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Ten Songs from Ten Films, Over the Past Decade

by Cris


It’s the start of another year and won’t you believe, it also marks a year of the Friday’s lists. I started out my first ever list with New Year’s songs which I think is still the best list of indie songs about the New Year out there 😉 I really didn’t think I could go on this long though – not with my Friday’s list being bumped to Saturday, or Sunday even. I should’ve scratched doing it every week, since I never really did it on time – but then for some weird reason I just kept on doing it. The Friday’s list is like an itch that can only be scratched if posted online.

I would’ve gone on to do another New Year’s themed list, but I think I’ve exhaused all my choices. So today, it’ll be something that combines two things that I love – music and movies. Most of the songs that become my favorites often have some context behind it – either a song that’s attached to a memory in my life or a songs that I came across watching a great film. Music becomes more powerful with a narrative and it goes the same the other way around too. Since everyone’s doing a top ten something of the decade right now, here I have my favorite songs, used in ten great films that I’ve watched over the past decade.



1. Gogol Bordello – Through The Roof N Underground (Wristcutters: A Love Story – 2006 )


I did post this on the site before, but it was way back in the dark ages where I only had 50 hits a month and no List Addict’s Fridays. Wristcutter’s: A Love Story had a fun concept – if you die by killing yourself, you go off into an afterlife specifically for people who committed suicide. It’s drab, gloomy, and no one can smile. This is also where Zia, the main character of the movie, got stuck. He killed himself after a failed romance and is now working as a pizza guy at Kamikaze Pizzeria. When he gets word that his ex-girlfriend also offed herself, he goes on to a road trip to find her – along with a Russian rock singer and a girl who claims she ended up in the dreary afterlife by mistake.

One of the most fun things in this movie is the whole road trip montage. They only had one tape to play on the car stereo, which was the Russian guy’s band’s tape that he had in his pocket the day he died. What better choice of song on an afterlife roadtrip than to have Gogol Bordello’s Through The Roof N Underground. Honestly, I believe that they specifically wrote in a Eugene Hutz character just so that they can use Gogol Bordello in the movie – and I loved it 🙂 I got the song stuck in the head for week and the movie is now on my list of my fave movies of all time.



2. Bjork – Scatterheart (Dancer in the Dark – 2000 )


Don’t watch Dancer In The Dark if you’re depressed…or maybe you should, since you’ll come to realize that things could be so much worse. The movie centers around Selma, played by Bjork, a young single mom who works at a factory in rural America. Worst luck ever couldn’t even fully describe what happens to her in this film – she has a degenerative disease that causes her to slowly go blind, get’s fired at her job because of it, loses the money she saved to get her son treatment for the same disease, kills a police officer and gets sentenced to death. Despite all the gloom that this film has, it has a really nice quirk – it’s a musical. Selma, is a woman that loves musicals and often gets engulfed in the musical fantasies in her head. In one particular point in the film, she escapes the horror of having killed somebody by singing around it.

To fully appreciate Scatterheart, you should watch the film. That scene has that cute but creepy charm about it as you watch Bjork sing and dance around with the re-animated body of the person she just killed – it’s also heartbreaking too, creepily cute and heartbreaking.



3. The Polyphonic Spree – Light and Day (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – 2004 )


I have yet to find somebody who didn’t like this film. It’s one of two Michel Gondry films that I have on my list because I just love how he makes things so whimsical in a non-cgi looking way. He also made the new video for The Polyphonic Spree’s Light and Day to accompany the film’s soundtrack where he superimposes a mouth singing the lyrics to clips from the film (which may include the mouth replacing Jim Carrey’s, Kate Winslet’s or even placed on a house or on brain scans).

I’m not a big fan of The Polyphonic Spree, but I love this movie and my son loves this song. He calls it the ‘reach for the sun song’. I just find it cute it when he nicknames songs when he doesn’t know the title – like ‘booger face’ and ‘the one with the disco stick’ for those Lady Gaga songs.



4. Mumm-ra – She’s Got You High ((500) Days of Summer – 2009 )


The first song that I liked from the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack was Temper Trap‘s Sweet Disposition. I had it in my head for weeks after viewing the trailer and I knew I had to see the film. It only had a limited run in my area so I had to drag my husband to go downtown with me just to watch it. Of course it didn’t dissapoint, and as a plus, I was treated to one of my favorite songs just when the credits started to roll – Mumm-ra‘s She’s Got You High. Of course I sang along happily, having watched such a great movie, while my husband stared at me with a ‘don’t-ever-drag-me-to-another-chick-flick-again’ look (though I know deep inside he enjoyed it). Too bad the group’s no longer making new songs, and I’m quite curious to see how their latest incarnation would fare.



5. The Moldy Peaches – Anyone Else But You (Juno- 2007 )


I admit, this song doesn’t have a great replay factor. It’s cute, it’s quirky, but after listening to it more than once, it kind of gets old on you (unlike the Temper Trap song, which I listened to everyday for four weeks and Captain’s Frontline which I listened to nonstop for 10 hours). But there’s one thing that makes this song memorable – it’s included in the 2007 indie film hit – Juno. In fact, we’re treated to a duet by Ellen Page and Michael Cera with their rendition of this Moldy Peaches song.

This song and this movie earns a place in my list because it weirdly spawned the new fad of ‘teenage pregnancy is cool’ . I also like Juno (the character). Like me, she loves wearing stripes and hoodies, and plays music. I love drinking Sunny D and my husband, eating orange Tic Tacs. Also, like Juno, the time I got pregnant was the most tramatic moment in our lives. This is why my son is an only child.



6. Glen Hansard and Market Irglova – When Your Mind’s Made Up (Once – 2006 )


My list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include one of the best films in this decade about music. I’ve already raved about this film and Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova before. I think all of the songs in the movie are top notch. One of my favorite songs in it is ‘When Your Mind’s Made Up’. The song is played when the band is recording the demo album for our busker boy/ vacuum repairman. It’s one of the films more moving songs that’s especially accented by Marketa’s pianos and backing vocals – it’s a song that just makes your heart beat a little bit faster.



7. Twinkranes – Being Kong (Cherrybomb – 2009)


I am a big Ron fan, which is why I just had to check out this film with Rupert Grint. It’s a nice teen suspense drama about two best friends and a girl they’re both vying attention for. It has all the elements that I like about a teen drama  – sex (yes, little old Ron has a sex scene here), drugs, and great music. There’s also Robert Sheehan, whom I love as the annoying Irish guy in Misfits – playing Luke, best friend to Rupert Grint’s Malachy. It’s another film set in Ireland so you get a taste of some Irish indie songs here. One of them, used in the film’s trailer, is Twinkrane’s psychedelic electro-rock song ‘Being Kong’.

Hopefully, the film will get a wider release – especially with all the Rupert Grint fans out there lobbying for it. For now, you can take a peek at the film’s trailer here.



8. Gael Garcia Bernal – If You Rescue Me (The Science of Sleep – 2006 )


The Science of Sleep is the second Gondry film in my list. It’s about a chronic daydreamer named Stephane whose dreams often interfere with his daily life. Taking the phrase ‘running away with your imagination’ a notch further, he finds it hard to win over his next door neighbor’s heart, when his imagination gets mixed with his own insecurities.

If You Rescue Me is a song played in one particular scene, where Stephane, dreams of making a video for Stephanie (the girl he’s pining for). At the advice of his imaginary office associates, he dresses up a cat and performs a kitty themed version of the Velvet Underground song After Hours, to win Stephanie’s affections. It doesn’t work though, but the song is sure as hell cute.



9. The Shins – Caring is Creepy (Garden State – 2004 )


The Garden State soundtrack is one of those era defining soundtracks. It’s like the Singles soundtrack in the 1990s or The Pretty In Pink soundtrack in the 1980s. When you listen to it, you get a glimpse of what people were listening to at that time. Not only that, it’s accompanied by a great film that paints a pretty picture of what the 2000s were like.

I might have to disagree with Sam when she says that The Shin’s New Slang can change your life when you listen to it, though I might be more convinced if it was Caring is Creepy. Sometimes, it kind of gives me the goosebumps when I hear it, which is I think, a good thing for a song to do.



10. Shelley Duvall – He Needs Me (Punch-Drunk Love – 2002 )


I’m cheating a bit since He Needs Me was actually a song made for the 1980 live action Popeye movie. It was sung by Olive Oyl who was played by Shelley Duvall. To give you a clue on how old I am, I was already alive when the film came out. It was one of my favorite films growing up and I had fond memories of renting it at the local videostore, to play on our betamax player.

Going back to the song – it was heavily used in the 2002 movie Punch Drunk Love. It’s one of those films that you just have to finish to see how truly great it is. I’ll admit, while watching, it got a bit uneasy for me at times as Barry, (the film’s main character, played by Adam Sandler) kept teetering  too close to madness and extreme agression, that you were just on the edge of your seat waiting for him to lash out and kill somebody (which, the most likely candidate would be – his love interest, played by the lovely Emily Watson). In essence, it’s a sweet, sweet love story with a bit of a quirk – which I agree, is a nice fit for Shelley Duvall’s song.