14. Watchmen – (Zack Snyder – 2009)
Song – “Times they are a-changin” – Bob Dylan
Zack Snyder’s mostly on-point tribute to Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel opens with one of the greatest 5 minutes montages ever. You meet literally the entire cast and catch up with 40 years of alternate history as the original Watchmen of the 1940s celebrate victory in WWII only to be murdered and fall apart after.
We watch the rise of the Cold War, Kennedy assassination, moon landing (with help from Dr. Manhattan) and birth of the new Nixon era Watchmen who patrol the streets as society becomes more and more tired of war and “heroes”. All this set to tune of Bob Dylan’s iconic 60s poem, Times they are a-changin.
13. Pulp Fiction – (Quentin Tarantino – 1994)
Song –You Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry
Jack Rabbit Slims; an Elvis man should love it.” That’s how Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) introduces Vincent Vega to their dining destination. Vincent is escorting mob-wife Mia out on the behest of his boss Marsellus. He describes Jack Rabbit Slims as a “wax museum with a pulse.” 50s characters and actors are the waiters and servers (look for Steve Buscemi as Buddy Holly).
After some awkward conversation and “uncomfortable silences” Mia wants to compete for the coveted JRS dance contest trophy. What comes next is one of the many historic scenes in a movie chock-full of historic scenes. To Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell, John Travolta revitalized his career with his smooth dance moves while Uma Thurman made the “Bat-oosie” cool forever.
12. Do the Right Thing – (Spike Lee – 1989)
Song – “Fight the Power” – Public Enemy
Public Enemy’s rap anthem penetrates the screen throughout Spike Lee classic film of race and culture in the inner city. First off are the phenomenal opening credits, where Rosie Perez dances the whole song as the credits roll. The song becomes the theme of Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) who carries his massive boombox through the streets of Bed Stuy blasting the song.
He gets into confrontations with a Korean bodega store owner, and then all hell breaks loose when he brings his boombox into Sal’s Pizzeria where Sal (Danny Aiello) and Raheem’s mouthpiece Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito) get into a shouting match about race, and ethnicity in the pizzeria and neighborhood ending with Sal snapping and destroying the boombox with a bat triggering the film ending riot.
11. Groundhog Day – (Harold Ramis RIP – 1993)
Song – “I Got You Babe” – Sonny & Cher
IMDB trivia section says the Bill Murray’s Phil Connors repeats the same day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania anywhere from 38 times to 34 years!
Every single morning Phil wakes to Sonny & Cher blaring “I Got You Babe” and like many it eventually makes him throw his alarm clock against the wall. Phil is forced to keep repeating the title holiday until he “gets it right” and every morning when the clock strikes 6:00 am, it’s Sonny & Cher time!
10. Almost Famous – (Cameron Crowe – 2000)
Song – “Tiny Dancer” – Elton John
Stillwater is a talented but troubled band in the early 70s. Lead singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee) doesn’t like guitarist Russell Hammond overshadowing him. Russell (Billy Crudup) up and quits and goes on a bender at a house party of college and high school age kids. He’s drunk and loaded and at one point pronounces himself a “Golden God” before leaping off the roof to the pool below. High School kid turned beat writer, William is along for the ride and calls the band’s manager to collect the wasted musician.
As they drag him on the bus, Elton John’s beautiful Tiny Dancer begins. Soon the bus becomes one big sing-along as band members, roadies, and groupies sing along showing that while a band may divide, it’s the music that unites all. When William tries to tell Penny Lane (Russell’s road girl) he has to go home, she quiets him down and whispers, “you are home.”
9. Wayne’s World – (Penelope Spheeris – 1992)
Song – “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen
The scene that introduced thousands of young kids to Queen (myself included) and sent everyone home headbanging in their cars; Wayne, Garth and the crew jamming out and lip-synching to the Queen classic.
Wayne and Garth would also introduce other classics like Jimi Hendrix’s Foxy Lady, Dream Weaver, and Stairway to… No Stairway… denied! Wayne’s World was and still is the best film to be based on an SNL skit and launched the career of Mike Myers.
8. Risky Business – (Paul Brickman – 1983)
Song – “Old Time Rock and Roll” – Bob Seger
The one that drove the young girls mad back in 1983. Tom Cruise is home alone and looking for fun while his parents are away. What else to get things started than some faux-karaoke in your underwear!
This scene also won the prestigious “Best Use of Tighty-Whities” and “Best Use of a Fireplace Poker” awards. More importantly this scene as well as a certain romantic interlude on a train paved the way for Tom Cruise to become one of the biggest box stars of the decade, and all time.