5 great films that share their titles with songs
Saturday, November 5, 2011
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The new indie drama “Janie Jones,” about a rock star (Alessandro Nivola) who connects with the 13-year-old daughter (Abigail Breslin) he never knew he had, takes its title from the song of the same name by The Clash. Janie’s mom (Elisabeth Shue) was one of the band’s groupies when they were young and on their way up years ago, and when the other musicians meet the girl and learn her name, their first response is, “Oh, like the Clash song.”
That got me thinking about other movies that share their titles with songs. Now, we’re not talking about musicals like “Singin’ in the Rain” or “The Sound of Music,” or biopics like “Coal Miner’s Daughter” or “La Bamba” that take their name from a song by the person the movie is about. If we were, we’d be here all day. No, these titles have to be inspired by songs that already existed. I’ll hum a few notes and see if these sound familiar to you:
— “Blue Velvet” (1986): David Lynch uses the 1963 Bobby Vinton song to surreal effect, both in Isabella Rossellini’s performance of it as a troubled lounge singer and in Dennis Hopper’s evocation of it as the drug addict who torments her for his own twisted benefit. That scene — in which Kyle MacLachlan hides in the closet and watches with fascination as their sadomasochistic relationship plays out before him — is as disturbing today as it was when the film came out 25 years ago.
— “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999): A little-known Hilary Swank won her first Academy Award for best actress for her daring and demanding portrayal of Brandon Teena, a real-life transgendered teen who was raped and murdered in Nebraska in 1993. Swank lived for a month as a man to prepare for the role, cutting her hair and taping down her breasts. A version of “Boys Don’t Cry,” an early hit for The Cure, plays during the Kimberly Peirce film.
— “High Fidelity” (2000): Since we love picking top-five lists around here, we had to choose the movie in which the characters stand around a record store all day ... making top-five lists. Elvis Costello’s 1980 song “High Fidelity” doesn’t appear in Stephen Frears’ film, based on the novel by Nick Hornby. It doesn’t even appear on the book’s list of top five Costello songs. But another Costello song, “Shipbuilding,” does as part of an impressive soundtrack. John Cusack is at his analytical, lovesick best, and Jack Black gave the manic comic performance that made him a star.
— “Dazed and Confused” (1993): The Led Zeppelin song that inspired the title doesn’t appear anywhere in Richard Linklater’s ensemble comedy, which follows a group of high school juniors on their last day of class in 1976, as well as the incoming freshmen who suffer through all the ritualistic hazing. But the soundtrack is packed with hits from the era, including “Rock and Roll All Nite” by KISS, “Slow Ride” by Foghat and “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper. The cast of talented then-unknowns includes Ben Affleck, Parker Posey and Matthew McConaughey.
— “Pretty in Pink” (1986): The 1981 Psychedelic Furs tune was an inspiration for writer-director John Hughes, and the band re-recorded it for inclusion here. But this movie has so many great songs (as so many of you pointed out when I did my list of favorite ‘80s soundtracks a few weeks ago), including OMD’s “If You Leave,” New Order’s “Shell Shock” and The Smiths’ “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want.” A Hughes classic, featuring Molly Ringwald as a poor high school girl who dates the boy of her dreams (Andrew McCarthy) to the heartbreak of her childhood best friend (Jon Cryer).
Think of any other examples? Share them with AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire through Twitter: http://twitter.com/christylemire.
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