene that does it for me. Hiding out in the bar, the zombies get in, all while the jukebox is on random, landing on some good old fashioned stadium rock. It becomes hilariusly musical, as they do their best to defend against the flesh-eaters, all while Freddie Mercury brings it home.

Scene from "500 Days of Summer" courtesy of

Hall & Oates - "You Make My Dreams Come True" from 500 Days of Summer

Link to Scene:
Criticize the quirkiness and self-awareness all you want, the emotions and discussions in this film are honest. We've all tried to force someone to fall in love with us at one time or another. At some point, we have to let go. Why not just enjoy the moment while it lasts, like in this fantastic scene, which gives Joseph Gordon-Levitt the freedom to strut his stuff a little bit. We've all felt like dancing at some point - it's nice that everybody else joins him.

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