Earlier this week IndieWire did a critics survey of “What’s your favorite example of a great soundtrack to a not-so-great film?” Some of their choices were k.d. lang‘s music for Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and Cruel Intentions. This week I challenged our writers (and you all) to tell me what lesbian film might fall into the same category: Terrible movie, great soundtrack. This proved a little difficult for some, as Elaine Atwell noted, “If this were ‘great lesbian movie, terrible soundtrack’ I could write a fucking book on it.”
So I opened it up: The lesbian movie vs. the soundtrack. Which ones just don’t match up in awesomeness?
Heather Hogan: “…talking, laughing, loving, breathing, fighting, fucking, crying, drinking, riding, winning, losing, cheating, kissing, thinking, dreaming…”
Chloe: Lost And Delirious. I can’t with that movie. The hawk flying as Piper jumps is just the cheesiest thing I’ve ever seen. How they made a movie with two gorgeous young lesbians virtually unbearable is beyond me. But the music wasn’t bad.
Emily Hartl: They were by no means well-made or anything so I guess by definition that would make them “bad” and we definitely know that the music in Better Than Chocolate isn’t what we would call “amazing” but it’s good, you know? I’m going to go listen to Puddle Dive now, OK?
Elaine Atwell: In terms of movies I love versus soundtracks I loathe, I really have a hard time picking just one. I mean, Better Than Chocolate is so earnest and Ani DiFranco heavy, but it’s a product of its time. I positively CRINGE at the soundtrack of I Can’t Think Straight, which is deeply lame blotch in an otherwise cool movie. But I think Room In Rome’s soundtrack may take the cake for being frankly baffling. I watch it and am full of questions, such as: Why does the opera music suddenly get loud and intense when they start touching each other’s butts? Is it to frighten us? And how many times, HOW MANY TIMES, do we need to hear “Loving Strangers?” Eleventy billion, that’s how many.
Ali Davis: Oh, God. Salmonberries. Am I the only one who saw that, or did we all see Salmonberries? k.d. lang wrote a hauntingly beautiful theme song, but the movie was… Actually, I don’t know if the movie was good or not because all I remember is spending 13 hours watching k.d. pull another woman on a sled. Plus they called it Salmonberries, for chrissakes.
Valerie Ann: The movie Wild Things was arguably a terrible movie (I am shallow and will never totally discount a movie in which Neve Campbell and Denise Richards make out) but the score was actually pretty great and the songs they used were so deliciously ’90s (Third Eye Blind AND Smash Mouth! On the same soundtrack!).
Jill Guccini: I grew up on the soundtrack for The Big Chill before I even knew what the movie was about. My original copy of the CD is so scratched it doesn’t play anymore. While other kids were listening to Nine Inch Nails and Korn, I was a super cool teen wrapped up in Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and The Rascals. It was such a stellar soundtrack (more perfect, in terms of music from that time, than the often-touted Forrest Gump soundtrack, in my opinion) that they even came out with a second volume, which was still good but not as perfect as the first. Anyway, when I finally watched the movie in high school, I was like, “So this is a bunch of old people having sex with each other and being sad. And like, that’s it. Whoopee.”
I know it’s considered a classic film or whatever, so don’t hate on me too much—I admit that I was in high school, and at the time thought almost everything was stupid. Except for The Big Chill soundtrack. Which remains one of the most perfect things ever created on Earth. And I know it’s not a lesbian movie, but I am including it because Meg Tilly was in it, and Meg Tilly was in Bomb Girls, and Meg Tilly is life.
Trish Bendix: I had high hopes for Itty Bitty Titty Committee but found the film a little flat. The music, however, was everything I could have asked for: Le Tigre, Peaches, Sleater-Kinney, Team Dresch, Heavens to Betsy! Jamie Babbit knows how to make an amazing soundtrack. At least with But I’m a Cheerleader the story was as good as the songs were.
Your turn! Got a movie you despise with a soundtrack you love, or vice versa?