The Screening Room’s “Top 10 Songs from the Movies”

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Remember when wasting time at work used to take some effort? You couldn’t really

read, and personal calls always required discretion. But now when, say, one

has just gotten back from vacation and really doesn’t want to work, it’s possible

to stay busy with internet "research" and, perhaps, while away the

day reading random top 10 lists.

Anyone doing that yesterday might have stumbled across CNN Screening Room’s

list of the Top

10 Songs from the Movies
. The list is kind of fun because they identified

10 movie genres and selected a song for each – except for the Disney category,

which had two songs. Of the 11 songs selected, three-and-a-half were sung by

women, which is not too bad a ratio as these types of lists go. As it turns

out, I only vehemently disagree with one of the winners. But that won’t stop

me from imagining what a list where there were actually more women than men

represented would look like.

1. Musical

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" – Wizard of Oz, Judy

Garland

There’s no real arguing with this one. Although I would argue that The

Sound of Music
is the best movie musical, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

is possibly the best movie musical number ever.

2. Romance

"As Time Goes By" – Casablanca, Dooley Wilson

The article calls this choice, "[a]rguably the greatest pairing of song

and movie" and I cannot really argue with that. But I’ll nominate a runner-up:

"The Way We Were" from The Way We Were. It’s pure schmaltz,

but bombastic ballads like this or the "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know

Where You’re Going To)" characterized mid-1970s romances and deserve some

props.

3. Disney

"When you wish upon a star" – Pinocchio, Cliff Edwards,

and "Beauty and the Beast" – Beauty and the Beast,

Angela Lansbury

"Beauty and the Beast" is not the best song from the movie. (Consider

"Belle": the heroine is singing about how much she loves to read!)

But "Beauty and the Beast" is the title track, and the movie is not

only the best of the new Disney musicals, but it’s the last Disney movie to

feature music and lyrics exclusively from the brilliant Alan

Menken
and the late Howard

Ashman
. Ergo, I won’t challenge this one either. (And, of course, the Pinocchio

pick is a classic.)

4. Action/Adventure

"I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing" – Armageddon, Aerosmith

"Nobody Does It Better" – The Spy Who Loved Me, Carly

Simon

Wrong, wrong, wrong. I like Aerosmith and "I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing"

is a perfectly fine song, but there is only one possible choice here –

"Nobody Does It Better" from The Spy Who Loved Me. This is

so obvious to me that I cannot even come up with an explanation for why this

is the only choice. It’s just a truth of the universe.

5. Comedy

"Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend" – Gentlemen Prefer

Blondes
, Marilyn Monroe

No argument here.

6. Roadtrip

"Born to Be Wild" – Easy Rider, Steppenwolf

This is a tough one. I cannot dismiss this selection because "Born to

Be Wild" is the definitive roadtrip song. It’s so iconic that it’s almost

a cliché to use it in a roadtrip context.

But there’s an awfully close runner-up: Marianne Faithfull‘s

"The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" from Thelma and Louise. The lyrics

(which were originally a Shel Silverstein poem!) perfectly convey the desperation

the title characters have escaped and the limited options they have going forward.

And the haunting melody perfectly fits the tone of the movie.

While I couldn’t find a video of the song from the movie, check out this video

and think about the lyrics in relation to the movie.

Kind of eerie, isn’t it?

And this is an interesting

analysis
of why "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" is a lousy poem, but

a great song.

7. Indie

"Mad World" – Donnie Darko, Gary Jules and Michael

Andrews


"Travelin’ Thru" – Transamerica, Dolly Parton

The Donnie Darko song is perfectly good, but I’m overruling it in

favor of "Travelin’ Thru" from Transamerica. Dolly Parton

was robbed of the Academy Award for this song, and I still have not recovered

from the travesty. (She’s probably doing OK, though.)

8. Romantic Comedy

"(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life – Dirty Dancing, Bill Medley

and Jennifer Warnes

I don’t know that I would pick this, but I’ll let it go.

9. Children’s Movie

"Rainbow Connection" – The Muppet Movie, Kermit the

Frog (Jim Henson)

Perfect. Just thinking of the song makes me a little wistful and sentimental.

Click here

to see the video clip from the movie.

10. Biopic

"Lose Yourself" – 8 Mile, Eminem

"Coal Miner’s Daughter" – Coal Miner’s Daughter, Sissy

Spacek

"Lose Yourself" has its strengths, but I would put it no higher than

third in a list of biopic songs. ("The Rose" would be second.) The

Coal Miner’s Daughter
soundtrack is so good that I listen to it more than

I listen to the original songs, and the title track manages to sum up Loretta

Lynn in about three minutes.

What have I forgotten? How would you edit the list?

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