Katie, 16, recommends five top movie soundtracks.
Like most stories involving my life, it all begins with John Cusack. Well, more importantly, it starts with Lloyd Dobler. Lloyd is John Cusack’s character in the best 80s movie ever made, Say Anything. He plays the most perfect man since Indiana Jones. But unlike Indy, Lloyd is no lady-killer. Instead he pines away for the valedictorian, Diane Court. At one point, he gets her, then he loses her.
But Lloyd Dobler, kickboxing aficionado, does not give up easily. In what has been called (by me) one of the most romantic scenes in any 80s movie, Lloyd stands outside Diane’s house with a boom box over his head, blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” Now, any normal guy would get the cops called on him. But Lloyd Dobler is not any guy—he’s John Cusack. Just look at that face. Aw.
Once exposed to his adorable, boom-box-lifting self, I could not get enough of Cusack. At the tender age of 12, I discovered High Fidelity. In this movie, Cusack’s character, Rob, is hardly the perfect guy, but he makes a damn good mix tape. The entire movie is about good music, and a decent chunk of the movie is about how important mix tapes are and how to make them well. After that, I took a stab at making my own with burned CDs and playlists on iTunes. And they were awful. I ignored some of Rob’s most important mix tape rules (you can’t put two songs by the same artist in a row; rather than a jumble of songs that you like, a general theme should be implemented, and so on). And so I decided to go out and get the High Fidelity soundtrack. I fell in love with it. The thing about movie soundtracks is, they are professional mix tapes. And when you find a good one, it is awesome.
I know that everyone was wetting themselves over the Garden State soundtrack two years ago, but it is time to move on. In true High Fidelity style, I made a list to help you create great mix tapes.
Five best movie soundtracks
(In no particular order.)
High Fidelity (obviously)
Best track: “Always See Your Face” by Love
Theme: Breaking up and getting back together. Boy loses girl. Boy listens to sad Bob Dylan songs like “Most of the Time.” It tries to be all I-didn’t-really-like-her-anyway but we know that really, Dylan is hurting: “I don’t compromise and I don’t pretend/ I don’t even care if I ever see her again/ most of the time.” Boy gets girl back, listens to The Kinks, is exultant. Jack Black serenades boy with cover of “Let’s Get It On.” Basically, your classic love story, duh. However, the movie, while excellent, is hugely overshadowed by the phenomenal music that flows through it. Listen to this soundtrack. It is amazing, seriously.
Best track: “I’m Waiting for the Man” by David Bowie (covering The Velvet Underground)
Theme: The 70s, man. This soundtrack is like a textbook for the greatest age of rock and roll that ever was and never will be again (as long as Fall Out Boy are the reigning kings of radio). Cameron Crowe is The Man when it comes to soundtracks. Even his movie, Elizabethtown, which was sparkly but substance-less, has really cool, twangy music. He also directed Say Anything, which gives him 10 billion gold stars.
Romeo + Juliet
Best track: “Talk Show Host” by Radiohead
Theme: Obsessive love. Think way, way back to when you were in middle school and you liked that one kid so much that ohmigawd, you would just DIE for them. Remember when that person sat across from you at lunch and it made your day? But then that night, they were all “g2g” right after you IM’d them and they signed off and you thought that maybe they blocked you so you had your best friend check on their screen name but no, they had signed off for real but still, it hurt your feelings like totally a lot, you know?
Yeah, it’s kind of like that.
This soundtrack captures all the highs and lows that come with having a really huge crush on someone. It’s good for when you feel like the girl in the Cardigans’ song “Lovefool.” “So I cried, and I begged for you to/ Love me love me/ say that you love me/ leave me leave me/ just say that you need me/ I can’t care about anything but you.”
Love songs for stalkers hopeless romantics.
The Rules of Attraction
Best track: “Sunday Girl” by Blondie
Theme: In this movie, reasonably attractive, C-list alumni of WB melodramas do a lot of morally reprehensible things to a set of really bizarre technomixes from composers tomandandy.
The rest of the soundtrack is like a less kitschy version of the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, complete with a song from The Cure, “Six Different Ways.”
Oh, and I know you saw Anchorman and then couldn’t stop listening to that song, “Afternoon Delight.” Well, The Rules of Attraction has it, too, and this soundtrack will look cooler in your CD sleeve. (“Sky rockets in flight”—whoooo!)
Best track: “Retour A Vega” by The Stills
Theme: Recovering from heartbreak. I have never, ever seen this movie, but I came across the soundtrack and it’s pretty awesome. When one is on a quest for great movie soundtracks, trivial factors like “seeing the movie” are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the tracklist—and what a tracklist!
You Zach Braff worshippers rejoice—Wicker Park’s got rare and unreleased tracks from the Postal Service (“Against All Odds”) and The Shins (“When I Goosestep”). Also, there’s a fairly decent Mates of State cover of Nico’s "These Days," which, if Wes Anderson soundtracks are your thing, you’ll recognize from "The Royal Tennenbaums."
When you can subliminally communicate, "Hey, I think you’re really hot and I like you and if you reject me I will break your soul with the force of a thousand suns" through a playlist—then you’re there. Consider movie soundtracks training wheels for your mix-tape-making skills. Listen to enough of them and you’ll be able to get your point across when you finally hit "burn."