Music is a fundamental part of the movie experience since way back in the beginning, even during the silent film era. It fills the silence and helps you to understand and feel a character’s emotions on the big screen. Music helps you to embrace the drama of the film and movies would be incredibly dull without it. When films were first brought to the screen and there was no dialogue film goers relied on an organist to help grasp the mood of the scene.
Film and Music
Music is used to convey emotion and introduce a scene, it doesn’t matter if the scene is triumphant, tragic or funny. The music gives the theater goers a hint that the scene is building. Music focuses on tension and the music will move between fast and complex to slow and smooth. You can have a scene showing a panoramic vista and with music you can make it full of hope or indicate that danger is approaching.
Almost every film you see in a theater does this and most of the time they do it without you ever really noticing. There are some films that are incredibly effective with their choice of accompanying music. The “Harry Potter” franchise is one such example. There are hints in the music as to what the upcoming scene will be about, just listen to the music from the “Goblet of Fire” when Harry faces a challenge.
Music and Misdirection
Music is also often used to misdirect the viewer, in the thriller or horror it is used often. Imagine two teens making out in a car and then you start to hear the suspenseful music, you’re expecting the killer to show up and instead it is the class clown out to just scare them. The music is suspenseful setting the tone like there will be an imminent attack but something else entirely happens. Here is a closer look at how music is used in film.
Not every movie needs a soundtrack to be a successful film but a really well done film score can make the whole experience extraordinary. Can you imagine the movie Jaws without that iconic soundtrack…neither can we. That score took that film to a whole other level of scary. Other soundtracks have proven to be better than the films themselves. Some of the best movie soundtracks manage to invoke happiness, fear, suspense, drama and a whole range of emotions without you even realizing it. You experience everything the director of the film wants you to all because of music.
If movies were judged on their soundtracks alone then Purple Rain or Singles might beat out critically acclaimed films like Citizen Kane on all time lists of the best movies. No matter how good a soundtrack is, and let’s face it Purple Rain was epic, it still can’t make up for some incredibly bad acting. Prince’s masterpiece isn’t the only piece of film with a fantastic soundtrack. Let’s have a look at some incredible soundtracks from bad movies.
Saturday Night Fever
So disco may not be your favorite style of music but this soundtrack put together by the Bee Gees capture the 70’s like nothing else…not even the leisure suit. With hits like “Stayin Alive” and “Disco Inferno” personify the decade with its dance floor moves as an average guy tries to make it in the big city. As a movie, the acting and direction were terrible but as a soundtrack it spend more than 20 years holding the title of best-selling soundtrack of all time.
If were ever an angst ridden member of Generation X in the 90’s then you probably owned a copy of the soundtrack to Reality Bites. The soundtrack mixes the old with the new featuring tracks from Lisa Loeb, Crowded House and The Knack.
City of Angels
This was hands down one of the cheesiest movies of the 90’s and Nicholas Cage’s acting skills are nothing to write home about, the soundtrack is something else. Filled with hits like “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls, “Uninvited” by Alannis Morrisette and the gut wrenching “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan, makes the movie almost worth watching…or you could just grab the soundtrack.
I am Sam
This movie wasn’t as bad as the others on the list and Sean Penn and Dakota Fanning are both critically acclaimed thespians, but the soundtrack is SO MUCH better than the film itself. Penn couldn’t secure the rights to the original Beatles songs for the soundtrack so instead there are some pretty impressive covers, including Rufus Wainwright’s “Across the Universe” and Eddie Vedder’s “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”.
You simply can’t have a list like this one without mentioning “The Bodyguard”. The Dolly Parton cover made famous by Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You” is played at on talent shows and at weddings everywhere. This was the soundtrack that finally supplanted “Staying Alive” as the best-selling soundtrack of all time, while the movie was less than impressive.