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.

Page 1 %%% Page 2 %%% Page 3 %%% Page 4 %%% Page 5 %%% Page 6 %%% Page 7 %%% Page 8 %%% Page 9 %%% Page 10 %%% Page 11

No comments:

Post a Comment