So the other day a rather weird thing happened. A couple of my friends and I were bumming around my room when my little cousin asked what a nice romantic song was that I could recommend to her (she’s a bit love sick). Hoping to be able to relate with her (and of course the movies), I quickly though of “So Close” from 2007’s “Enchanted”. That movie was filled with a lot of great original songs written especially for the film. What surprised me most was that everyone in the room knew what the song was. After some persuasion we got our friend Jacob (http://jacobbenedicto.tumblr.com) to sing a bit of it. This caused everyone in the room to break out into song. No matter who we were, we were enjoying each others company while singing this great movie song. So that go me thinking of the recent movie songs (of course it has to be specially written for the film) that I’ve enjoyed during the new century. There has been so many so it’s been hard to really break it down, but here’s a list of some of the best that means something to me!
DISCLAIMER: LOTS OF SPOILERS. 🙂
“Welcome Christmas” from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000) – Christmas songs always hit the right spot for me and this film has a lot of them mixed in with a lot of Dr. Suess’ memorable characters and plots. The finale song comes when Mr. Grinch (played hilariously by Jim Carey, who doesn’t really get much credit for such a fun performance) finally realizes that Christmas isn’t so bad after all because one sweet Cindy-Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) shows him the way of having a heart. Awww. Classic.
“Come What May” from “Moulin Rouge!” (2001) – Originally a song for “Romeo + Juliet”, director Baz Luhrmann decided to use the romantic ballad for his star-cross lover’s Christian (Ewan McGregor) and Satine (Nicole Kidman) instead. And I’m so glad it happened this way instead. When the lover’s sing “Come What May” together to ensure each other that they’ll always love each other (he’s a penniless writer and she’s a high profile courtesan), movie magic is made. I couldn’t find a video good enough from the actual film, but here’s the track that appears on the soundtrack. Possibly my favourite movie song of the new century.
“Loose Yourself” from “8 Mile” (2002) – I bet a lot of you don’t remember the time Eminem (Yes, Marshall Mathers) won an Academy Award? Well he deserved it 110% in the Best Original Song category! In 2002 the famous rapper appeared in the film “8 Mile” (which I hear, but don’t quote me on this, is semi-autobiographical). Though the movie fails to hit in so many places, the very talented Eminem truly gets the soundtrack right. With “Loose Yourself”, the film is summarised in what the character is feeling (and maybe Mr. Mathers too). The song remains to be one of the most memorable and popular songs of all time. To think, Eminem stayed home to sleep on Oscar night because he thought he wouldn’t win!
“Here’s to Love” from “Down with Love” (2003) – This rompy sex comedy headlined by Ewan McGregor and Renee Zelwegger (in a very Rock Hudson-Doris Day style of film) does not deserve all the hate it gets. Ewan plays playboy journalist Catcher Block, who tries to seduce and expose feminist Barbra Novak (Renee) by taking on a completely different identity. Campy? Hells yeah! But that’s why “Down with Love” is so fun. When everything finally ends up being good for everyone involved, our two leads share this zingy and cute love song just to plain and simply show off. I mean they were in “Moulin Rouge!” (2001) and “Chicago” (2002) so I guess the song wasn’t that pointless? Maybe.
“A Waltz for a Night” from “Before Sunset” (2004) – Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke share a hundred and one romantic moments in the three “Before” movies. But one of the best moments comes when Delpy’s Celine decides to sing Hawke’s Jesse a song she had written. To his surprise, the song is so charming (so is Delpy absolutely beautiful voice) and summarises what her character feels for him ultimately. The original composition by the actress herself sets tune to the third movie and tells us what the first two movies are all about. This is an absolutely perfect movie song. It can’t be used for anything else but the “Before” series, and rightfully so. It’s somewhat of their theme song to me.
“Forgiveness” from “Just Friends” (2005) – This is my silly choice from all the movie songs. One of my fondest memories of 2005 was watching Anna Farris as the over-the-top, whimsical, diva, pop star Samantha James in the comedy “Just Friends”. Along with her idiotic behaviour comes a pool of funny songs that go with her character hand-in-hand. Though “Forgiveness” seems really stupid and only meant for comic moments, it actual a theme that the main character Chris (Ryan Reynolds) follows all throughout the picture.
“Listen” from “Dreamgirls” (2006) – In a performance that was quite mediocre, Beyonce made “Dreamgirls” feel right when she sang original song “Listen” near the finale of the 2006 movie musical. After learning about the illegal doings that her husband Curtis (Jamie Foxx) has been been doing for years, Deena (Knowles) decides to put all her emotions of his terrible doings and the pressure she’s been feeling in her rocky marriage in one truly great cinematic moment. This is proof why Beyonce has touched people around the world with her music, claiming that she co-wrote the song (however Academy rules in 2006 left her out of the Oscar race). She’s still a winner however, because she is in top form here.
“So Close” from “Enchanted” (2007) – This song inspired this whole post. When re-watching the number from the hit 2007 Disney movie, I suddenly started reminiscing great dance moments from the 80s with powerful love ballads. This moment in “Enchanted” is the modern day version of that. John McLaughlin’s vocals are nearly flawless in his small cameo as the singer during the “ball” which happens near the film’s enchanting finale. Amy Adams heads the cast as the Disney Princess “gone-real” in a performance that sings most of the other very memorable numbers in the film. Check out “How Does He Know”, very cute and very reminiscent of old Disney 2D musical movie days.
“Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008) – When the “Pussycat Dolls” did their version of “Jai Ho” for the film’s soundtrack, the song exploded into popularity. Up to today, I’m almost 100% positive that most of you reading know how this song sounds. In true Bollywood fashion, the cast of the Best Picture winning “Slumdog Millionaire” perform the song in a train station, just when everything works out for our romantic leads. It’s a lot of fun to watch Dev Patel and Friedo Pinto go all Bollywood crazy at the end of such a serious film. Plus, this song is so great because just like the movie, it’s going to stay socially and artistically relevant not only in film but in every aspect of media around the world.
“Try” from “Fame” (2009) – A lot of people always disagree with my 2009 choice of this song. But I find something so great in the simplicity of Asher Brook’s vocals and of course, the writing of the song. Though the movie is absolutely horrible (I’m not even going to say watch it for this song cause it’s not worth it AT ALL), “Try” shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to original movie songs. It’s a bit teeny booper, but hey, it’s a guilty pleasure for me, and at least the singer is good, right?
“I See the Light” from “Tangeled” (2010) – I remember this one rainy night, two summers ago, I was sitting in bed watching “Tangled” on Star Movies. When this song came up, I felt so emotional and happy that the characters in Disney’s take on the Repunzal fairytale was somewhat confronting their feelings for one another. It’s not only a great song (Mandy Moore sings her career best in this film, and Zachary Levi performs amazingly) but the scene is truly visually stunning. This made lanterns and romance go hand in hand here in Manila when the film came out. 2010 was such a great year for the movies, and “Tangeled” was certainly up there as one of the year’s best, “I See the Light” was the best movie song that year and possibly the best Disney song that came out in quite some time.
“Life’s a Happy Song” from “The Muppets” (2011) – Back in 2008, Jason Siegel (of “How I Met Your Mother Fame”) really charmed me with “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, which became one of my top films of that particular year. “Sarah Marshall” was filled with such great comedic musical numbers that when I heard Siegel’s name attached to the new Muppets movie, I couldn’t be more excited. Though the music in the film does not compare to the 1979 movie (I die when I heard “The Rainbow Connection”), Siegel, Amy Adams and the rest of the Muppet gang gives us great live action musical entertainment. No wonder the Muppets are still marketable and pops up here in there in the timeline of film.
“Skyfall” from “Skyfall” (2012) – This was an absolute no brainer. Grammy winner Adele. James Bond. Music. The Movies. How can you go wrong? Adele proved that she could work in any genre with her Academy Award winning song “Skyfall”. And no nominee deserved to win in this category but here. The song is haunting and beautiful, which sets the tone to the film when it plays over the opening credits. Note to other movie lovers: don’t fight me on this but think it’s the best James Bond song since “Goldfinger”. I’m truly in love with this song. I’m not even kidding when I say that I’m listening to it right now on my iTunes.