11 More Awesome Songs from Geek-Movie Soundtracks

By Rob Bricken in Daily Lists, Movies
Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 5:06 am
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By Sean T. Collins

If there's one thing we nerds like more than multi-disc special edition DVDs and girls who dress like She-Ra for Halloween (well, I did say "if"), it would have to be sequels. For geeks, there simply can't be too much of a good thing... at least until the third movie ruins everything, but then there's the reboot to look forward to, am I right? Point is, we've already kicked the crap out of 11 terrible songs from geeky movies, then sang the praises of 11 terrific ones. But there's a lot of nerdy films out there, and a lot of kick-ass music in 'em, so we've dug back into the bin to pull out 11 more head-banging, booty-shaking, fist-pumping classics from our favorite flicks. Hey, if they can make two Hobbit movies, we can do this!

11) John Williams' "Lapti Nek" from Return of the Jedi

He yanked the Ewok song and CGI'd Hayden Christensen into the finale, but to those of us who enjoy a ride on the Mothership as much as the Millennium Falcon, the worst thing George Lucas did to Jedi in the Special Edition was fake the funk. The bearded one got John Williams to replace "Lapti Nek" -- the tight little dance-funk number performed by Sy Snootles and the Max Rebo Band, the title of which apparently (and awesomely) translates to "Work It Out" -- with some goofy nonsense involving what looked like Fraggle Rock refugees. Goddammit, George and John, if it ain't broke don't fix it! And any song that fills the floor with six-breasted, head-tailed, mesh-clad alien exotic dancers is most definitely not broke. One galaxy under a groove.

10) Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" from Real Genius

Poor William Atherton. The alpha tool of '80s movies, this weaselly character actor simply was not allowed to finish a film without getting pwned by either an enraged Bonnie Bedelia (Die Hard, Die Hard II: Die Harder) or a comically large quantity of foodstuffs (Ghostbusters, Real Genius). In this case, his slimy, greedy, warmongering Professor Jerry Hathaway attempts to dupe Val Kilmer's rebellious genius Chris Knight -- a smartass-scientist icon on par with Dr. Peter Venkman -- into developing laser technology that can be used as a weapon by the government. Instead, Chris and his cronies rig it to turn Hathaway's house into the world's largest Jiffy Popper. What better music to play as we bask in the triumph of humor, humanism, and low-cal snack food over Reagan-era military madness than Tears for Fears' swirlingly joyous, lyrically apt "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"? Watching the neighborhood kids frolic through shoulder-high heaps of popcorn while uplifting alt-rock plays in the background almost makes you feel like you're watching a time-displaced Michel Gondry movie. Bonus: Underrated nerd crush object Michelle "Jordan" Meyrink, playing the kind of quirky yet yummy mousy-brunette role that fans of everyone from Selma Blair to Parker Posey to Jena Malone to Zooey Deschanel will no doubt appreciate.

9) Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around" from Dawn of the Dead

The existence of Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead makes my life measurably more difficult. Without this 2004 remake of George A. Romero's classic tale of zombies, consumerism, and exploding heads, I could say without fear of contradiction that all remakes of seminal '70s horror films suck eggs. Unfortunately, this sucker is smart, beautifully filmed, and quite frightening, thanks in no small part to the scariest opening ten minutes of a movie this side of Saving Private Ryan. Even before the credits roll, we see society collapse before our very eyes as the nurse played by Sarah Polley goes to sleep in a more-or-less normal world and wakes up to discover the dead walking the earth, neighbors getting run over, gas stations exploding, husbands getting eaten by 8-year-olds, and all manner of other end-of-world stuff going down. It's a terrifying sequence, capped off by one of the best opening-credit montages of all time: an utterly convincing assembly of found footage and fake news depicting a world falling apart, set to the sepulchral tones of an aged Johnny Cash at his Book of Revelation-quoting best. "The hairs on your arm will stand up," says the Man in Black at one point during "The Man Comes Around" -- and watching this chilling apocalyptic nightmare unfold, damn if he isn't right.

8) Jamiroquai's "Canned Heat" from Napoleon Dynamite
Napoleon Dynamite Dance Scene

Napoleon Dynamite
had been out on DVD for months by the time I finally got around to watching it. By then I'd obviously heard the hype -- and figured out that the ubiquitous "VOTE FOR PEDRO" t-shirts I'd been seeing at Target did not, in fact, have anything to do with David Bazan -- but most of it had been lost on me, since it seemed like the flick was trying a little too hard to achieve cult status. By the time I'd gotten three-quarters of the way through the film, I hadn't changed my mind. In the words of History of the World Part I, this saga of a Midwestern nerd and his fondness for ligers and tots was nice, nice, not thrilling, but nice. Then this scene happened, and it was suddenly the most amazing movie ever. All it took to turn me into a quote-spewing Napoleoniac -- and give Napoleon's endorsement of his friend Pedro's candidacy the power of Colin Powell's advocacy of Barack Obama -- was the virtual insanity of a high-octane Jamiroquai track I hadn't thought of since college. It gave birth to a scene that beautifully depicts the liberating power of dance music, a physical thrill that disco-haters remain willfully clueless about but legions of YouTube-ing fans clued into right away. Most memorable dance sequence of the decade? This boogie is for real.

7) Kenny Rogers & The First Edition's "Just Dropped In" from The Big Lebowski

Islands in the Stream...of consciousness! He obviously knows when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, but what geek today would have guessed that Kenny Rogers also knew when to tune in, turn on, and drop out? Yes, the memorable slice of '60s psychedelic kitsch that accompanies the Dude's "Busby Berkeley in a bowling alley" dream sequence in The Big Lebowski was performed by none other than The Gambler himself. (How would Kramer warn his neighbors about this, I wonder? "Bad acid! Mess you up!") Maybe it's the far-out music, maybe it's the dazzling choreography, maybe it's the subliminal band of bearded brotherhood formed by Rogers and El Duderino, but in a T-Bone Burnett-curated soundtrack brimming with hidden gems and stone classics alike, Kenny's ode to that crazy day he tore his mind on a jagged sky is the standout -- a veritable Achiever anthem. And I don't know about you, but let's just say that I find Julianne Moore in that Valkyrie get-up strongly vaginal.

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