I love music and I love movies. I’m not always fond of when they merge the two; sticking a song in the middle of a film or TV show can be awkward and we all know that feeling when someone who shouldn’t be singing does anyway. I’m one of those people. Love to sing. People prefer I move on to witty conversation instead. But this week, here are some favorites that, in my opinion, seamlessly work and move the plot along, or entertain without discomfort. Some you know – they are classics. Others I hope will surprise you.
Top Gun‘s Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards do “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” proud for sure. Great integration to the plot. Fun. Entertaining. Every girl in the theater wished it happened to her. But the best part is that he thinks he nailed it and she shuts him down. Watch here.
Evan Rachel Wood can sweetly sing a tune. “If I Fell,” the Beatles classic ain’t easy. The octave she chose is ridiculous, and the reel shown while she does it makes it all worth while. The movie you ask? Across the Universe. I know, I know. Just watch the song. You can skip the movie. Watch here.
“Makin Whoopee” is a rewind, re-watch, do over and over again when you are home alone on New Year’s Eve. Pfeiffer has the chops and for my money, Jeff Bridges has never been hotter than playing back up for her. The movie is The Fabulous Baker Boys. Watch here.
Brothers and Sisters, Sarah (Rachel Griffiths), belts out Cher’s “Life After Love” while loser brother looks on in jealous depression. After watching her, I did sense I’d heard/seen her before and sure enough, she is one of the stupid sisters in My Best Friend’s Wedding. She sings in that too. More on that later. Watch here.
It was a controversial episode in Grey’s Anatomy which we discuss on our Grey’s Podcast, but I loved it. A musical version of tragedy on Grey’s. The thing that made it great was the chosen music, intertwined with dialog and fabulous reel. It was hard to choose, but choose one must, so I suggest you listen to “Chasing Cars” by the entire cast. Watch here. Who knew they had so much pipe talent in a cast that already rocks with acting acumen.
I know what you will think of me, but I will learn to live with it because watching Julia’s reaction to Rupert Everett in My Best Friend’s Wedding as he belts out “I Say a Little Prayer” cannot be ignored. Funny. Fabulous. And, they really did incorporate it into the plot. The brilliant Rupert Everett steals every scene he’s in, but this one, he takes all the way to the bank. Watch here.
It’s not fair to use songs from musicals in my book or this list would be longer than long, but I make one exception. Jennifer Hudson’s version of “And I am Telling You” from Dreamgirls is the best break up, F-You song on the universe. The best I’m telling you. Mad at your man? Devastated by the breakup? This is your anecdote. Watch here.
No fair when you bring in Sting to do “Every Breath You Take,” during the episode performance, but even if he hadn’t, Robert Downey Jr.’s version of the song sung to Ally McBeal makes her one lucky girlfriend. Watch here. As if that’s not enough, Sting took him on tour and his version of “Driven to Tears” is a masterpiece and while it’s not part of a movie or TV show, Downey sells it as if it is. Watch here.
The talented Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley does a wrenching rendition of “My Funny Valentine,” with a simplicity that leaves his ego behind, and the guy can carry a tune for sure. Not loving the reel; I think they could have done better, but I really became fond of Matt after watching him. Watch here.
And, I leave you with Heath Ledger doing “You’re Just Too Good to be True” because he’s gone and whenever we can honor him we should, and because he carried it off when no one else could have and he probably shouldn’t have. The movie? 10 Things I Hate About You. Watch here.
That’s it. Ten songs from ten movies and TV shows. Not a lot of awards, but then again, music in the movies is about evoking feeling and these did it for me.
-Christine Merser (AKA Hollister)