The 50 Greatest Music Movie Moments: 5 - 1

5.) Back to the Future - Johnny B. Goode
Written by Chuck Berry
Performed by Tim May and Mark Hanson

The scene: After inadvertently traveling backwards in time, preventing his parents from falling in love and erasing himself from existence, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) has undone all his mistakes and restored the timeline in just under a week. All he has left to offer the world of 1955 is the gift of rock and roll, wrapped and packaged three years premature.

The song: Back to the Future's dance scene is essential viewing for music theorists, demonstrating how music is evolutionary with a clear demonstration on the natural progression from doo-wop and rhythm and blues. This is further emphasized with Marty aping the "futuristic" styles of Jimi Hendrix, The Who, AC/DC and Van Halen. Speaking of which, Michael J. Fox did indeed play and sing "Johnny B. Goode," but both his vocals and guitar were dubbed over in the final cut. Regardless, "Johnny B. Goode" is an iconic rock and roll song; symbolic of it's era, but also timeless. It's a perfect choice for a movie about time travel.

4.) The Karate Kid - You're the Best
by Joe Esposito

The scene: After months of training, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is ready to compete at the All-Valley Karate Tournament. He has his work cut out for him, squaring off against the ruthless and unethical fighters of the Cobra Kai dojo. Luckily, he's been training. He just might be the best around. Nothing could ever keep him down.

The song: Much like "Danger Zone" and "Eye of the Tiger," "You're the Best" is the type of song that could only be bred in the 1980s. With its over-the-top musical and corny lyrics, it's easy to mistake it for a parody. But no, it's real and it's fantastic. So much so, it rightfully earns a place in the top five, of for no other reason than its sheer audacity.

3.) American Psycho - Hip to be Square
by Huey Lewis and the News

The scene: Wealthy, young urban professional Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) has a dark secret. He's utterly insane and likes to kill people in violent, grotesque manners. His latest mark is a fellow investment banker who's no stranger to conspicuous consumption. But Patrick is somebody who enjoys his work; just because it's murder, doesn't mean he can't have a song in his heart.

The song: "Hip to be Square" is literally defined by Patrick Bateman as "(a song) about the pleasures of conformity and the importance of trends." And that's why it fits in so well with the world of American Psycho, a film about a man outwardly displaying an affinity towards the high-end lifestyles of the 1980s. The peppy number serves double purpose by initiating a great bit of black humor; having a brutally horrible murder take place while major chords blare in the background. It's psychotic, but what do you expect? There are no more barriers to cross.

2.) Wayne's World - Bohemian Rhapsody
by Queen

The scene: Local slackers and public-access TV personalities Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar (Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey) are out for a night on the town. Soaking up the local flavor and excitement only Aurora, Illinois can offer, the pair are armed with an AMC Pacer, a cassette deck, and a religious knowledge of the least-likely metal song in musical history.

The song: The operatic and avant-garde "Bohemian Rhapsody" was a risky gamble, being the most expensive single ever made and one of the most elaborate recordings in popular music history. But it was a smash hit right out of the box, staying at the top of the charts for nine weeks in 1975. It re-entered twice, first in 1991 following the death of vocalist Freddie Mercury, and again in 1992 after it's inclusion in Wayne's World. The reinterpretation of the 70s-opera/rock-ballad as a post-metal headbanger is a hilarious postmodern interpretation and a great piece of visual humor. In a film that values rock music as much as Wayne's World, it's quite an honor.

1.) Almost Famous - Tiny Dancer
by Elton John

The scene: William Miller (Patrick Fugit) is a teenage journalist, touring the country and chronicling the rising stars of the rock band Stillwater. Along the way, he meets Penny Lane (Kate Hudson); a fellow lost soul and "Band Aid," (like a groupie, but more admirable). After a few rocky performances, bad trips, and brushes with disaster, the infighting bandmates, the Band Aids and William all realize their place together over an Elton John song. Lost as individuals, but part of a greater whole.

The song: Yes, the number one spot goes to the twee sing-along from Almost Famous. Some call it unforgivably schmaltzy, I call it endearing and magical (barf buckets are located in the corner.) From the technical sense, it matches strong visual imagery with unforgettable musical accompaniment. From a narrative sense, it fits in well with the story; it doesn't interrupt, doesn't drag, and doesn't feel out-of-character for the cast to sing along. From an emotional sense, it's a masterpiece. There's just something about it that resonates on a deeply affecting level. It evokes feelings of camaraderie, inclusion, family and friendship and the rough, rocky roads that occur along the way. It's heartwarming, and reminds you of all the important people in your life. If you're in a bad place, it reminds you of better times and reassures you that things get better. It's not just the best music movie moment, it's therapy on film.

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The 50 Greatest Music Movie Moments: 10 - 6

10.) Magnolia - Wise Up
Written by Aimee Mann
Performed by the entire cast

The scene: Just prior to the climax, the nine main characters and their twisting, turning, intersecting storylines take a moment to breathe. With the world no longer moving, we get a moment of downtrodden introspection. They say it's always darkest before the dawn, and through our shared grief, we're all a little more connected.

The song: How often do we feel like we're alone in the world? How often are we plagued with feelings of helplessness, regrets, and longings? Frequently, as director Paul Thomas Anderson implies. But as Anderson also implies, we're never alone with our loneliness. Aimee Mann's melancholy tune reminds us life is just a series of coincidences, chance, interactions and strange things that happen. And this, this is something that happens.

9.) Say Anything - In Your Eyes
Performed by Peter Gabriel

The scene: With financial and legal stress ravaging the private lives of the Court family, daughter Diane Court (Ione Skye) is encouraged to sever her relationship with Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack), a perennial underachiever with no aspirations. With nothing to offer besides his heart, Lloyd refuses to let the relationship end on such a bitter note. Lloyd grabs a boom box, a Peter Gabriel cassette, and lets the power of music speak volumes.

The song: Despite being one of the most cliche scenes in all of cinema history, I'd be lying if I said it had no impact on me. It's racked with cheesiness, but it's enduring legacy is a self-perpetuating feat; it's fascinating because of how fascinating everybody finds it. How enduring is this legacy? It's easier to find reenactment pictures on Google of this famous scene than of the scene itself.

8.) Do the Right Thing - Fight the Power
Performed by Public Enemy

The scene: After a long, hot day on the streets of Brooklyn, tensions flare after an argument erupts between pizza-maker and restauranteur Sal (Danny Aiello) and local residents Buggin' Out and Radio Raheem (Giancarlo Esposito and Bill Nunn), armed with only their ideals and a boom box. The argument evolves into a full-on yelling match, sharply turning violent after Sal smashes the boom box with a baseball bat. And suddenly, the abrupt silence is more piercing than any rap single.

The song: "Fight the Power" is featured so prominently and recurrently throughout Do the Right Thing, it was hard picking a single moment where the song resonated best. But when in doubt, go with the climax. With so much anger and hostility expressed so succinctly, "Fight the Power" is a timeless anthem of racial oppression which still resonates today as much as it did in 1989 (unfortunately, we can't say the same about the members of Public Enemy).

7.) Watchmen - The Times They Are a-Changin'
Performed by Bob Dylan

The scene: In the 1940s, the first superheroes come to fruition. They are The Watchmen. Their presence in this alternate history changes the world, focusing attention on military might and governmental strength. So much so, the Cold War progresses at a rapid pace, putting the entire planet on the brink of nuclear annihilation. 40 years later, the few remaining heroes have been driven into the shadows, working for clandestine government agencies, operating in secret, or retiring outright. What a strange and different world it is, just for the inclusion of supermen.

The song: Bob Dylan's folk classic is as representative of the cold war era as anything else. It is a perfect accompaniment to this montage of revisited, reinterpreted, and re-imagined world history. Sadly, it's use is doubly effective when compared to the other, mishandled musical moments later in the film.

6.) Rocky III - Eye of the Tiger
Performed by Survivor

The scene: Ten years after winning the WBA's Heavyweight title, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is riding the wave of fame. He has fans, adoration, endorsement deals, and he met Kermit the Frog! The only one not happy is Clubber Lang (Mr. T), a young boxer slowly rising the ranks, insulted by Rocky's showmanship. I'm going to say that again: Mr. T is offended by somebody showing off. Rocky and Clubber's twin stories are shown simultaneously, stoking the fire, counting down the seconds until their convergent paths finally come to clash.

The song: "Eye of the Tiger" was written exclusively for Rocky III after the filmmakers were unable to secure the soundtrack rights for "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen. What a stroke of good luck. "Eye of the Tiger" is the definitive encouragement song; no matter what you're doing, it feels a hundred times more important when backed by Jimi Jameson's vocals. You're trying to postulate a new scientific formula? Experiencing heightened anxieties after being inflicted with ghost sickness? Working your way out of a depressive funk by re-embracing your nationality? All you need is some 80s hard rock and pulsing guitar to make everything seem right.

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The 50 Greatest Music Movie Moments: 14 - 11

14.) The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Staralfur
Performed by Sigur Rós

The scene: After the death of his apprentice, best friend and possible son, oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) has to come to terms with his life. In doing so, he gathers his friends, colleagues, coworkers, lovers and rivals to accompany him in his personal submarine for his greatest achievement to date: the re-discovery of the near-mystical Jaguar Shark.

The song: Taking place after the climax, Steve Zissou is at an existential crossroads. He no longer wants to find the Jaguar Shark, he has to. This is the culmination of his life's work and adventures. This is his vindication and the culmination of everything. And in that one moment when he and everyone around him lock eyes with the mysterious behemoth of the deep blue sea, it all comes together. The lilting sounds of Sigur Ros' voice, piano and strings brings forth feelings of transcendence, away from the humdrum trappings of life, and towards peace and prescence among the entire universe.

13.) Napoleon Dynamite - Canned Heat
Performed by Jamiroquai

The scene: In the unfairly biased world of high school politics, the strange, young Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) is the only force capable of getting his unpopular friend elected student body president. It's an uphill battle winning over the disapproving hearts of his peers, but Napoleon's been practicing his sweet dance moves for just such an occasion.

The song: There wasn't a high schooler alive in 2004 who didn't know about Napoleon Dynamite. Love him or hate him, he, his trademark diction and his sweet skills were memetics exemplified. And the piece de resistance was his epic dance, both simultaneous goofy and expertly choreographed. Taking something as niche as interpretive dance and bringing it to the masses is a feat in and of itself, but delivered by someone as lanky and awkward as Napoleon Dynamite is worthy of film history.

12.) 500 Days of Summer - You Make My Dreams Come True
Performed by Hall and Oates

The scene: Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is head over heels in love at first sight with the girl of his dreams (and several other cliches). Despite her reluctance towards a romantic relationship, Summer (Zooey Deschanel) eventually gives in to Tom's pursuits. The morning after, Tom sees the world in a strange, new, hyperbolic way.

The song: 500 Days of Summer (which I refuse to type with the stupid parentheses) is not a typical romantic comedy; we're told from the beginning the romance is a failure. While the entire film isn't a flat-out parody of the genre, this particular scene is. Using what is quite possibly the most overused song in film history, 500 Days of Summer knocks over the uptight genre conventions, while also creating an independently memorable movie moment.

11.) Fast Times at Ridgemont High - Moving in Stereo
Performed by The Cars

The scene: After another day in his own personal hell, Brad Hamilton (Judge Reinhold) takes a moment of self-indulgent pleasure, fantasizing about his sister's friend, Linda Barrett (Phoebe Cates). More than just a daydream, Brad has a musically charged experience potent enough to launch every adolescent boy in 1982 straight into puberty.

The song: Fast Times at Ridgemont High has such a precisely perfect soundtrack, there are nearly a dozen music movie scenes worthy of attention. But when they're pitted against each other, there's only one true contender. The pool scene is not only one of the most famous scenes in teen-movie history, but arguably the definitive example of gratuitous nudity in film. But not just any song deserves to accompany the sequence; "Moving in Stereo's" ethereal synthesizer and echo-y guitar amplify the dreamscape nature, adding to the feeling that this is all just a wonderful, wonderful dream.

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The 50 Greatest Music Movie Moments: 19 - 15

19.) Revenge of the Nerds - They're so Incredible
Originally by Revenge
Performed by Larry B. Scott, Timothy Busfield, Curtis Armstrong, Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards

The scene: Since their first day on campus, the nerds of the Tri-Lambda fraternity have been bullied, persecuted and tormented to no end. Their only hope for a peaceful life is winning the annual Greek Homecoming Festival. Tied for first against their arch-rivals, the nerds' only chance for liberty and preservation rests on the outcome of the final event: the talent show.

The song: I cannot find any information regarding who is actually playing onscreen, and who is mimicking. I will assume, until proven otherwise, everybody is actually performing. That said, Revenge of the Nerds offers some real social commentary with this one musical number. In the 1980s, new wave reached new heights with synthesizers and other computer-generated melodies. Bands and artists ranging from Devo to Thomas Dolby to Kraftwerk proved that nerdy interests and pursuits were marketable, popular, and not something to be scorned. Maybe, deep down, all of us are nerds. And pretty proud of it.

18.) Trainspotting - Lust For Life
Performed by Iggy Pop

The scene: In a flurry of punk rock drums and guitar, we're dropped into the manic, heroine-filled world of Mark Renton (Ewan MacGregor) and his friends. Interspersed scenes of Renton fleeing from security guards, playing soccer, and shooting up allow the viewer to see and experience life as an addict in the Edinburgh slums.

The song: Every element of "Lust for Life" is a representation of the punk rock movement. The distorted guitar, the heavy bass, the indecipherable-yet-anarchistic lyrics, etc. What better way to get adrenaline flowing whilst expressing a general malaise towards society and rejecting social norms?

17.) Captain America - The Star-Spangled Man
Music by Alan Menkin, Lyrics by David Zippel
Performed by The Star Spangled Singers

The scene: After the success of the Super Soldier experiment, Captain America is destined to become the symbol of the United States and democracy the world over. And how will he achieve this masterful feat? Through massive amounts of marketing and a top-notch USO show!

The song: Simultaneously mocking and paying homage to both WWII propaganda and the golden age of comics, "The Star-Spangled Man" is a phenomenal sequence. It's made even more pleasurable by being unexpectedly sandwiched in an action movie that knows not to take itself too seriously.

16.) Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Twist and Shout
Performed by The Beatles

The scene: Worldly-wise teenager Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) believes in nothing greater than the beauty and mirth that come with a well-executed day off. Passing this knowledge onto his two best friends, Ferris drops a cherry on the sundae by getting the entire city of Chicago to join him in song and dance.

The song: Twist and Shout was recorded by The Beatles with the very intention of being a very rock & roll song. They succeeded admirably. The simple, easy to follow lyrics encourage swarms of people to join in. The drums and bass are infectious and impossible to ignore. The vivacious guitar invites everybody to stand up and dance. Speaking of which, Matthew Broderick originally had a choreographed dance routine to accompany his lip synching performance, but due to a sprained knee, had to improvise on the day of shooting. Considering an entire city is celebrating his musical spontaneity, I'd say he succeeded.

15.) Eurotrip - Scotty Doesn't Know
Performed by Lustra

The scene: Dumped by his girlfriend during his high school graduation, Scotty Thomas (Scott Mechlowicz) tries to cheer up by attending a house party. At that very party is Donny (Matt Damon) and his band, performing their new hit song, "Scotty Doesn't Know," crudely and vividly detailing the elongated and ongoing affair between Donny and Scotty's girlfriend.

The song: I want to like the movie Eurotrip so badly. It has everything it needs to be a comedy hit. It should be on tier with Harold and Kumar, or The Hangover. Unfortunately, for every thing Eurotrip does right, it does two things wrong. The actual funny scenes are sparse, lost among a landscape of tired stereotypes, cringe-inducing sexual jokes, and slapstick performed with really bad timing. But at its peak, it does get things right. Chief among them, the madcap insanity that an alternate-reality pop-punk version of Matt Damon would write a song with the sole intention of mocking a poor schlub by name, explicitly declaring he is taking advantage of the previously mentioned schlub, mocking the schlub for his obliviousness. Then on top of that, the song becomes an international chart-topper that follows and torments the schlub everywhere he goes. That is funny. Punching mimes is not funny.

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The 50 Greatest Music Movie Moments: 24 - 20

24.) The Hobbit - Misty Mountains
Lyrics by J.R.R. Tolkien
Performed by Richard Armitage and the 12 other dwarfs.

The scene: On the eve of a great adventure, a small army of dwarven adventurers take refuge in the home of a reluctant hobbit. As the night progresses, things grow quiet. A tentative Thorin (Richard Armitage) leads his companions in the Middle-Earth equivalent of a folk song.

The song: The internet needs to decide on the proper name of this song. So far, I've seen "Misty Mountains," "Over the Misty Mountains," "Far Over the Misty Mountains," and "Over the Misty Mountains Cold." Would it kill somebody to check the official film soundtrack? In seriousness, the song is a haunting dirge that instantly invokes imagery of great adventure and peril. Its simplicity is a great counterpoint to Howard Shore's epic, sweeping score, and the layered harmonies send chills right to your spine.

23.) Rushmore - Making Time
Performed by The Creation

The scene: Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is Rushmore Academy's most decorated and most active student. How active is he? Allow this montage of his extracurricular activities plainly demonstrate.

The song: Every montage needs a perfect song. Not only does it need to match the visuals in terms of theme, style, and emotion, it has to match the pacing. This particular montage is more like a series of photographs brought to life, and each punctuated measure of "Making Time" highlights each individual scene in their various glories.

22.) Kick-Ass - Bad Reputation
Performed by Joan Jett

The scene: In the climactic showdown between Hit Girl (Chloe Grace-Moretz) and the big bad's army of hired goons, our resourceful heroine finds herself in a bad place. Outgunned, outnumbered, and cornered, Hit Girl has only one advantage: outclassing every single thug as she runs through a gauntlet of rapid-fire fury.

The song: "Bad Reputation" is the go-to song for any movie scene featuring a female character kicking ass and taking names. However, I have never seen it put to better use than here. The stylization, the editing, and the cinematography are all top tier. I used to associate "Bad Reputation" as the theme to Freaks and Geeks, but now it is, and always will be, Hit Girl's leitmotif.

21.) Dazed & Confused - No More Mister Nice Guy
Performed by Alice Cooper

The scene: It's a right of passage for the Lee High School student body: the Seniors hunt down and paddle the Freshman. It's barbaric, insane, and a little sadistic, but everyone suffers the same. Although, some enjoy and some fear the tradition more than others; such is the case of the cruel Roy O'Bannion (Ben Affleck) and the perturbed Mitch Kramer (Wiley Wiggins).

The song: Dazed & Confused was a massive sleeper hit, widely passed over during its initial release, but now considered to be one of the best films of the 1990s. The soundtrack is near perfection, collecting some of the finest hard rock hits of the 1970s, any one of the musical moments could be argued as the best. For me, the finest is the Alice Cooper classic, which marks the turning point of Mitch's character arc. No longer a meek middle schooler afraid of the looming world, he is now a full-fledged high school student, and he wants to live.

20.) Pretty in Pink - Try a Little Tenderness
Performed by Otis Redding

The scene: In what has to be his 953rd attempt to transcend out of the friend-zone, Ducky (Jon Cryer) meets Andie (Molly Ringwald) at her place of work where he dances and lip-syncs to a motown classic. The best part? It is completely unprovoked by anything.

The song: The joke works on two levels. First, Duckie is among the whitest of white boys. So much so, Anthony Michael Hall's character from Sixteen Candles would call this guy a geek. As such, having him mimic the deep soul stylings of Otis Redding is pretty goofy. Second, Duckie is completely incapable of foregoing his intentions of wooing Andie, even if his attempts cross the boundary away from flirtatious, away from well-meaning, away from sincere, landing plumb in the area of batshit crazy.

If anybody feels sorry for Duckie never getting the girl, get over yourselves. He deserves the friend-zone. Besides, how is it not obvious that he is completely gay?

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The 50 Greatest Music Movie Moments: 28 - 25

28.) Moneyball - The Show
Originally by Lenka
Performed by Kerris Dorsey

The scene: Baseball manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) takes a break from his deeply involved and hardening job to spend time with his daughter, letting his humanity show and endearing him to audiences, thus ensuring an Academy Award nomination. Billy takes his daughter Casey (Kerris Dorsey) to a music store, where she picks up a guitar and regales her father. As she sings, he realizes the uncomfortable truth that his daughter is growing up faster than he has realized.

The song: Either Lenka plagiarized Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" or Mraz plagiarized Lenka. I can't tell. Both these songs came out at the same time, and they are exactly the same. Regardless, 'The Show' is a tender, melodious pop song handled with all the frailty necessary by the young Kerris Dorsey. I'd go so far as to say I prefer her acoustic version over the actual song.

27.) Can't Hardly Wait - Paradise City
Originally by Guns N Roses
Performed by Charlie Korsmo

The scene: Troves of high schoolers are in the early hours of the final party of their high school careers. Coincidentally, it's also the first high school party of the socially awkward and painfully nerdy William (Charlie Korsmo). Fortunately, due to a well-timed dosage of confidence and alcohol, Charlie finds acceptance quite easily. He doubles down on his newly acquired popularity with an intense rendition of a heavy metal classic.

The song: 'Paradise City' was released in 1988. Can't Hardly Wait was released in 1998. By teenager standards, the song was a relic. A fossil from a bygone era. And yet, with the right attitude, the right enthusiasm, and the right energy it's just as fresh as the day it was released. Just as William learns, it's not important who or what you are, it's how you present yourself.

26.) Boogie Nights - Sister Christian/Jessie's Girl/99 Luftballons
Performed Respectively by Night Ranger, Rick Springfield and Nena

The scene: Hard up for cash to cover their studio recording costs, pornography mavens Dirk Diggler and Reed Rothchild (Marky Mark Wahlberg and John C. Reilly) attempt to scam the eccentric Rahad Jackson (Alfred Molina) by selling him a half-kilo of baking soda disguised as cocaine. But as the plan progresses, it turns out Rahad is more than just eccentric.

The songs: Boogie Nights chronicles the evolution of society, media, and business from the 1970s well into the 1980s. The scene depicts the worst of 80s excess: having so much money there's nothing to do with it except sterile furnishings, alcohol and drugs, and hiring an associate to randomly set off firecrackers throughout the evening. All this nonsense is punctuated by three songs verbally welcoming you to the maddening wonderland of 1980s America.

25.) Reservoir Dogs - Stuck in the Middle with You
Performed by Stealers Wheel

The scene: Professional thief and amateur psychopath Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) is left alone with a police hostage after a botched diamond heist. Rather than interrogate his captive on the details of the failed robbery, Mr. Blonde decides to have some darkly demented fun with a straight razor.

The song: Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino's first foray into film was (no duh) also his first foray into soundtracks. In his own words, he wanted the film to have a 50s feel, but with a 70s soundtrack. The entire film is bookmarked by narration from a fictional DJ on a fictional radio station, playing "Super sounds of the 70s," adding an extra element of familiarity between the soundtrack and the film.

Interesting fact: The 70s were just as chronologically distant from Reservoir Dogs' release date as Reservoir Dogs' release date is from today.

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The 50 Greatest Music Movie Moments: 33 - 29

33.) Inglourious Basterds - Cat People
Written & Performed by David Bowie

The scene: Four years ago, Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent) saw her family brutally murdered by Nazi officers. But after years of patience, she is presented with the perfect opportunity for revenge. Not just on the officers who killed her family, but on the whole of Nazi Germany.

The song: When I talked about Pulp Fiction a few posts ago, I made mention that the selected song was anachronistic with the setting. While I maintain that decision was most likely an oversight, here we see the same situation from an entirely different angle. This is truly an anachronistic soundtrack, and a beautifully done one, to boot. It's truly the anthem of a scarred, angry, and determined young woman bent on revenge. It's like Rosie the Riveter meets Sarah Conner in audio form.

32.) The Big Lebowski - Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Written by Mickey Newbury
Performed by The First Edition

The scene: Unwillingly submersed in a complex conspiracy of kidnapping, embezzlement and blackmail, Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) is drugged after getting too close to the truth. In his hallucinogenic, unconscious state, The Dude dreams of bowling, the Gulf War and pornographic delights.

The song: Just Dropped In was written as a warning song discouraging LSD use. And now, it's linked inexorably with one of the trippiest scenes in film history. The world's funny like that. Also funny, The First Edition have been almost completely forgotten save for this song, which was wildly different from the rest of their catalog (they were mostly a country/western/folk band primarily known for launching the career of Kenny Rogers). Still, psychedelia is as psychedelia does.

31.) Top Gun - Danger Zone
Performed by Kenny Loggins

The scene: As an amber sun rises over the Indian Ocean, we see the crew of the USS Enterprise (the aircraft carrier, not the spaceship). But these are no ordinary Navy men, they represent the elite aeronautical fighting force. The dogfighters. The Interceptors. The F-14 Tomcats. The Mavericks... and the Gooses.

The song: Equal parts new wave and hard rock, Danger Zone is a classic anthem of bravado and show-stopping awesomeness. People don't like Top Gun. They like Danger Zone. Watch the movie some time and try to prove me otherwise.

30.) Clerks II - ABC
Performed by The Jackson 5

The scene: Nervously anticipating his rapidly approaching wedding, reluctant Dante (Brian O'Halloran) asks his manager, friend, confidante and paramour Becky (Rosario Dawson) for advice and perhaps a quick dance lesson. Becky has little to offer on the former, but quite an abundance of the latter. So much so, everyone within a two mile radius seems compelled to join in.

The song: The films of Kevin Smith take place on the border of the real world; a place where absurd ideas are blanketed in reality. That's what makes the ABC dance sequence so endearing; it comes right out of nowhere, disappears just as quick, is completely out of tune with the rest of the film, but at the same time feels absolutely indispensable.

29.) Wall-E - Put on Your Sunday Clothes
Written by Jerry Herman
Performed by the cast of the 1969 film Hello, Dolly

The scene: After years of isolation and solitude, alone amongst the ruins of planet Earth, the lonely robot Wall-E meets the enigmatic Eve. Eager to impress the mysterious stranger, Wall-E shows off his treasure trove of scavenged relics, trinkets and prized possessions. Chief amongst them, a derelict VHS tape of a musical, cued to his favorite scene.

The song: I'll be honest, I know nothing of Hello Dolly, and I'll most likely go my entire life without seeing any production of it. But to see the genuine love and admiration through another's eyes is something magical. The way a robot can be so curious and envious of humanity, filtered entirely through a romanticized period piece is endearing. It's his only real connection with human society and music, and his affection is as real as his love of the musical.

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The 50 Greatest Music Movie Moments: 37 - 34

37.) Gremlins 2 - New York, New York

Performed by Tony Randall and a gremlin chorus

The scene: After successfully taking over the Clamp Enterprises building and running amok, the Gremlin army convenes in the lobby, preparing to bring their mayhem and destruction to the entirety of New York City. In anticipation, a specially verbose and intelligent gremlin leads the group in a rousing rendition of the city's unofficial anthem.

The song: Gremlins 2 is over-the-top nutty and ridiculous, both in terms of storytelling and humor. The filmmakers threw everything including the kitchen sink into the film. Singing gremlins may seem ridiculous, but it makes sense in the context of the film. Coincidentally, it's the only sense made in the entirety of Gremlins 2.

36.) Donnie Darko - Mad World
Performed by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules

The scene: After a baffling series of events that requires a companion guide, everything gets nullified via time travel, shoving it all into an alternate timeline that never happened. The tragic and morbid events that compromised the entire movie are remembered only as a shared dream by the entire town. In a montage, the town awakens, reflecting on their narrowly avoided paths.

The song: Mad World was originally written and performed by Tears For Fears, an English new wave band. To amplify the dark nature intended, the song is pared down to a slow piano, cello, and minor chords upon minor chords. Some would argue the song became more successful than the movie; the 50,000,000+ views for the music video support this claim.

35.) Back to School - Dead Man's Party
Performed by Oingo Boingo

The scene: Well into a golden-aged college experience, Thornton Melon (Rodney Dangerfield) hosts a rager of a kegger in his lavish dormitory. As the party reaches critical mass, 'Dead Man's Party' dominates the soundtrack, rattling the windows and shaking the walls. When suddenly the camera cuts to reveal it's not just a stereo system cranked to the max, but Oingo Boingo themselves, live and in person.

The song: Dead Man's Party isn't deep or significant to the scene or the film, but to the general feeling of the movie. Back to School is an archetypical 80s comedy. As such, it gets an archetypical 80s party song. What makes Dead Man's Party so extraordinary is the filmmakers didn't just license the song, they actually got Oingo Boingo to appear onscreen, performing the hit... And I may be a bit biased because Oingo Boingo is one of my favorite bands of all time. But no matter. Moving on.

34.) Sid and Nancy - My Way
Written by Frank Sinatra
Performed by Gary Oldman in the style of Sid Vicious

The scene: Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) is at the apex of a doomed solo career after pissing off and breaking up his former band, The Sex Pistols. The closest thing he ever has to a hit is an off-color cover of the Sinatra classic.

The song: My Way is such a corny, cheeseball song, stripping it of all its pomposity is the only way to do it justice.The anarchistic attitude and punk rock music delivered by Gary Oldman are on point, and the slow deviation from straightforward musical number into artistic metaphor is stylistic brilliance.

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The 50 Greatest Music Movie Moments: 41 - 38

41.) Elf - Baby, It's Cold Outside
Written by Frank Loesser
Performed by Zooey Deschanel and Will Ferrell

The scene: Days before Christmas, childlike Buddy (Will Ferrell) stumbles upon Jovi (Zooey Deschanel) preparing for work as a department store holiday helper. Thinking she's alone, she sings a holiday classic in the shower. Not thinking anything of it, Buddy welcomes himself to provide some uninvited harmonies. It's the most uncomfortable shower scene since Psycho.

The song: Listen to the lyrics: this song is about date rape. It's got all levels of creepiness, and for some reason, it's a holiday staple. Deschanel (either really unaware of the song's content, or really eager to revisit the well) later recorded a full-length version of Baby, It's Cold Outside on her band's holiday album, A Very She & Him Christmas. Will Ferrell, meanwhile, continues to play Buddy the Elf in every single movie he's cast in.

40.) Juno - Anyone Else but You
Written by The Moldy Peaches
Performed by Ellen Page and Michael Cera

The scene: Juno (Ellen Page) had the misfortune of experiencing the milestones of romance all out of order; sex first, then motherhood, then finally love. Her adventure over, Juno has nothing left to do but continue her normal, average life where she left off, making up for lost time, and exploring the mysteries of love with her boyfriend Paulie (Michael Cera).

The song: Juno is a film that inverts romantic conventions. The woman is the center of attention, the woman is the one who screws up, the woman is the one with faults and problems to overcome, and the woman has to win the man back. Reflecting this, Juno and Paulie switch the male and female parts of the song. Moldy Peaches frontwoman Kimya Dawson coached the duo on how to perform the song. To her own admission, Cera and Page "sing it better than us."

39.) Shaun of the Dead - Don't Stop Me Now
Performed by Queen

The scene: Sheltered temporarily from a zombie swarm inside a tavern, Shaun, Ed and Liz (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Kate Ashfield) are forced to fight off a particularly resilient zombie using the only resources available: pool cues, darts and a fire extinguisher. And somebody left the jukebox on.

The song: Shaun of the Dead straddles the line between horror and comedy. Every genuinely terrifying moment is delivered with a wacky approach or a quirky resolution. In this style, Don't Stop Me Now is the perfect song to accompany a fight scene because, ordinarily, it would be the least appropriate song to play during a fight scene.

38.) The Royal Tenenenbaums - These Days
Performed by Nico

The scene: Estranged siblings Margot and Richie Tenenbaum (Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson) are reacquainted upon learning of their father's eminent death. To Margot, it's a reconnection with her brother. For Richie, it's a tumultuous internal storm. Margot is his sister, albeit adopted, but he's not entirely certain how to approach his romantic feelings. Regardless, he can't help but hear music when he sees her face.

The song: Director Wes Anderson is one of those people who could find the perfect song for any setting, any scenery, any character, and any feeling. I bet he has some really interesting playlists on his MP3 player ("An unseasonably warm New England autumn day spent with a dog, shortly after learning one's daughter has been accepted into a prestigious European university: 6 tracks, 19 minutes.") We don't need any words to understand Richie's thoughts. We don't a look, a nod, a raised eyebrow, anything. We just need an Eisenstein cross-cut, a fisheye lens, and the song.

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