The much-awaited follow-up to last week's mini-list. Again, the focus is on the film's use of existing pop music, not original recordings.
5. American Psycho (2000). No wonder the men of Late Night Shots routinely trade quotes from this chotch epic on their often-hilarious members-only forums. It's their ultimate wish-fulfillment fantasy: 1980s cocaine-fueled predator UTTERLY DOMINATES women, Wall Street, and all his foes. And he does it to a soundtrack featuring both Robert Palmer and Huey Lewis. That's hard enough to believe by itself, but it only gets worse when you throw in "Lady in Red," "If You Don't Know Me By Now," and two Phil Collins/Genesis songs. I know, I know, it's all supposed to be ironic, but at some point this movie, like its fans on LNS, starts enjoying itself so much it leaves the irony behind. Phil Collins doesn't help.
4. Garden State (2004). Is this a controversial call anymore? Or has the Zach Braff backlash (Brafflash?) made it boringly conventional to hate on Zach and everything he's done? In any case, this movie is not The Graduate for our generation (neither is "Knocked Up," by the way). It's not even good. And the lite indie soundtrack is limp enough even without Braff calling attention to his good taste with egregious scenes like the one parodied here.
3. Dazed and Confused (1993). American Graffiti was the early '70s doing the early '60s; this is the early '90s doing the mid '70s. Problem? The mid '70s pretty much sucked. I'll admit did enjoy this movie in high school (I even bought the soundtrack! It slotted in perfectly between The Best of Grand Frunk Railroad and Bad Company's 10 From 6). But looking over the music again, man, it just sucked: ZZ Top, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo", and "Jim Dandy." Some of these songs wouldn't even crack a Classic Rock Block anymore. Do they convincingly recall the American high school experience of 1976? Maybe. But to borrow from Phil Collins (see above): I don't care anymore. They still suck.
2. Fear (1996). If the mid '70s were lame, what can we say about the mid '90s? If you haven't seen it in a while, it's time to revisit this Mark Wahlberg/Reese Witherspoon thriller, which borrows heavily from both Cape Fear and Straw Dogs. I caught it via On Demand last week, and was impressed by Reese's navel-hugging jeans, the guy from CSI's hilarious performance as her intense dad, and the fact that at one point in time Marky Mark was a pretty tough dude. I wasn't impressed by the music. In fact, Fear is the inspiration for both these lists. Aside from one throwaway moment where Toad the Wet Sprocket is heard in the background (don't blame the director; this was the mid-90's after all), there are apparently only two songs in the entire film: a soggy '90s girl band cover of "Wild Horses," used enthusiastically whenever something kinky is going on; and Bush's "Come Down," used enthusaistically whenever Mr. Mark is being a badass. There's a chance "Machinehead" subs for "Come Down" during one of those frequent badass scenes, but I swear those two songs recur about seventeen times during this 90 minute movie.
1. Armageddon (1998). I love ripping on this movie. It's like Michael Bay saw "Independence Day" and then bet Roland Emmerich that he could take out the aliens and still make an explosions/space/world-saving movie that was louder, coarser, uglier, and dumber than what had come before. (It's too bad Bay didn't make a similar wager with Emmerich after The Patriot--I would love to have seen that film). Anyway, everybody remembers the loathesome "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing," but that was recorded specifically for the film so technically can't count here. Fortunately, Armageddon sports two other awful Aerosmith tunes, including their cover of "Come Together," which should be mentioned -- along with "I Don't Want..." -- in any serious discussion about The Worst Song Of All Time. There's also Bon Jovi, ZZ Top, and Bob Seger. To be honest, I can't remember exactly how all these songs are used, but does it even matter? At least Dazed and Confused was purposely trying to capture the sour-milk taste of '70s cock rock. What's Michael Bay's excuse? He's making a giant sci-fi epic about saving the planet. We're left to suspect that he really thinks "Sweet Emotion" is, like, the most ass-kicking song in history. Ugh.