It often happens - you walk out of a movie and have forgotten the plot, the acting, who was actually IN the movie...but the music stays with you...and stays...and stays. You don't mind the songs taking up residence in your head and wind up buying the soundtrack, thus making it a good thing that you went to this bad flick. Here are some of the most mediocre movies with great soundtracks.
1. Purple Rain (1984)
Can't remember a thing about the movie, but "When Doves Cry" is still stuck in people's brain for decades. Prince's outfits here also gave Dave Chappelle infinite fodder for his comedy. The rock legend even used Chappelle dressed up as him for the cover of his latest single.
2. Singles (1992)
This soundtrack had such music legends like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden while the movie's biggest draw was a long-haired Matt Dillon. Somehow, I think the music people got it much better.
3. Rocky IV (1985)
Russian menace Ivan Drago couldn't break this soundtrack - it was packed with such great music from Survivor, Kenny Loggins, and of course...James Brown. No wonder Rocky Balboa was inspired to come back and beat him. Oops. Sorry, spoilers.
4. Batman Forever (1995)
Val Kilmer wasn't the best Bruce Wayne, portraying him as possibly the most bland billionaire/superhero in cinema history. He made Michael Keaton look caffeinated by comparison. Really big hit songs by U2 and Seal helped make the soundtrack memorable, though. Music videos for both tunes got really heavy rotation on MTV, back when music was the primary impetus behind the channel, not reality TV.
5. The Crow (1994)
This movie got notoriety with Brandon Lee's death during filming more than from being good. The soundtrack was not a tragedy, though. It rocked, though - with the Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails, The Cure and Rage Against the Machine. While it did spawn a couple of sequels, people don't really remember the original.
6. Juice (1992)
This was an OK movie that had the late Tupac Shakur in it, but it had an all-star rap soundtrack, including Naughty By Nature, Eric B. and Rakim, EPMD and Big Daddy Kane. Decades from the movie's release, people are still listening to songs like "Uptown Anthem", but the movie languishes in history.
7. The Beach (2000)
This movie sank faster than the boat in Leo DiCaprio's previous one (some film called Titanic), but it was buoyed by a soundtrack that included dance/electronic movie gods Underworld and Leftfield.
8. American Graffiti (1973)
This is a decent film that some dude named Harrison Ford appeared in before he became known as Han Solo, but it had so many great oldie songs on the soundtrack that you felt like you were transported back to 1962.
9. Vanilla Sky (2001)
This was a forgettable Tom Cruise vehicle, which was rare at the time since everything he touched turned to gold at the time the movie came out. The film has some beautiful music, including Sigur Ros' "Svefn g Englar," so we can thank the movie for raising awareness of that awesome band, at least.
10. Threesome (1994)
This was NOT an adult film, but starred Lara Flynn Boyle, Adam Baldwin, and Josh Charles. The soundtrack had several great artists, including Duran Duran, U2, Bryan Ferry and Tears For Fears - which means they should have at least titled that "More than A Threesome."
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Robert Zemeckis is a blockbuster director at heart. Action has never been an issue for the man behind Back to the Future. When he puts aside the high concept adventures for emotional human stories — think Forrest Gump or Cast Away — he still goes big. His latest Flight continues the trend revolving the story of one man's fight with alcoholism around a terrifying plane crash. Zemeckis expertly crafts his roaring centerpiece and while he finds an agile performer in Denzel Washington the hour-and-a-half of Flight after the shocking moment can't sustain the power. The "big" works. The intimate drowns.
Washington stars as Whip Whitaker a reckless airline pilot who balances his days flying jumbo jets with picking up women snorting lines of cocaine and drinking himself to sleep. Although drunk for the flight that will change his life forever that's not the reason the plane goes down — in fact it may be the reason he thinks up his savvy landing solution in the first place. Writer John Gatins follows Whitaker into the aftermath madness: an investigation of what really happened during the flight Whitaker's battle to cap his addictions and budding relationships that if nurtured could save his life.
Zemeckis tops his own plane crash in Cast Away with the heart-pounding tailspin sequence (if you've ever been scared of flying before Flight will push into phobia territory). In the few scenes after the literal destruction Washington is able to convey an equal amount of power in the moments of mental destruction. Whitaker is obviously crushed by the events the bottle silently calling for him in every down moment. Flight strives for that level of introspection throughout eventually pairing Washington with equally distraught junkie Nicole (Kelly Reilly). Their relationship is barely fleshed out with the script time and time again resorting to obvious over-the-top depictions of substance abuse (a la Nic Cage's Leaving Las Vegas) and the bickering that follows. Washington's Whitaker hits is lowest point early sitting there until the climax of the film.
Sharing screentime with the intimate tale is the surprisingly comical attempt by the pilot's airline union buddy (Bruce Greenwood) and the company lawyer (Don Cheadle) to get Whitaker into shape. Prepping him for inquisitions looking into evidence from the wreckage and calling upon Whitaker's dealer Harling (John Goodman) to jump start their "hero" when the time is right the two men do everything they can to keep any blame being placed upon Whitaker by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators. The thread doesn't feel relevant to Whitaker's plight and in turn feels like unnecessary baggage that pads the runtime.
Everything in Fight shoots for the skies — and on purpose. The music is constantly swelling the photography glossy and unnatural and rarely do we breach Washington's wild exterior for a sense of what Whitaker's really grappling with. For Zemeckis Flight is still a spectacle film with Washington's ability to emote as the magical special effect. Instead of using it sparingly he once again goes big. Too big.
Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
Looks like Tom Hanks has finally met his match.
And believe it or not, it is in Julia "Teen Beat" Stiles.
That's right. Hanks' seemingly invincible "Cast Away" withstood the test of supremacy last week with the wide release of "Traffic" (although "Traffic" played in many less theaters). But this weekend (a four-day weekend for most kids due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday), it's likely that the bubble gum flick "Save the Last Dance" could knock "Cast Away" off the No. 1 spot.
Then again, it might not.
OK, you got us. We're not definite about anything this weekend. But before you go throwing your popcorn at us, hear us out.
"This is a very crowded marketplace," Brandon Gray, editor of boxofficemojo.com, told Hollywood.com. "It's going to be a busy weekend, with all the new releases and the expanding releases."
And then there's the thing with this being a four-day weekend. All these factors combined have made this a very interesting weekend to predict.
However, one thing is for sure though: This is going to be a huge moneymaking weekend.
To wit: Besides "Dance," the multiplexes will see the bowing of "Antitrust" and "Double Take." Then there are "Thirteen Days" and "Finding Forrester" -- two acclaimed films that are going wide this weekend.
And let's not forget the proven crowd pleaser "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," which is expanding from a very limited release to 700 screens.
And did we mention strong holdovers such as "What Women Want," "Traffic," "Miss Congeniality" and "The Family Man," which will also compete for their slice of the box office pie?
But per Gray's calculation, "Cast Away" is likely to hold on to the No. 1 slot, with No. 2 going to "Save the Last Dance."
According to Gray, No. 3, 4 and 5 are fair play between "Traffic," "Finding Forrester" and "What Women Want." "Miss Congeniality" seems to have a lock with the sixth slot, as does "Double Take" in the No. 7 slot.
But when it comes to lucky No. 8, it is completely up for grabs between "Crouching Tiger," "Family Man" and "The Emperor's New Groove."
Gray didn't forget about "Antitrust," which he thinks is only good enough for the No. 12 spot.
Judge for yourself. Here's a closer look at all the new major players this weekend.
"SAVE THE LAST DANCE"
THE SKINNY: A white girl (Julia Stiles) moves to the other side of town -- aka the ghetto -- and meets a black boy (Sean Patrick Thomas) in her school. Besides a mutual love for hip-hop dancing and ballet, they also share an interest in each other (of course) to the chagrin of everyone around them.
THE UPSIDE: "It seems to be the most promising of the three new releases. This is a notorious time to release a teen picture, like in January of 1999 with 'Varsity Blues.' And 'Down to You' was released around this time last year," Gray said.
"It will get the teen girl and the urban audience. And [with films in this genre,] it really doesn't matter if there's a star in it or not. It could knock 'Cast Away' off, but I wouldn't bank on it completely."
THE DOWNSIDE: Remember the MTV movie "Love Song" with Monica and Christian Kane? Well, this is just like that flick except for the dancing part and gender reversal. "DOUBLE TAKE"
THE SKINNY: A banker (Orlando Jones) on the lam teams up with a street hustler (Eddie Griffin) who ends up being a fed.
THE UPSIDE: "This is the second most-promising film this weekend," Gray said. "The studio is certainly hoping for a 'Rush Hour' rather than a 'Bait' ..."
THE DOWNSIDE: "... but the film looks like it's going to be another 'Bait,'" Gray predicts. "ANTITRUST"
THE SKINNY: A young programming geek (Ryan Phillippe) gets a crash course on corporate America when he is recruited to work for a huge Silicon Valley company called NURV owned by an older computer geek (Tim Robbins).
THE UPSIDE: To see a post-"The Way of the Gun" Phillippe -- clean-shaven, bathed and all.
THE DOWNSIDE: Like it or not, the film looks like it is going to get lost in the shuffle this weekend.