Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Soundtrack nostalgia

At work yesterday, my co-worker Zack brought up the Best Original Song category in the Oscars. I forget exactly how the conversation progressed but it led to me, Zack, and the intern Suzy riffing on all the songs originally recorded for movies that we could remember. I started writing stuff down and thought for today's post I'd get a little nostalgic. This isn't a Best Of list. I'm just having fun remembering them.

"Dream Warriors" by Dokken; from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

I think this video is the only reason I ever watched a Nightmare on Elm Street flick. I didn't like horror movies and didn't share the love other teenage boys seemed to have for slasher flicks. But when I saw Dokken's "Dream Warriors" video and subsequently learned about the movie, I saw something that appealed to the comic book fan inside me - instead of a killer stalking prey in their dreams, I saw superheroes (i.e., a group of teenagers who learned how to give themselves super powers in their dreams) fighting a super villain. That was something I could get behind.

"We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)" by Tina Turner; from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

I was a kid when this came out and I wonder whether or not, if I'd been a bit older, the obvious mismatch between the music and the subject matter would have made me avoid the movie entirely.

I remember being disappointed about what I thought at the time were lyrics that had little to do with movie. Or, at least, that I thought didn't make sense. Because of the use of the childrens choir, I assumed that the lyrics were written from the perspective of the tribe of children who saved Max from the desert. And it seemed very clear they DID need and want another hero. In fact, their entire Peter-Pan-y existence was built around the notion of a heroic pilot they believed was destined to return to save them all.

The wikipedia entry for the song says, however, that the lyrics were written from the perspective of "those being oppressed," which I guess means the inhabitants of Bartertown. That seems like a strange point-of-view though since you don't meet many of them other than those - like Aunty Entity and Master Blaster - who are doing the oppressing.

I saw Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome again a couple of months ago. I hadn't seen it for years. I think I wrote it off as just another dumb movie I liked when I was a kid, but it holds up fairly well. I should learn to be less dismissive about movies that aren't musicals.

"Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker, Jr.; from Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters remains one of my favorite movies and easily one of my top 10 comedies.

This video, on the other hand, seems to be about a supernatural rapist who pursues a woman while she's teased by 1980s celebrities living in her wall.

"Glory of Love" by Peter Cetera; from The Karate Kid, Part II

I remember being very excited about the impending release of The Karate Kid, Part II and being very, very angry that this odd-looking blond man was recruited to sing for the movie. I don't know anything about Peter Cetera, and he may just be the nicest man this side of Okinawa, but my impressions of him when I saw this video were very clear. He personified Hollywood. He was clearly older than his big hair and his giant, white teeth wanted him to be. He seemed simultaneously striking and deeply, deeply ugly. He looked like the kind of guy who was waiting for me in a van with blacked-out windows.

"Flash" by Queen; from Flash Gordon

I hadn't thought of this song in years until I saw Tenacious D cover it on their DVD collection.

Queen was so perfectly named, and not just for the glaringly obvious reason. There was a tangible majesty to their sound. If I were a superhero, I would want Queen to write my theme song.

"Blaze of Glory" by Jon Bon Jovi; from Young Guns II

I certainly never listened to this while fantasizing of being a brave warrior making his last stand against brutish, cowardly villains who looked suspiciously like some of my high school classmates. And anyone who says otherwise clearly fucks goats.

"Live to Tell" by Madonna; from At Close Range

Zack mentioned this today and I felt like I hadn't thought about this song in a million years. I remember being surprised Madonna was willing to do a song for a movie she wasn't starring in, and strangely thinking that while I thought the movie looked good I didn't want to see it. It looked too tragic. In fact, I remember thinking that shot of Penn and his buddies jumping in the air Oh-what-a-feeling style (about 01:19 in the clip) was too comic for what looked to be a violent, depressing movie.

"The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" by Cyndi Lauper; from The Goonies

As far as I'm concerned, Cyndi Lauper was the queen of the '80s (as in royalty, not as in I'm comparing her to the guys earlier in the list).

I have a relatively dumb wish. I want a Goonies 2. The catch? I want all the surviving cast from The Goonies as they exist today, but they have to act like only a year has passed and none of them have aged more than that.

No Country for Old Goonies. What evil prick wouldn't pay to see it?

"Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" by Starship; from Mannequin

It's likely Kim Cattrall was the most important woman in my sexual development. She helped jumpstart my hormones in my pre-teens when I saw Mannequin and started their slow death when I saw Sex and the City.

"Batdance" by Prince; from Batman

Considering what a hardcore Marvel kid I was, I think "Batdance" excited me more about Tim Burton's film than any trailers, commercials, or Behind the Scenes footage. I think Prince really committed himself to embodying the spirit of the movie and it was cool to be able to tell just how deeply Prince cared about making the soundtrack for a comic book flick.

Now that I've grown up, read a few books, made the easy choice of not remaining in that camp of aged comic book fans who sigh whenever someone mentions the possibility that there might be something sexual behind the stories of muscular men in skintight outfits wrestling around with each other, I think I have a better appreciation for how the video's creators chose to portray the Batman/Joker conflict as such a sexually charged one.

In fact, boobs or no boobs, I'd say Prince's dancers understood Batman better than Joel Schumacher ever did.

(had to get that in there)


Anonymous said...

Madonna was married to Penn at the time, which I know you know but bears mentioning. "Live to Tell" is also a guilty pleasure of mine. Love that goddamn song and, like you, still haven't seen the film.

The highlight of the Starship video for "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" is Grace Slick jumping to life...COKED TO THE FREAKING GILLS. Holy crap.

Mick Martin said...

Well, I just love that part because the movie is about a mannequin coming to life as a beautiful, sexy, irresistible woman and then...yeesh...Grace Slick.