It's a fusion of creative talents; actors, directors and film makers with music producers, songwriters and musicians. The theme song/soundtrack project makes motion picture come alive with the added enjoyment of sick beats and smooth grooves. In most cases, a clever music video is also born, where people like Ronan Keating actually look like he's hanging out in Notting Hill with Julia and Hugh.
These creative endeavours can pair seamlessly like, 'My heart will go on' and Titanic, 'Love is all around' and Four Weddings and a Funeral, or 'Love is in the air' and Strictly Ballroom. Even, Britney Spears' 'Ooh La La' was a perfect match for Smurfs 2, as they were both equally terrible.
In other cases we've seen a dramatic imbalance, like the box office smash, Die Another Day linked with that flop from Madonna who pretty much spoke over an annoying electronic beeping. If a three-year old composed the music for 'Die Another Day' with a toy piano that they got for Christmas, I would have been like, "sure".
However, what happens when it goes the other way? Hundreds of thousands of dollars invested into a movie, only to be outshone by Smashmouth with their number #1 music hit, All Star. It happened to Mystery Men, so what other films' legacy was eclipsed by its theme song?
Generally, hearing a cracker of a theme song suggests that the movie parallel is going to be equally as good. I mean, it happened with Elton John's 'Circle of Life' and The Lion King, why wouldn't it work for Beyonce's 'Check Up On It' and The Pink Panther? Oh that's right, because The Pink Panther sucked.
'Don't Let Go' - Set It Off
Admittedly, Set It Off (1996) is killer thriller with an all-star female cast who take the law into their own hands by robbing the city’s biggest banks by daring armed heists. But no matter how many times Jada Pinkett Smith resorts to getting “ugly up in here”, the girl power in this flick doesn’t even compare to the powerful dynamism produced by R&B group, En Vogue.
'Against All Odds' - Against All Odds
When an ageing football player takes a job as a private investigator for a nightclub owner who wants him to spy on his girlfriend, you know you’re in for some suspense. But despite how much Jeff Bridges goes behind James Woods’ back to make out with his ex-girlfriend in Against All Odds (1984), it’s never as climatic as Phil Collins’ vocal gymnastics pleading for someone to take a good look at him now.
'Cruisin' - Duets
She can act, she can convince the public that every gal needs a $300 ‘pelvic floor exercise tracker’, and in 2000, we found out Gwyneth Paltrow can also sing. While the mediocre road-trip comedy, Duets (2000) has a rambling and pointless dialogue which poorly links karaoke with adult issues, the harmonies are well paired for Huey Lewis and Paltrow’s own duet, which saw the connections of many slow dances in the millennium.
'Lady Marmalade' - Moulin Rouge
More like, theme song casts that are better than the movie.
Why bother watching Baz Lurhman's less impressive Moulin Rouge, when you can treat yourself to a line-up who has far more chemistry than Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor? While the ending of Moulin Rouge is as cliche as any romance set in the early 1900s, its theme song is completely unpredictable. For instance, Lil' Kim's rap comes in before - not at - the bridge which of course, is breaking the rules of pop songs. And then Christina comes storming in, looking like a scary clown and persuades audiences to keep watching YouTube clips of her early noughties music videos, rather than the film, Moulin Rouge.
'Kiss from a Rose' - Batman Forever
A Tim Burton comic book adaptation starring an amazing roll-call including, Nicole Kidman, Drew Barrymore, Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones and Val Kilmer is sure to be epic. That is until a little known British singer by the name of Seal, absolutely showed up Batman Forever’s (1995) dispute with between both, Two-Face and the Riddler and Batman with his own heroic efforts, ‘Kiss From a Rose’. Despite not knowing what a kiss from a rose even is, or last word in the line, “Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the…” (Bay? Lake?), it’s clear that after a series of Val Kilmers, Christian Bales and Ben Afflecks, Seal has always played the best Batman performance.
'If You Could Read My Mind' - 54
Maybe if Neve Campbell didn’t make a complete dog’s breakfast out of a New Jersey accent, supergroup, Stars on 54 - who had never actually worked together before 'If You Could Read My Mind' - wouldn’t have slayed the film they were commissioned to record the theme song for.
'Ghetto Superstar' - Bulworth
While Bulworth (1998) may have been nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 71st Academy Awards, Best Picture at the Golden Globes and won Best Screenplay at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, let me ask you this – when was the last time you played Bulworth to get the party started?
'I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing' - Armageddon
It’s widely known that Armageddon is just a flashy celebrity-driven version of Deep Impact who also considered asteroid collisions a threat in 1998. But its theme song by Aerosmith is as unique as Steven Tyler’s howls. Even years since its release, ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing’ still crawls from the woodwork, where drunk guests at weddings can belt out their frustration after they’ve fumbled and missed the bouquet. The film on the other hand, is just another forgotten disaster movie – pun intended.
'Pure Shores' - The Beach
The soft ambient electronica of All Saints’ ‘Pure Shores’ is an honourable mention in this list as the film The Beach (2000) has the acting talents of Tilda Swinton, who we all know gives a blockbuster some credit. But when it comes down to sitting through the jumbled assemblage of Alex Garland’s best-selling novel crammed into the length of a movie, or spinning your Saints & Sinners album, I know which play button I’m hitting.
'Because You Loved Me' - Up Close & Personal
Those interested in watching Up Close & Personal (1996) may as well sit through Celine Dion’s music video, ‘Because you loved me’. Touchstone Pictures gets majority of the screen time, anyway. Although this way it’s without the forced sexual tension between Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford, and the sweet voice of Queen Celine instead.
'Wild Wild West' - Wild, Wild West
Possibly the most misrepresenting theme song of all time. Will Smith’s 'Wild Wild West' is an overwhelming explosion of activities; from Dru Hill’s harrowing chorus, to the bed of gunshots and clip-clop sound effects, to Will’s narcissistic lyrics. The music video has Stevie Wonder in it, for crying out loud! This excitement is not an accurate reflection of the western that we were all encouraged to buy cinema tickets to in '99. The film should be more accurately titled Mild, Mild West, as watching Kenneth Branagh in dressed in steam punk is about as radical as the whole thing gets.
As Bruce Willis took out a Razzie for worst actor in Armageddon and the same year, Aereosmith were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, perhaps the theme song boom ended because of all the false advertising complaints?
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