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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