Top 5 Musical Scenes From Non-Musical Movies

4 Nov

This is part 3 of our Top 5 Lists about musical sequences.  So far, we’ve done favorite scenes from a musical and from a Disney cartoon.  This week we’re doing our favorite musical scenes from non-musical movies.  Or to put it a little differently, scenes that could really happen (except that some of them are sci-fi).  Basically, musical performances in regular movies.  I think that sums it up as best as we can.  As usual, please disagree and tell us all the great scenes we left out.

Lara’s List

5. “Oh Happy Day” performed by Ryan Toby, from Sister Act 2

This list may have immediately lost all credibility with you readers because of this first song choice. A song from a sequel. A sequel in which a fake nun teaches a rag tag group of teens to believe in themselves through the power of music. In this song, the nervous boy regains his boldness through a simple vocal exercise. It’s cheesy, I know, but it is wholly inspiring. “Oh Happy Day” has given me pure joy (accompanied by chillbumps) from a young age. It gets me out of my seat, pumping my fist towards the heavens whenever my hands aren’t occupied with clapping, which is what every movie song should aspire to do.

4. “I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow” performed by The Soggy Bottom Boys, from O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Fun and chaos abound as Everett, Pete, Delmar, and Tommy realize that they have become a hit sensation. A racist gets his comeuppance. An unwelcome suitor loses his fiancé. George Clooney looks dreamy. Evil is defeated. And The Soggy Bottom Boys’ performance provides bookends to the happenings. A great finale to a great film.

3. “Softly and Tenderly” performed by Alessandro Nivola (with Gregory Wagoner and John Eddie McGee), from Junebug

The church potluck setting. The onlookers. The mother’s eyes filling with tears as she hears her son, who left the church long ago, singing of coming home to Jesus. The initial shakiness in George’s voice. The shifting of weight from one leg to the other. The way he takes his hand in and out of his pocket. Everything about this song, as well as this movie, is so real. It is a sweet rendition that accurately captures the beauty and simplicity of hymns, as well as the yearning of “all sinners” to “come home.”

2. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” performed by Heath Ledger, from 10 Things I Hate About You

I’m not the type of girl who likes big, romantic gestures. I don’t welcome them in my personal life and I certainly won’t accept them in my movie-watching life (which is also, essentially, my personal life). However! Since the age of eleven, when I saw 10 Things I Hate About You for my first time, I can’t help but be charmed by Patrick Verona’s serenade. How could I not? It’s Heath Ledger. Singing. And dancing. And making a fool of himself running up and down the school bleachers. It provides pure, girlish fantastical bliss. And it provides joy.

1. “Let’s Get Together” performed by Hayley Mills and Hayley Mills, from The Parent Trap

I dedicate this youtube link to my dear sister. “Let’s Get Together” is the perfect sister bonding song. Two twins with conflicting interests, one an outdoorsy Californian, the other a prim and proper Bostonian, join forces to get their parents back together. And how do they get their parents back together? By recreating their first date and singing “Let’s Get Together” to them, of course! The song starts off on an awfully boring foot, as Sharon plays her archaic piano solemnly, but then Susan butts in with a fresh and hip acoustic guitar, and the rest is history. Okay, so I’ve been teasing, but even with the terribly fake instrumentation and Sharon’s hand disappearing periodically, this song is honestly my happy place. It gives me good sisterly feelings and makes me wish I was friends with Hayley Mills. And Hayley Mills.

David’s List

5. “Let’s Get It On” performed by Jack Black, from High Fidelity

This scene is actually better when you see the entire movie all the way through for the first time.  Jack Black’s character has built up this persona that is just completely smashed when he starts singing this song.  And that makes it all so much better.  But this great all by itself too.  He sounds amazing.  It’s absolutely hilarious watching Todd Louiso, as Dick the quiet coworker, trying to dance with his new girlfriend.  It’s just great all the way around.

4.  “The Diva Dance” performed by Inva Mula-Tchako, from The Fifth Element

This is so beautiful.  It’s haunting actually.  Inva Mula-Tchako is an Albanian soprano that provided the voice for the character.  She was not the actress actually playing the part.  I imagine it would have been hard to actually sing with all those prosthetics on.  Anyway, this scene is one of my all time favorites.  I love how it cuts back and forth between the concert and fight scene.  It’s pretty awesome how the song can be so beautiful and fit the concert hall so well, while at the same time providing the perfect soundtrack to a fight.

3.  “These Eyes” performed by Michael Cera, from Superbad

Just a quick warning, there is some bad language in this video.  Just a little bit.  So if you are watching this at work, you might not want to have it turned up very loud at the beginning.  Once Michael Cera starts singing you can turn it up again.  And you should because it is magical.  This is probably my favorite scene in this movie.  Our hero is mistaken by a bunch of drugged out psychos for a singer and they demand a song from him.  We will never know why he picks the song he does, but we can always be grateful that he did.

2.  “Whole Wide World” performed by Will Ferrell, from Stranger than Fiction

A great scene from a criminally overlooked movie.  If you haven’t seen this movie please go rent it.  Actually, just buy it.  You won’t regret it.  It is so good.  Before you all go rushing out to follow the advise of your favorite movie website, you should finish watching these videos.  This one is just so sweet.  I have a lot of good memories of this movie, which might have some effect on me putting it so high on this list.  However, I think this movie, and this song, can stand up for themselves.

1.  “Tiny Dancer” performed by the entire cast (almost) and Elton John, from Almost Famous

This makes me ecstatically happy every time I watch it.  It shows how music brings people together.  Just watch how awkward everyone is at the beginning.  They’re all super pissed off at each other.  But then someone turns Elton John on and they all begin to remember why they love everyone there.  Just like Kate Hudson points out, music can give us all a home.

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3 Responses to “Top 5 Musical Scenes From Non-Musical Movies”

  1. Val November 4, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    I almost thought that “Almost Famous” was going to be left off of this list altogether. I started scrolling down really fast going “WHERE IS TINY DANCER!??” But then– PHEW! Crisis averted.

    Well done, David. It’s at the top of my list too.

  2. Joey Strawn November 4, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    I’m glad that my idea has sparked such an expansive list. Better than I could have imagined. I agree with everything that found it’s way onto this list. But I was surprised that no one mentioned the “I Say A Little Prayer For You” from My Best Friend’s Wedding (I’m no fan of Julia Roberts, but it is an engaging scene). I would also add the “Day-O, Banana Boat” song from Beetlejuice. Great times.

    • cintussupremus November 4, 2009 at 4:18 pm #

      I almost did “Day-O, Banana Boat” because I also love it, but then couldn’t really decide where it would fit. I mean, it’s not from a musical, and it’s not really one that would happen in real life. Unless ghosts really did inhabit people’s houses and make them sing silly songs…

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