Movie Soundtracks: The Roundup

Check out all of the posts for our Movie Soundtracks Theme Week here.

The Soundtrack for ‘That Thing You Do!’ Withstands the Test of Time

That Thing You Do movie poster

‘That Thing You Do!’ with its sly humor, strong performances and ultimately heartwarming romance makes for satisfying viewing. It’s a meditation on the tension between art and commerce that manages to acknowledge what can be good about temporary fame. It’s also a squeaky-clean antidote to sordid, drug-filled “Behind-the Music”-type stories, both fictional and real.

Seed & Spark: The Bad Mamas of Contemporary Cinema

Badass mom warrior Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

This is not an article that will chronicle empty mother characters. This is for all the badass mamas out there—the honest mother roles that women have nailed. Hopefully this will present a case for why we need a million more. Here’s to the female characters who have outlived the digital revolution and will continue to. Characters that live with us and remain faulted heroes. And here’s to the women who made them so electric.

Death by Stereo: Innocence Lost in ‘The Lost Boys’

The vampire teens

‘The Lost Boys’ is a classic 1980s vampire flick directed by Joel Schumacher. It is as famous for its soundtrack as it is for its content. The entire film in fact is exemplified in its main theme–”Cry Little Sister,” by G Tom Mac–from the typical horror themed sections to its classic 80s rock moments down to its choral moments. These sections sum up the film almost perfectly.

Three Reasons Why ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is Not a Feminist Film


I dreaded seeing this trite sexism applied to Saldana’s character, Gamora. To be fair, while she does require saving by male characters on multiple occasions, Gamora has moderately strong agency throughout, and her character is a load-bearing beam rather than a Trinity-esque distraction. If only her last lines could’ve been less deferential.

Girls Just Wanna … Take Control of Their Own Lives

Janey and Lynne bond over Dance TV

I’m a lot older now and I still squeal with excitement when this film comes on. When it showed up on Netflix my daughter and I watched the movie over a dozen times. We would take “supreme silly” dance breaks whenever the music would play and when the Netflix purge occurred we found a DVD copy (OK we got two in case one got scratched or lost) of our very own on Amazon so that we could continue this tradition at will.

Watch Me Shine: ‘Legally Blonde’ and My Path to Girl Power


My attachment wasn’t about Elle Woods or embracing hallmarks of traditional femininity that get belittled by western mainstream society (that would come later). I was all about lyrics like, “That’s not the way/ Nice girls behave/ Oh yeah I know/ You told me/ It’s not your choice/ I have a voice/ I guess you just don’t hear me.” It spoke to me on a spiritual level.

‘Love Jones’: The Soundtrack of the Neo-Soul Generation

Love Jones movie poster

‘Love Jones’ does more than captures a moment in time in the late 90s. It creates the point when neo-soul established itself as the music of all of us with artistic inclinations, those of us leaving fantasies of teenage love affairs behind for a more realistic image of making a relationship work. And, yes, for some of us it brought about a sexual awakening that helped us accept that sex could exist outside a relationship if it’s truly wanted that way.

Love It or Hate It, Emotions Served Raw in the Music of ‘Les Misérables’


Pitchy, breathy, raspy, screamy – all the notes are there as A-list Hollywood actors hurl themselves at the camera, relishing the chance to look and sound as ugly as their quasi-operatic characters feel. The soundtrack is probably not going to go on your iPod.

That said, there’s something amazing about the pitchiness / raspiness / screaminess / ugliness that serves to draw us in.

What’s in a Soundtrack? The Sweet Sounds of ‘Romeo + Juliet’

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet: Music From the Motion Picture (this CD was--OK is--one of my greatest treasures)

Zeffirelli’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is one told by the older generation. Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo + Juliet’ is one told by “unfaded” youth. When Des’ree was singing “Kissing You” as Romeo and Juliet kiss (and oh, how they kiss), she is singing with deep longing and pain. When Glen Weston sings “What is a Youth?” he sings at Romeo and Juliet, about how youth–and female virginity–fades.

The Sounds of Change and Confusion in ‘The Graduate’


Mike Nichol’s ‘The Graduate’ has one of the most popular soundtracks of all-time. The songs reveal the dynamics of a character, theme, and a moment without the use of dialogue or a backstory, but simply through the lyrics of a Simon and Garfunkel song.

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:’ My Dear Forgotten Cornelia


‘Dawn’ lacks strong female characters. How much more interesting the story could have been if Ellie had taken the lead in negotiating with Caesar and restoring the dam! Likewise, a fighting female ape could have provided interesting contrast while either avoiding or spotlighting appearance-based tropes about violent women.