Quentin Tarantino has an uncanny knack for pairing music with his movies. (Think: Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle With You” as Mr. Blonde cuts off the ear of an LAPD officer in Reservoir Dogs or Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” while Uma Thurman and John Travolta bust a move in Pulp Fiction.) The director also just released the Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood soundtrack, as well as a full playlist on Spotify’s “Film & T.V. Favorites” of his favorite uses of music in his movies. In honor of these releases, let’s look at some other memorable moments in music and film.
American Psycho (2000)
“Hip to Be Square” by Huey Lewis and the News
“You like Huey Lewis and the News?” Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) asks Paul Allen (Jared Leto). As Bateman explains the track’s understated genius, he dons a tarp-like coat and grabs a shiny axe from his closet. “It’s not just about the pleasures of conformity and the importance of trends; it’s also a personal statement about the band itself,” Bateman calls out to Allen and then proceeds to murder the hell out of him as the song blares on the stereo. It’s kind of funny, pretty insane and entirely memorable. Try getting a reservation at Dosia now.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
“The End” by The Doors
The Doors are inherently cinematic. But pair the mystic and morbid undercurrent of “The End” with Francis Coppola’s Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now, and you’ve got a scene so unforgivably intense it goes beyond cinema and taps into the rawness of the human psyche. Martin Sheen’s Captain Benjamin L Willard waits in isolation in his hotel room as the song plays, half-naked, pondering the war and his life without combat. The scene was filmed on Sheen’s 36th birthday. His drunkenness is no act, and when he breaks a mirror and bleeds profusely, that’s neither prop nor squib.
“The Times They Are a-Changing” by Bob Dylan
There is so much meat to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s graphic novel masterpiece Watchmen, it’s hard to capture it in just a few short hours, but Zach Snyder’s adaptation uses the Dylan classic to brilliantly emphasize the changing politics and social zeitgeist regarding masked vigilantes. From the Minutemen and Watchmen heyday and involvement in world politics to murders and insane asylums to the outlawing of supers, the opening sequence shows a lot, all the while Dylan’s crooning acts as a prophecy for our “heroes” who have fallen from grace.
Other notable tracks:
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
“Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss
The Big Lebowski (1998)
“Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” by The First Edition
“Layla” by Derek and the Dominoes