A good soundtrack can bring us into the world of a film. It has the ability to stir emotions, make us laugh, make us cry, make us go to the bathroom in our pants. But a soundtrack alone is helpless in the face of a mediocre movie. Here are 9 examples of movies that succeeded in the killer tunes department, but let us down with the movies themselves.
Ringo Starr was quoted as saying the movie Help! was produced under a "haze of marijuana." We aren't surprised. Coming off of the success of A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles were given a bigger budget and shot the movie in color (a rarity at the time), but the film ended up feeling like a bunch of hot air. According to movie historian Leslie Halliwell, it was an "[e]xhausting attempt to outdo A Hard Day's Night in lunatic frenzy. It looks good but becomes too tiresome to entertain." The soundtrack, however, has never grown tiresome. It recently ranked number 332 on Rolling Stone's 500 greatest albums of all time and featured soon-to-be classics like "Yesterday" and "Ticket to Ride."
Honest to blog, this soundtrack was dope. We have it to thank for directing our eardrums to The Moldy Peaches, who quickly became America’s new favorite low-fi songbirds. The movie also introduced us to Hollywood’s most overrated writer in years, Diablo Cody. She may be the best stripper-turned-scribe out there, but in our humble opinion, that’s not saying a whole lot. We'll take the chart-topping album over the chart-topping movie counterpart any day. And that's the God’s honest truth, homeskillet.
Who can forget "Kiss from a Rose" by Seal? Sure, it took us years to understand that he was saying "on the gray" and not "on the grave," but it was a catchy song nonetheless. When you add to the mix decent ballads from U2 and The Flaming Lips and three Grammy wins, it's no surprise that the soundtrack goes down in history as one of the best ever.
The movie, however, is a different story. With a 44% Rotten Tomatoes rating, Jim Carrey's over-the-top take on The Riddler, and those infamous nipples on Val Kilmer's batsuit, you've got yourself one a dud of a movie.
The soundtrack may have changed your life, but this movie certainly didn’t. OK, we admit that at the time the film came out, it enjoyed positive reviews and decent box office figures. But, come on? How annoying was it when all of your friends started quoting it like it was their religion. We get it. Everyone has a hard time in their 20s and dreams of getting saved by a quirky girl who may or may not be mentally challenged. Maybe we're in the minority here, but we'd listen to The Shins again before re-watching this Zach Braff quirkfest.
You can't go wrong when you sign on The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt to record your soundtrack. You can go wrong when you cast Katie Holmes in your movie. Although she is admittedly a great looking lady, watching her try to act is sometimes like watching a puppy try to walk for the first time – and no amount of good music will ever make us believe that this puppy is a grungy New York kid down on her luck. Also, who did the costume design on this movie? Did they think this was a horror film? Katie Holmes looks less like a punk and more like she murdered someone.
Death Proof’s soundtrack features hand picked rarities from the 60s and 70s that re-introduced us to some of our favorite bands from the era. The movie on the other hand, only serves to remind us of how it wasn’t as good as Robert Rodriguez’s companion piece, Planet Terror. (Sorry, Tarantino.) Who would have predicted that hot babes being chased down by an insane race car driver would be boring?
The soundtrack was a new wave fan’s dream with post-punk artists New Order, The Cure, and Bow Wow Wow filling the bill. The movie was a cinephile’s nightmare, however, featuring some of the worst miscasts ever. Kirsten Dunst as the queen of France? Rip Torn as Louis XV? What did Rip Torn have on the casting director of this one? He must have had something. Either that, or he was the casting director himself. And what about Jason Schwartzman as the king of France? That guy couldn’t intimidate a fly, let alone a country. Another film with a soundtrack that warmed our heart, only to have the film break it.
We don’t want to miss a thing…unless it’s this movie. With songs from Aerosmith, Journey, ZZ Top, and Bob Seger, the soundtrack promised a rocking good time full of thrill and excitement. But the movie ended up taking the lovable hokeyness of the soundtrack and creating a cheeseball of epic proportions. Here’s a question: instead of training drilling experts to be astronauts, wouldn’t it be easier to train astronauts to be drilling experts?
If we could pair up the Spanish version of movie Vanilla Sky (Abre Los Ojos or “Open Your Eyes”) with the American version’s soundtrack, we’d be in paradise. The foreign original was infinitely better than the remake directed by Cameron Crowe, who seems to have lost his eye since directing Jerry McGuire and Almost Famous. He hasn’t lost his ear though, with the movie’s soundtrack featuring his normal mix of great contemporary and classic songs. If you put Radiohead, Bob Dylan, and Paul McCartney on a CD, we’ll buy it. If you put Tom Cruise in a convoluted movie about hallucinating and getting driven off a bridge by a cracked out Cameron Diaz, we won’t buy it at all.