The Ampersand’s Weekend Watchlist offers bingeable movie recommendations bundled into nifty little themes. Our recs for this weekend’s movie marathon: movies with scenes made awesome by great musical score.
Weekend Watchlist: 5 Movie Scenes with Great Musical Score
Movies and music are each powerful on their own. But sometimes, you get that one moment when a movie scene is paired with the perfect song choice. The result? A transcendent experience.
A note on our criteria: we excluded musicals, music-centric films (as much as we wanted to include the Tiny Dancer bus scene from Almost Famous), and performances of a song within a movie (sorry, no singing Heath Ledger for ya). We also limited our recommendations to movies currently available for streaming in the Philippines.
Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin in Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
There’s a handful of times we audibly gasped at scenes from Marvel movies and our biggest OMG-grip-your-seat moment is Captain America summoning the Mjolnir in Avengers: Endgame (admit it, you almost screamed too). A close second is the final battle in Thor: Ragnarok, specifically that first guitar riff of “Immigrant Song” and Robert Plant’s iconic howl “Ah-ah, ah!” as the god Thor descends from the sky.
Fun fact: “Immigrant Song” has references to Norse mythology. Indeed a perfect battle song for the god of thunder and lightning.
Director Taika Waititi went to great lengths to secure the rights to use Led Zeppelin’s music in the movie. The band is known for being extremely selective about who gets to use their songs. In 2003, Jack Black had to plead to get the greenlight to include “Immigrant Song” in his movie School of Rock.
Where to watch: Apple TV
Visions of Gideon by Sufjan Stevens in Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Call Me By Your Name is a film based on the novel by Andre Aciman. The film tells the story of love, desire, and heartbreak between Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer).
Three Sufjan Stevens songs are featured in the movie: a remix of “Futile Devices” and two new songs written by Stevens specifically for the film. The first, “Mystery of Love”, plays during the lovers’ happier times. The second, “Visions of Gideon” serves as the backdrop of Elio’s first heartbreak. Director Luca Guadagnino focuses the shot on Chalamet, sitting in front of a fireplace and reflecting on a love lost: “I have loved you for the last time” Stevens sings in the background.
Available in: Google Play
Heroes by David Bowie in Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Another Taika Waititi film lands on our list. Jojo Rabbit (Oscar winner for Best Adapted Screenplay) tells the story of Jojo, a young boy who is friends with an imaginary Hitler. One day, Jojo discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic.
Jojo Rabbit’s soundtrack is filled with the greats—The Beatles, Tom Waits, and of course, David Bowie. “Helden”, a German version of Bowie’s “Heroes”, closes out the film as Jojo and Elsa dance in the streets of Berlin. It’s a poignant moment, a celebration of living freely “just for one day”, or maybe even “for ever and ever”.
Where to watch: Apple TV
Hero by Regina Spektor in 500 Days of Summer (2009)
500 Days of Summer has a great soundtrack. After all, music is integral to the movie’s plot: “I love The Smiths” is the first thing Summer (Zooey Deschanel) says to Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), before singing the most popular line from “There is a Light that Never Goes Out”. Aside from The Smiths, songs from The Temper Trap, The Pixies, Hall and Oates, and even Deschanel’s band, She & Him are used to chronicle Tom and Summer’s relationship.
There’s a lot of iconic music moments in the movie—there’s even an impromptu dance number! But the one that broke us is the split-screen Expectations vs. Reality sequence. Tom attends Summer’s party, intoxicated by the promise of the evening. Regina Spektor’s “Hero” starts playing in the background. It’s a fitting song choice, mostly because Tom “never saw it coming at all”. By the end of the evening, reality has trumped Tom’s expectations. True enough, “no one’s got it all”.
Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen in Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Shaun of the Dead has probably the most iconic zombie fight scene in film and TV history. Sorry, Jon Snow. Hardhome was a great episode, but was your fight perfectly choreographed to a Queen song? Nah. Didn’t think so.
This sequence is perfect. Each hit and smack hilariously timed with the song’s drumbeat? Check. Flickering lights in sync with every syllable of don’t / stop / me / now? You got it. Beating a zombie in the face with a fire extinguisher while Freddie Mercury belts out “oh oh oh oh oh exploooode”? It’s all in here.
Also, “David, kill the Queen!” Iconic.
Where to watch: Hulu
For more insights on movies or pop culture in general, visit our website at https://theamprsnd.com/.
Patriz Biliran and Regina Peñarroyo co-run The Ampersand and write blog articles in their free time.