Movies made in the 1990s were either despicable and terrible (still not as bad as 80s movies), or were riveting and spectacular.
The new decade of the post-80s euro-trash and exorcist obsessed thriller craze would promise to turn out content that was better put together. The quality of the cinematic experience was about to go way up!
Right along with that, music in general was obviously in a spike of brand new adolescent awakening. Good movies were about to be made great, simply because the power of the modern soundtrack!
From Roy Orbinson’s “Pretty Woman” to teaching a new generation about true classic rock and roll via “Forrest Gump,” movies that were produced in the 90s largely became instant classics.
Actors were actually trying to act in a more organic way, and the new open ended perspectives being explored in music collaborated brilliantly with film.
A few of the authors here at B.G.M. and myself will now reflect back on that golden decade of the silver screen, and bring to light and memory our favorite soundtracks from those unforgettable films!
Aimee Mann – “Wise Up” from Magnolia – 1999 New Line Cinema
One of the most significant and truly impacting moments is all of movies, for me, is the scene in Magnolia where all the characters are actually singing “Wise Up.” For director Paul Thomas Anderson to take that type of risk and turn this drama into a semi-musical was actually brilliant. It turned out too well and made the entire movie into an engrossing experience of film and song.
This movie has perhaps the best cast of all movies from the late 90s, and to see their vulnerability in this scene is stunning. The song by Aimee Mann is absolutely perfect for the movie. In fact, anything else would fall short!
It still gives me chills to watch it, 18 years later, and I think that few things in pop culture give the nostalgic vibes the way this song and movie do. It’s always a trip!
To see Tom Cruise in a role that takes him from an egotistical alpha male woman conquistador, holding a seminar to teach (or yell at) others how to conquer woman to bed; then to witness the sheer transformation of him coming to grips with his dying father…
John C. Reilly overcoming his fears, Julianne Moore relenting, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the quiet earthly savior. We can’t forget William H. Macy either! Classic.
Script writing this thick needs a vital soundtrack, and saying goodbye to 1999 in this way could not have been more fitting and perfect.
- Jeremy Erickson
Mazzy Star – “Fade Into You” from Starship Troopers – 1997 Touchstone Pictures
Is there anything more 90’s than that corny fight scene in Starship Troopers between Rico (Casper Van Dien) and Zander (Patrick Muldoon), while MTV Buzzclip “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star coyly plays in the background? Like Zander’s hair (which looks like a someone frisbeed him a toupee that he caught with his head), Verhoeven’s choice of using that song during this scene is a head scratcher. I remember being so excited to hear that song in a movie because in 1997, So Tonight That I Might See was in heavy rotation in my 3 disc CD player and still often makes the rounds on my playlists now. Just an FYI, 2017 Casper Van Dien, with short hair and scruff can still get it.
I also wanted to mention my favorite movie soundtrack of the 90’s and of all time from a super low budget film called Half-Cocked.
It is about a girl and her friends that steal her brother’s van full of musical equipment and tour as a makeshift band called Truckstop. I have not seen the film in years, but the soundtrack is loaded with some of my favorite bands- Unwound, Rodan, Helium, Polvo, etc. and some other really good tracks from similar art rock/noise rock bands of that era; Slant 6, Crain, Kicking Giant, The Grifters, etc. I highly recommend it!
Folk Implosion – “Natural One” from KIDS – 1995 Miramax
If you read my “The Song That Got Away” article, you already know how monumental it was for me for my family to get digital satellite TV when I was a kid. I discovered so much music through that thing as well as movies.
On Halloween night of 1995, I stayed up by myself to watch a Friday The 13th marathon on USA.
With all that gore and horror there was no way I was sleeping. After the last movie, I thought I’d watch something to cleanse my pallet before attempting to call it a night. A movie was about to start on IFC. It was listed as a ‘teen drama’ titled Kids. Little did I know, that movie was far more graphic, depressing and bleak than the TV edit of Jason Voorheese could ever be,
At 13 years old, I think I wasn’t ready for such a film.
It was a like a realistic look of these non-Hollywood teenagers doing things I would never do at that age. Stealing booze, manipulating young girls into sex, beating another kid with a skateboard, it was horrible! I couldn’t get it out of my mind! I think it may have warped my perception of the world.
It was around that time Folk Implosion released “Natural One” as single from the soundtrack. My local rock station played it in heavy rotation so I heard it just about every day. Being it was from the soundtrack, I couldn’t help but to think of the horrible imagery of the movie every time I heard it.
The sleepy non-chalant vocals, droning drum pattern, and ominous guitar riff of “Natural One” fit the movie perfectly.
It’s full of this weird tension where the trashiest of things could happen at any given moment. I actually really liked the song and as gross as the movie was, it’s correlation made it just that much more interesting to me. Normally soundtrack cuts are tacked on money grabs from studios, but every now and then there is a perfect marriage between song and film. This song and movie was one of those times, and I’m not sure I could think of one without the other….for better or worse.
- Aaron Cooper
Nine Inch Nails – “Dead Souls” (Joy Division Cover) from The Crow – Miramax 1994
Here is how fucking lame I am, I had no idea that “Dead Souls” was a cover until I stumbled upon the movie Control, the bio pic based on Joy Divsion and their front man Ian Curtis. The only thing I knew about Joy Division was that they did “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” So I am sitting there watching Control and at one point during the movie they start playing “Dead Souls” and I’m like “Wait, why the fuck are they playing a NIN songs!” Then of course I realized what was going on and that NIN covered that shit for, The Crow.
I was obsessed with The Crow when it came out. I watched it non-stop and this was around the same time I was getting into “rock” type music so the soundtrack was the end all be all during 1994 / 1995.
So many dope jams that I could pick from The Crow Soundtrack: the song I constantly have stuck in my head, Helmet’s “Milktoast,” Stone Temple Pilots “Big Empty” both which ended up the bands actual albums at the time, My Life with the Thrill Kill Cult’s jam, Machines of Loving Grace’s jam. Rage Against the Machine’s “Drakness.” The whole soundtrack is dope.
However, the song that I should be taking about off the The Crow Soundtrack is the Cure’s “Burn.”
“Burn” is easily the best song originally written for the movie and encapsulates the vibe of The Crow perfectly, but I don’t really have anything interesting to say about “Burn”except for that it’s a dope jam, so I went with Nine Inch Nail’s Cover of “Dead Souls”.
Honorary mention: Radiohead “Talk Show Host” from Romeo + Juliet – 20th Century Fox 1996
This Canadian grew up in the great state of Montana, so naturally punk and hardcore music served as a proper soundtrack to his early life. Now living in the arctic tundra he enjoys vinyl collecting, bearding, Canadian brew and long walks on the beach he makes up in his mind.