Great soundtracks things of rarity

While Zack Braff’s movies maybe hit or miss the sound tracks give music lovers something to enjoy about them. | Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Great soundtracks are one of the hardest things to find in movies. Most great movies have an excellent musical score, but finding a movie with a soundtrack you actually want to listen to after the movie’s over is a different story. With that in mind, I’ve chosen a few excellent movies with amazing soundtracks — and a few movies that were so terrible their soundtrack was the only good quality.

The best soundtrack of all time has got to be from The Graduate. Simon & Garfunkel deliver their best songs over and over, and it’s one of the best albums of all time, soundtrack or not. The only thing better is actually watching The Graduate.

Coming in close second is Garden State. Zach Braff may be hit-or-miss when it comes to his movies, but his soundtrack selection is impeccable. It’s like a sad teenager spent a year hand-picking each song on the album; it flows perfectly from song to song and is the perfect compliment to having your heart broken. Or when you just want to listen to The Shins and think about Natalie Portman.

Almost any movie based on classic rock has a great soundtrack, and Almost Famous is no exception. The songs are all from famous artists, but most of them are lesser-known songs. This album is like 93.7 started playing classic rock that people haven’t had memorized for the past two decades.

Coming in on the opposite end of the spectrum is The Last Kiss.  This is the reason why Zach Braff is hit-or-miss. Imagine everything that went right with Garden State and then take it all away. That’s The Last Kiss. The only thing that went right with this movie was, of course, the soundtrack, and even then it wasn’t as good as Garden State’s; it was the only thing that made this painful “comedy” (the term is used loosely) watchable. Well, that and Rachel Bilson.

If it wasn’t obvious by just watching it, Twilight was an abomination from a deep corner of hell. By some miracle, though, its soundtrack was actually quite good. It’s unfortunate that Muse was actually affiliated with this movie (the baseball scene, of all things) but the fact remains: Twilight’s soundtrack is one of the few true guilty pleasures on my iPod.

For most movies, soundtracks are a second thought, something that doesn’t get as much attention as the stars on the screen or the director in the chair. With the right attention to detail, though, a good soundtrack can make a decent movie good or save a terrible one.

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  • Thank you! It is a total travesty that Muse had to be involved with the film, I mean I can understand their situation (the author is a big Muse fan and its always good to please the fans, big or small.) But yeah all in all it was a double-edged sword. Yeah it got them some new fans, some of which actually listened to the band outside of Supermassive Black Hole and I Belong to You. But on the other hand it also got them a bunch of new “fans” who only love them for those songs and try to play it up to look hip.

  • Garden State is a favorite of mine and I completely agree with you on The Last Kiss which had some good performances, but overall was a mess of uncomfortable emotions. One of the reasons I thought Up in the Air was excellent was the soundtrack. Jason Reitman’s previous movies either hit a little light on the soundtrack (Thank you for Smoking) or got a bit too”indie” for their own good, (Juno was irritatingly hipster at times, although charming). But Up in the Air was just right. Elliott Smith’s “Angel in the Snow” was used perfectly, “Help Yourself” by Sad Brad Smith was hauntingly beautiful, it really captured the current state of the American condition.

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