A broken watch is right twice a day, just as a lousy or mediocre film can have some redeeming qualities. Take Suicide Squad (please, take it). Despite reviews that compared it to all forms of famine and pestilence, it won an Oscar for makeup. Since apparently no other movies in 2016 used any makeup. Alongside this trend of technically superlative, creatively bankrupt films is the bad movies great soundtracks dichotomy.
Such is the case with the following movies, the soundtracks for which feature music so good you might forget the films that spawned them. All these terrible movies with awesome music owe a great debt to music supervisors, directors and producers with a good ear, parent companies that own record labels, and the consumerist masses, all of which played a role in ensuring an awful film had a chance to worm its way into pop culture relevance. Be sure to leave a comment with the best soundtracks and best movie songs from terrible movies not present here.
Now head to your preferred spot for streaming music and get ready for music that's better than the movies.
Terrible Movie: Yes, Sean Penn was nominated for an Oscar, and little Dakota Fanning is amazing. But I Am Sam is exactly the kind of movie Tropic Thunder's Simple Jack so adroitly mocked. For those who don't know the film, Penn plays a mentally handicapped barista who fights a protracted legal battle to keep his young daughter. The movie means well, and cast some mentally impaired performers, but this backfired for some, thanks to a character who's a dead ringer for Raymond Babbit (Rain Man). You'll spend the whole film trying to figure out if he's an actor imitating Rain Man or an autistic person who likes to imitate Rain Man.
Great Soundtrack: As concept soundtracks go, this one nails a fantastic premise, while avoiding all the schmaltz of the film. Every song is a classic Beatles tune covered by a modern singer. Sarah McLaughlan (See: City of Angels) does a beautiful rendition of "Blackbird," Ben Harper's "Strawberry Fields" gets it right. Rufus Wainwright's "Across the Universe" would be the album's highlight, but...
Best Track: Eddie Vedder covers "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," and every other performer on the soundtrack has to fight for second place.Good soundtrack?
Terrible Movie: Whatever 100 projects Leonardo DiCaprio turned down after Titanic, chances are all of them were better choices than The Beach. It's a low moment for the star and director, Danny Boyle, he of Trainspotting and 28 Days Later (screenplay by Alex Garland, who wrote the novel on which The Beach is based) fame. Nitrogen and glycerin does not always combustion make. The Beach is pretty to look at, but beauty fades fast with plotting this slow and characterizations this thin.
Great Soundtrack: Danny Boyle showed with the opening of Trainspotting he was a major talent with a spectacular ear for music. The Beach's soundtrack feels like molly (MDMA) compared to the morphine that is the movie. Boyle regulars Blue and Underworld make appearances alongside Orbital, New Order, and, in an odd choice that works, Sugar Ray.
Best Track: The Beach was not the first time the world heard "Porcelain" by Moby, but it's a hard track to top.Good soundtrack?
Terrible Movie: Despite the tagline "You Like to Watch," YOU WILL NOT LIKE TO WATCH. Thanks to Basic Instinct, writer Joe Estzerhas got a million dollars for basically writing unlistenable dialogue and unimaginative "hot" scenes for this flick. However, Sharon Stone's $2.5 Million was well earned - you try not laughing when Billy Baldwin says "panties."
Great Soundtrack: While it's safe to bet zero babies were made while watching Sliver, a few might have been made thanks to this sexy and sleek soundtrack. Enigma was in peak form with two tracks later featured in countless basic cable phone sex commercials. Verve, Massive Attack, and Fluke all provided music that was far sexier than the movie. And who knew UB40 covering Elvis would be so poignant and buoyant?
Best Tracks: Neneh Cherry's "Move with Me" was also featured in Until the End of the World soundtrack. The version here is far superior, no longer a one note dirge with Ms Cherry's wailing and rapping.Good soundtrack?
Terrible Movie: If you’ve seen Until the End of the World, a three-hour exercise in endurance and artistic "self-pleasuring," please indicate so in the comments: someone will try to reply to all five of you.
After Wings of Desire, Wim Wenders could not have been hotter in the international film community. After Until the End of the World, his fire flamed out. Per Wikipedia, World's plot: "While trying to find a cure for his wife's blindness, Dr. Farber has created a device that allows the user to send images directly to the brain. [Meanwhile] the continued existence of mankind is under threat from a nuclear-powered satellite that is falling toward earth."
Got that? In 2015, Wenders screened his five hour cut to mostly positive response. Do you remember watching the three hour original wishing "If only it were two hours longer"?
Great Soundtrack: If you were born in the mid '70s and had a taste for indie rock, you love this album without knowing it. The lineup is a who's-who of late '80s and early '90s rock: U2, REM, Depeche Mode, Talking Heads, Nick Cave, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Depeche Mode. If your tastes are more atmospheric, there's Daniel Lanois, Julee Cruise, and Neneh Cherry (whose track "Move With Me" is featured in Sliver, also on this list). Even the snippets of score featured on the soundtrack offers false hope for a movie that's never delivered.
Best Tracks: "Until the End of the World" is a hit (though already appeared on Achtung Baby). REM's "Fretless" is a beauty.Good soundtrack?