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Top 10 Soundtracks Better Than the Movie

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Matt Wende. You know there's something wrong with a film when you have to fight the urge to watch it with your eyes closed. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 soundtracks that were better than the movie. For this list, we’re looking at soundtracks that compiled recorded songs that suited the theme or style of the film, but whose compilations proved to be better than the film itself. Special thanks to our users kenn1987, Keith Adams, Kate Smothers, Michael Ross, purplegnomes, bonoo94 and Robert Heckadon for submitting the idea on our Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Matt Wende.

Top 10 Soundtracks That Were Better Than the Movie


You know there’s something wrong with a film when you have to fight the urge to watch it with your eyes closed. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 soundtracks that were better than the movie.

For this list, we’re looking at soundtracks that compiled recorded songs that suited the theme or style of the film, but whose compilations proved to be better than the film itself. While the movies may not have necessarily been bad, their soundtracks overshadowed them or have continued to live on apart from them. We’re excluding film scores, so in spite of all the love for Daft Punk, the soundtrack for “Tron: Legacy” won’t be found here.

#10: “I Am Sam” (2001)

Contrary to what RDJ’s character says in “Tropic Thunder,” the acting was one of the highlights from this 2001 dud, but not even Hollywood heavyweights Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer could save this wannabe “Forrest Gump.” That being said, their performances were not “I Am Sam”’s only gems… the soundtrack featured a who’s who of great nineties artists doing covers of songs originally performed by The Beatles. With a slew of highlights such as Eddie Vedder’s “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” and Rufus Wainwright’s “Across the Universe,” there should definitely be a spot in your music library for this Grammy-nominated album.

#9: “Godzilla” (1998)

This 1998 entry cast a huge shadow on the “Godzilla” franchise. In fact, fans of the radioactive monster would have to wait until 2014 to get some kind of a redeeming reprise for their favorite city destroyer. In the meantime, they were left with a rocking soundtrack gathering together tons of ‘90s heavy grunge. Highlights include a speaker-blasting cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” and some of the finest from Rage Against the Machine’s golden age.

#8: “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” (2008)


This teen romance definitely has some lovable and quirky scenes, and what Kat Dennings and Michael Cera bring to their respective roles is – at times – quite charming. In spite of all that, this rom-com drama slipped from mediocrity into forgettableness mainly because it was weighed down by clichés. One thing we didn’t forget though was its soundtrack, which was loaded with stellar indie jewels, such as We Are Scientist’s “After Hours” and The Real Tuesday Weld’s “Last Words.”

#7: “Elizabethtown” (2005)

Cameron Crowe’s romantic comedy fell completely into the same quicksand that all forced rom-com-dramadies do; with too much dialogue, the film kept talking with nothing to say. Keeping audiences in their seats instead was a dynamic soundtrack that proved to be more heartwarming and endearing than the film itself. It was clear the director knew a thing or two about music from his work on “Almost Famous,” and it may have just been his saving grace on this piece.

#6: “Saturday Night Fever” (1977)


Though it was well received, it could be argued that “Saturday Night Fever” suffered from a lack of depth and a flat storyline. And today, the dance film is more known as “that movie with the great Bee Gees tunes.” Harnessing the growing power and popularity of disco, the 1977 soundtrack went platinum fifteen times, meaning it sold more than fifteen million copies! In addition to its popular Bee Gees recordings, the Grammy-winning album also features work by Kool & the Gang and KC and the Sunshine Band. Admit it, when you hear “Stayin’ Alive,” you can’t help but groove a little bit. Or a lot.

#5: “Batman Forever” (1995)


Before Christian Bale ever donned the cape and growled the words “I’m Batman,” Tim Burton had his own film series starring The Dark Knight. Following two successful movies, “Batman Forever” marked the downturn of the franchise as Burton went from director to producer and let Joel Schumacher take the directing reins. When “Batman Forever” wasn’t corny to the point of absurdity, it was marred by Chris O’Donnell’s whiny portrayal of Dick Grayson. Yet, out of the dark chapter rose a stellar beacon of a soundtrack, featuring incredible hit singles such as “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” by U2, and the now iconic soul track, “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal.

#4: “Last Action Hero” (1993)

Although time eventually allowed this film to attain cult status, at the time of its release, “Last Action Hero” was an unmitigated commercial and critical disaster that not even its oddly endearing premise could make up for. What the film lacked in excitement, however, the soundtrack more than compensated for. With a thundering presence featuring music from hard rock greats like AC/DC and Aerosmith, as well as alt metal act Alice in Chains, the soundtrack gets our hearts racing as much as the movie should have.

#3: “Garden State” (2004)


In an effort to get out of the longtime association with his goofy “Scrubs” character, Zach Braff wrote, directed, and starred in this 2004 flick. Trying to show off his heartfelt and dramatic side, he came off as trying way too hard, and the result was a film practically dripping with quirky melodrama. He did do at least one thing right, though. As everyone knows, what’s indie Oscar-bait without a good soundtrack? Containing a mixture of fresh sounds like those of The Shins and Coldplay, as well as classics like Simon and Garfunkel, “Garden State”’s Grammy-winning soundtrack is still in our collection long after we lost the DVD.

#2: “Twilight” (2008)

Not to jump on the bandwagon or anything, but it’s easy to rip on “Twilight.” Be it for Kristen Stewart’s vapid expressions or the misguided Dorian Grey-esque themes and cheesy vampires, these films are just not very well liked by anyone old enough to drive. It’s safe to say they would have been greatly improved had the soundtrack lent some of its own epic-ness to its parent film. Aside from the fact that the album features hit tracks by Paramore and Linkin Park, we find ourselves getting lost in the chaotic bliss that is “Eyes on Fire” by Blue Foundation.

Before we rock out to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions…
- “Bulworth” (1998)
- “Mortal Kombat” (1995)
- “Singles” (1992)
- “Space Jam” (1996)
- “Reality Bites” (1994)

#1: “Purple Rain” (1984)

Prince’s soundtrack to the film he also starred in has become iconic, both of the ‘80s and of The Artist’s extensive and inspired cannon of work. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the film, which similar to “Saturday Night Fever,” found some commercial and critical success, but was really little more than a facile and basic attempt to catapult Prince from pop-rocker to super star. Thanks to the vocal and songwriting talent of the smirking boy wonder however, “Purple Rain”’s soundtrack stands as some of his finest work, and still has us grooving to this day.

Did you agree with our list? What soundtracks out-did the pictures they were intended to complement? For more musical top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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