Cinematic sugar plums: movie songs and the visions they inspire

I’m a visual person. I think in images. I can’t really help it. It just happens. I’ll be sitting at my desk or driving around town and something I hear will cause an image to pop into my head. Usually, such images spring to life when I hear a song from a movie soundtrack. For example, Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” causes Ally Sheedy and the Breakfast Club gang to appear in my brain. Peter Gabriel‘s “In Your Eyes” causes visions of John Cusack‘s boom-box serenade for Ione Skye in Say Anything to dance through my memory. I try hard to avoid Celine Dion, but at least when I hear “My Heart Will Go On,” Kate Winslet appears to make it all better.

The other day, while driving aimlessly about town, I was listening to one of my homemade CDs when Erasure’s “A Little Respect” started playing. As always, visions of Jordana Brewster dancing with a pool cue overwhelmed my senses.

I really should keep that CD out of my car. Such images tend to make driving hazardous. In any event, it got me thinking about other tunes from lesbian-themed flicks that cause pleasant images to wander through my mind. I decided to see if I could create a playlist to keep my overactive imagination occupied for a while. Here are a few of the options I came up with. I’m hoping you can help me round out the list. I promise to keep these tunes out of the car for safe driving purposes.

1. “Mama I’m Strange” by Melissa Etheridge and “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole from If These Walls Could Talk 2

I can’t imagine this will be the only Melissa Etheridge song on my list when all is said and done, but it is one of my favorites. And it’s the perfect reminder of Chloe Sevigny and Michelle Williams. As for Natalie Cole, every time I hear this I not only see images of Ellen Degeneres and Sharon Stone dancing around the bathroom at the end of the movie, but I also find I have an uncontrollable urge to begin dancing like Ellen. She looks much better doing it than I do. If my cats could laugh out loud, they would.

2. “Happy Together” by the Turtles from Imagine Me and You

Yes, this movie falls victim to all the pitfalls of “mainstream” romantic comedies, but that’s part of the reason I love it so much. It gave us a happy ending. Girl got girl. Am I wrong to be so infinitely happy about that? Here’s the trailer as a little reminder of how much fun movies can be when we don’t overanalyze them.

3. “Sexy” by West End Girls and “Julie Christie” by Lorraine Bowen from Better Than Chocolate



Again, I’m a sucker for happy endings. While this movie can be a tad over the top, it was also the first lesbian movie I saw in an actual movie theater. For that reason alone, it will likely always be one of my favorites. And images of the gang lip-synching to these two tunes are definitely high on my list of things to see over and over again.

4. “A Little Respect” by Erasure from D.E.B.S.

Since I’ve already mentioned this, I’ll just be quiet now and let you watch it for yourself.

I’ve got a pool table in my basement accompanied by the required cues. Wonder if I can get Jordana to re-create this scene for me.

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