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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