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Music

Five great songs from terrible films

A terrible film is never worth sitting through, so Far Out has saved you the trouble and we’ve decided to sit through the dreadful films to see what was good about them, and all we can say in their favour is the rock song written to accompany them. So, take our advice, skip the film, and buy the soundtrack.

We guarantee that you will think much higher of Paul McCartney when you hear ‘No More Lonely Nights’ outside the realm of the film rather than in it, just as I guarantee you’ll think much better of Coyote Ugly if you simply listen to the song.

If you choose to ignore the carefully considered advice, do so on your own peril, and at your own risk. Because be warned, Batman Forever is a really bad movie, and Dirty Dancing is even worse. That they should be on perennial re-watches is likely more of a social commentary than a statement of their virtue.

But the five songs we have chosen are stellar, and well worth a listen, and a re-listen. We have chosen the order, but feel free to mix up the playlist, and play them in a style that fits your truth. Enjoy

Five great songs from terrible films:

5. ‘Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me’ (from Batman Forever)

There’s a case to be made for Batman & Robin, but Batman Forever is beyond redemption. From the arch mugging from Tommy Lee Jones to the badly-filmed action set pieces that tied together by the flimsiest of stories, it’s the worst of the Batman stories by a wide margin. At least Batman & Robin is enjoyably camp, and we have those batnipples to enjoy, preferably after a late night spent imbibing and thriving.

And then there’s U2’s blasting number, featuring a thundering opening riff from Welsh guitarist The Edge. The track, as ever, is sung by Bono and shows more of his smouldering qualities than the pious qualities he has spent a life espousing. As such, though it lacks that lyrical bite of their eighties work, the song showcases all of the extraordinary elements that made this latter period so exciting.

4. ‘Can’t Fight The Moonlight’ (from Coyote Ugly)

I bet you didn’t this song stemmed from a film. If you can’t remember the film, I wouldn’t worry, it’s pretty unmemorable, which is one of the greatest sins a filmmaker can make. The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers is memorable because of its jaw dropping effects that stand up 20 or so years later. The Ring is memorable because it stems from a place of genuine horror and threat. The Room is memorable, because it’s The Room. Coyote Ugly is none of those things, masquerading in a sea of blandness and banality.

LeAnne Rimes captured the essence of the script – which could have been much better than the finished result – capturing a smokey vocal that stems from the bars her and the characters are supposed to represent. And in its own way, the song stands out from the rest of the pack by creating a stormy vocal counterpoint that works both within and without the form of the film in question.

3. ‘A Groovy Kind of Love’ (from Buster)

This tune is interesting, because it’s actually a cover song. “We were talking about ‘Groovy’ being the new word,” Toni Wine recalled. “The only song we knew of was 59th Street Bridge Song, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. You know, ‘Feelin’ groovy.’ And we knew we wanted to write a song with that word in it. Because we knew it was the happening word, and we wanted to jump on that. Carole came up with ‘Groovy kinda… groovy kinda… groovy…’ and we’re all just saying, ‘Kinda groovy, kinda groovy, kinda…’ I don’t exactly know who came up with ‘Love,’ but it was ‘Groovy kind of love.’ And we did it.”

The song was done over by Phil Collins, then enjoying something of a renaissance as a drummer, songwriter and actor. He should have crossed the last one from the list, because Buster is one of the great embarrassments of the British romantic comedy industry, but the tune is soulful, demonstrating a lingering and yearning that made the song stick out.

2. ‘No More Lonely Nights’ (from Give My Regards to Broadstreet)

When director Richard Lester was asked to critique The Beatles as individual actors during the making of A Hard Day’s Night, he said that he felt George Harrison was a natural, John Lennon had presence that merited him a natural for How I Won The War, and Ringo Starr was the one best suited to bringing the emotion to the forefront.

Paul? Well, “Paul tried too hard,” Lester said sweetly. Sadly, the bassist didn’t pick up on the coded language, or the fact that some of his scenes were cut from A Hard Day’s Night and Help!. Indeed, he went one further in 1984, writing and directing a feature that was supposed to reinvent himself to the masses. It didn’t, and neither did followup album Press to Play.
But the film does boast a stunning soundtrack, including the yearning and searching of ‘No More Lonely Nights’, bolstered by David Gilmour’s stunning guitar performance. McCartney has struggled to match the vocal performance since.

1. Hungry Eyes (from Dirty Dancing)

Dirty Dancing is awful. Bloddcurlingly, stomach-churningly awful. It’s a sexist, bland, blase drama that attempts to fool viewers into thinking the piece stands as something deeper and more meaningful in its resolve. Not even the presence of Patrick Swayze and those impressive biceps can salvage this film, creating a sense of instability in the mind of the viewer, who are attempting to create something more refined in its approach to achieve sincerity. Instead, it’s a dull masquerade, tinged by a vaguely pornographic plotline.

And then there’s ‘Hungry Eyes’, sung by a committed performance by Eric Carmen, who brings a certain blinding pathos to the mix. The soundtrack as a whole is quite stellar, showing tracks from the 1960s to the 1980s. If I were you, I’d skip the film entirely, and buy the soundtrack. Apparently, a sequel to Dirty Dancing is in the works- I’d skip that one too.