Art by Christopher, Words by Elizabeth
(some spoilers ahead!)
Okay, so it’s been a little while since we’ve posted. Since our last post, we celebrated our anniversary and Chris’ birthday, I moved, and then I got super sick. So we’ve been a little sidetracked lately.
But this is now our 200th post! And to celebrate, we’re posting a little something we’ve been cultivating: a playlist of our favorite songs from movie and TV love scenes. Keep in mind, I’m not saying these songs or even these movies are the best ever (though some of them are). It’s the way the scene and song play together. I’m also sure we’ve missed some, but keep in mind that these are only from movies we’ve seen and ones that stick out to us. Also, I don’t necessarily mean sex scenes but just scenes that show love in some way. And so here we go (and in no particular order or rank)!
To start off, here is a downloadable file of the playlist so all you folks at home can follow along!
(and here’s an alternate link in case the above expires)
1. Roger Waters featuring Van Morrison and The Band – “Comfortably Numb,” from The Departed
I really do love The Departed, and it really helps itself by starring Leonardo DiCaprio, an old love of mine. Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb,” is one of my favorite songs and I don’t necessarily think this version is better, but it was definitely a better pick for this particular scene. Billy (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes to see Madolyn (Vera Farmiga), his therapist and non-lover-but-obviously-should-be-lover. Madolyn is in a relationship, but Billy is vulnerable, alone, and needs someone to comfort him. And they’re both hot! It’s great.
2. Nico – “These Days,” from The Royal Tenenbaums
The Royal Tenenbaums is one of my all-time favorite movies and one of my biggest movie obsessions. I liked this song before the movie, but as a Jackson Browne song. This scene is so perfect – not just for the way that it shows Margot and Richie’s characters, but how it just shows people who are in love looking at each other.
3. Charles & Eddie – “Wounded Bird,” from True Romance
One thing I love about True Romance is how genuine (and yet somehow unrealistic) the relationship between Clarence (Christian Slater) and Alabama (Patricia Arquette) is, and the scene where they first have sex (after meeting for the first time) shows us that. We’ve seen their chemistry already, but seeing them gently but wildly have sex is a perfect metaphor for their relationship as a whole. And “Wounded Bird,” is sort of a cheesy song from the 90s, but it’s really pretty much perfect in this scene: between the lyrics and the bluesy-ness (paired with the blue hue of the screen in this scene), it just fits.
4. The Righteous Brothers – “Unchained Melody,” from Ghost
Obvious choice, but come on. I sort of like to prefer to think that this scene totally represents this movie and forget how tragic and scary it is. I thought it was sexy the first time I saw it, but ever since I can’t really watch it without tearing up.
5. Counting Crows – “Colorblind,” from Cruel Intentions
I was kind of obsessed with this movie when it came out, even though I was 12. A lot of weird and scary (for a kid) things happen in Cruel Intentions, but I thought this scene was so beautiful I was convinced that it was the only way one could lose their virginity and fall in love (minus the eventual death and heartbreak).
6. Solomon Burke – “Cry to Me,” from Dirty Dancing
Well of course Baby and Johnny use dancing as a way to strip as a way to finally have sex. Duh. Perfect.
7. Peter Gabriel – “In Your Eyes,” from Say Anything
Another obvious choice, but this is a double whammy because “In Your Eyes,” plays during Lloyd and Diane’s beautiful and awkward mutual virginity loss and then again when Lloyd uses it to try to win Diane back. It’s too good of a song to just feature once anyway.
8. Trevor Jones – “The Kiss,” from The Last of the Mohicans
The greatest wordless, flowy hair, fully clothed, stand up sex scene in the history of cinema.
9. Scarlet – “Independent Love Song,” from Bed of Roses
I think we’ve established that Bed of Roses is kind of stupid and maybe a little insane, too. That being said, it still contains an awesome montage (somehow the montage is actually better out of context of the movie) with this awesome song in it. Both the montage and the song are very 90’s and sort of corny, but whatever. It makes this movie watchable.
10. Des’Ree – “Kissing You,” from Romeo + Juliet
I mean, duh. “Kissing You,” comes up more than once in Romeo + Juliet, but it’s mainly played when Romeo and Juliet first meet at the Capulet party, looking at each other through an aquarium. There’s no dialogue for a while, just the song with Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio – sensing a pattern?) and Juliet (Claire Danes) staring at each other. But it’s when Romeo breaks into the song with the first bit of dialogue since seeing Juliet, “Does my heart love ’till now? Forswear its sight, I’ve never seen a true beauty ’til this night.” For the record, I just wrote that line by memory. And I can only hear Leonardo DiCaprio saying it. That’s how great and memorable it is.
11. The Sundays – “Wild Horses,” from Fear
This might seem like an odd choice, considering this scene is between David (Mark Wahlberg) and Nicole (Reese Witherspoon), and the basic plot of Fear is that David becomes obsessed with Nicole and stalks her and tries to torture/murder her and her family.
BUT! Leading up to that, David and Nicole are just two (weird) teenagers who meet and quickly and intensely fall in love. Before David shows how insane he is, they go to a fair together and while on a rollercoaster he, well I just don’t know how else to say this, he fingers her until she orgasms. Nicole is a virgin at this point, and is new to having a serious boyfriend and being in love, and the look on her face while they’re on the rollercoaster and after is one of pure bliss.
BONUS: This song (which is awesome) is also featured in a pretty great scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer in which Angel surprised Buffy by showing up to her prom while this song plays. Goofy and beautiful, just like the show.
12. Eric Clapton – “Tears in Heaven,” from Rush
This is slightly cheating, because “Tears in Heaven” (I’m pretty sure) just plays at the end of Rush. But the end of Rush is so brutal and heartbreaking, it comes to mind anyway. Jason Patric plays Jim and Jennifer Jason Leigh plays Kristen, two undercover cops who go too undercover in trying to nab a Texas drug ring, and end up becoming addicts. But they also fall in love! They’re sweet together, but the deeper they go into their addictions, the more desperate they become and the clearer it is that it’s probably not going to end well, not matter how much you want it to. Rush ends with Kristen running alone on the beach, after everything around her has fallen apart and seeing Jim murdered in front of her, while “Tears in Heaven,” plays over the scene. I was already crying, and then this song came on and totally did me in. THANKS ERIC CLAPTON! (No, really, thank you.)
13. Cat Power – “Half of You,” from True Blood
True Blood‘s goofiness and willingness to take itself less seriously than certain other vampire-based stories truly makes it great. But even despite that, there are plenty of moments that are beautiful, sweet, scary, and heartbreaking. One of these moments comes from Season 1, when the main love story between Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Bill (Stephen Moyer) begins. You know the drill, Bill’s a vampire, Sookie’s not (she is a fairy though, but we don’t know that in first season). One of Sookie’s then-unexplained fairy powers is that she can read people’s minds, but she can’t turn it off or be selective about it. Because of that, her relationships, be they romantic or otherwise, have been pretty limited her whole life. But when Sookie meets Bill, the first vampire she’s met (that she knows of at least), she realizes that her telepathic powers don’t work on vampires and for the first time in her life she can interact with someone without constantly knowing what they’re secretly thinking. So, obviously, they fall in love, and because Sookie’s never been close to someone, she’s also a virgin. Up to this point, the sex lives that we’ve seen of vampires are pretty over the top. So when Sookie loses her virginity to Bill, I sort of expected it to be a little crazy. Fortunately, though, Bill doesn’t take their first time lightly, and instead it’s a slow, sweet, candle-lit time, with this great Cat Power song playing in the background. It’s sort of an incredible break from the craziness that True Blood usually brings, and is one of the most human (despite being between two non-humans) scenes of the series.
14. Dan Reed Network – “Baby Now I,” from The Cutting Edge
In certain ways, The Cutting Edge really shaped what I thought about drinking alcohol when I was little. There’s a scene that takes place at a New Year’s Eve party, and when Doug (D. B. Sweeney) offers Kate (Moira Kelly) a glass of champagne, she says “I don’t drink.” Now, keep in mind I probably first saw this when I was 7 or something, but that statement really confused me because I didn’t realize she meant alcohol. I thought she meant she doesn’t drink anything, period, and I just didn’t get it – until my mom explained it to me. And then came this scene, where Doug and Kate go out drinking as a way to unwind and Kate, being an inexperienced drinker, gets insanely drunk while Doug, a very experienced drinker, only gets mildly drunk. But this scene is so fun, I assumed as a child that going to a bar and getting drunk must be one of the most fun things an adult can do. That is, until I became an adult and realized getting drunk makes me sick and drinks are expensive. But still. And this scene is one of the first times we see Kate let loose, and the fact that she’s doing it with Doug is a first sign of their impending love affair. The night doesn’t exactly end well, but the movie does, and that’s all that really matters.
15. Buffalo Tom – “Late at Night,” from My So-Called Life
Is My So-Called Life one of the greatest TV shows of all time? Yes, obviously, I don’t even want to hear anybody say otherwise. I was obsessed with it when I was a kid because I wanted so badly to be Angela Chase (Claire Danes) but also related to her little sister. I was obsessed with it in middle school and high school because even though it was around 10 years old at that point, I hadn’t seen a show that so precisely laid out my own teenage feelings like it does. One of the main things that makes My So-Called Life great as well as frustrating and sometimes heartbreaking is Angela’s relationship with mega dreamboat Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto), who, at various times during the series’ one season, ignores her, kisses her, hurts her, likes her, dislikes her, etc etc, while Angela is pretty much die-hard in love with him the entire time. Watching it as an adult, it seems crazy sometimes why Angela would give a shit about Jordan, who is not smart and often not particularly nice (but always smoking hot, so there’s that). But then you remember that these people are supposed to be around 15 years old, so it’s easier to let go of the absurdity of their relationship. This scene is honestly probably the pinnacle of their entire relationship, and since they’re just holding hands and walking down a hallway to be alone together, this fact also really only makes sense because they’re teenagers. “Late at Night” is perfect for this scene, because it’s grungy enough to be from the time period, but sweet enough to help convey how awesome this moment is.
16. Mickey & Sylvia – “Love is Strange,” – from Badlands
I first discovered “Love is Strange” from a pretty cute scene from Dirty Dancing that involves lots of flirting between Baby and Johnny. So I always thought it was just sort of a cutesy song. But it wasn’t until I saw it in this scene in Badlands that I realized how good of a song it is and how powerful it can actually be in the right context. At this point of the movie, Holly (Sissy Spacek) and Kit (Martin Sheen) are on the run from the law after committing murder and are hiding out in an (awesome) tree house that they built. It’s more than clear at this point how strange but intense their relationship is, to the point that Kit murdered Holly’s father in front of her so they could run away together, without batting an eyelash. But their’s isn’t the intense physical love we’ve seen in other on-screen, on-the-run couples like from Bonnie and Clyde or Wild at Heart or True Romance or Natural Born Killers. They still maintain a certain amount of distance. And in this scene, “Love is Strange,” whose title and lyrics are too perfect for this movie, plays while Holly and Kit dance near each other, but not really together. They’re physically close, but not touching, and not even really looking at each other. It’s a short scene but does a pretty perfect job of quickly showing exactly where their relationship is.
17. David Holmes – “Tess,” from Ocean’s 11
This is another really short scene but I love it. The song plays as Danny (George Clooney) sees his ex-wife and true love Tess (Julia Roberts) for the first time since being out of prison. He sees her at the top of the stairs, and David Holmes’ haunting and curious score starts up as Danny watches Tess walk down the stairs. Although Ocean’s 11 isn’t the most serious of movies, this scene is serious in its sexiness.
18. John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, and Original Film Cast – “Summer Nights,” from Grease
I guess it would be sort of obvious to have a musical in here, and no matter what Grease is just hard to beat. “Summer Nights” might be my favorite song from the movie, and that’s a tough call to make. The whole sequence is so great; showing how Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) interpreted the same events very differently, although the impact was the same on both of them. It’s goofy and fun, but also sweet and a cute (albeit cliche) scene of female versus male outlooks.
19. Hall and Oates – “You Make My Dreams,” from (500) Days of Summer
(500) Days of Summer is questionable in its goodness (Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt was sort of a dick, wasn’t he? And Summer, played by Zooey Deschanel, was kind of annoying, wasn’t she?) but I honestly believe that any faults the movie might have get completely washed away thanks to this sequence. When I first saw it in theaters, I absolutely loved it. But the morning after Chris and I started dating, I felt like my entire day was this sequence over and over again. Sure, it was just a normal day at work. But I couldn’t stop smiling, I stopped and talked to people that I didn’t even like, and everyone around me just seemed so beautiful and happy. Re-watching this scene is proof to me that whoever thought this scene up has a really good handle on the initial feeling of falling in love.
20. Asia – “Heat of the Moment,” from The 40 Year Old Virgin
I love The 40 Year Old Virgin. The first time I saw it I loved it because it was so dirty, and now I love it because it’s so sweet. Steve Carrell and Catherine Keener are so incredibly likable to me that seeing them get together and fall in love is just really great. And “Heat of the Moment,” playing when Andy is rushing over to win Trish back is so great, because this isn’t the best song ever, but doesn’t it pump you up? And lyrically, it works really well with the scene. I think of this movie every time I hear this song, and I love that.
21. The Faces – “Ooh La La,” from Rushmore
If you for some reason think that this scene is not one of the greatest film endings of all time, I don’t even want to hear about it. To me, Rushmore is more or less a perfect movie, and this is the perfect ending. And it’s perfect for this list because it covers all kinds of love. The focus is between Max (Jason Schwartzman) and the teacher he loves but can never have, Mrs. Cross (Olivia Williams). All of the conflict that Max and Mrs. Cross have had just sort of washes away here, when they seem to really see each other for the first time. They’re dancing together at the after party of Max’s latest hit school play and are surrounded by various characters we’ve met, some dancing together, some just dancing alone, but all having a good time. And “Ooh La La” is such a simple, classic song and goes so well with all of the other music in Rushmore. The lyrics of the chorus, “I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger,” is so perfect for Rushmore in so many ways, mostly because of the way the movie plays around with age and wisdom. Watching this scene and hearing this song, it’s just sort of impossible not to feel great.
Well, thanks for being with us for 200. And now, back to your regularly scheduled posts!