5 movies whose soundtracks are as good as their plots

I wish I could consider myself an audiophile. Don’t get me wrong, I love music. It’s always blasting while we attempt to complete household chores, read books, hell, I leave it on when we aren’t even home because I am an AMERICAN and Americans live to waste energy. However, aside from giving tunes a thumbs up or down on Pandora, I can’t tell a treble clef from an ampersand.

I also love movies. Love love love movies. But not musicals because they creep me out. Anyway, since our DVD collection consists of a few HIGH QUALITY films (e.g., Clue, Overboard, The Man With Two Brains), I rely solely on streaming my entertainment.

if you like your music subtly integrated into films, check out these five films available via Netflix that boast outstanding soundtracks. The movies aren’t too bad either.

Roayle with cheese, please.

Roayle with cheese, please.

1.Pulp Fiction (1994). Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta are only three of the ridiculously talented array of actors starring in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. With plot lines weaving together here and there, the spectacular soundtrack really ties the film together.

I remember listening to this CD on repeat in high school and falling in love with Bill Withers and the idea of “perfectly round potbellies”. Plus Tarantino movies are so deliciously gory that they demand an equally pleasing soundtrack for your earholes.

almost famous2. Almost Famous (2000). Who didn’t want to be in a rock band in the 1970s? Well, I didn’t. I wanted to be Strawberry Shortcake, but whatever. Now that I am older and wiser, I have since realized my mistake and live vicariously through the ponytailed protagonists in Almost Famous. I also get all squishy-nostalgic listening to the movie’s soundtrack which includes artists like David Bowie, Elton John, Led Zepplin, YES and Simon & Garfunkel. It’s like my mom put this compilation together for the world to enjoy.

amelie3. Amelie (2001). Follow “impish” Amelie as she searches for the owners of a trove of toys found in her apartment. The soundtrack for this five-time academy nominated film is primarily composed of songs pulled from French composer and musician Yann Tiersen‘s first four albums. If you enjoy accordions, harpsicords, guitars and other whimsical sounds plus a quirky protagonist, I highly recommend checking this film out. I still play the CD from time to time. God, I am really dating myself here.

waynes world4. Wayne’s World (1992). OK, yes this movie is over twenty years old. And IT’S STILL AS AWESOME as the first time I saw it with my dad and he kept laughing at Garth’s mono joke (I was very confused at the time.). Dudes live in Aurora, IL, have a public access show airing out of Wayne’s mom’s basement and RAGE when it comes to music. It’s a cute movie that really brings back the awesomeness of the 90s and Saturday Night Live. It also shared the music of historic bands like Queen, Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper with a new generation. Thank you, Wayne and Garth. THANK YOU.

You remind me of the babe. That and really tight pants.

You remind me of the babe. That and really tight pants.

5. Labyrinth (1986). Well you fools knew this was coming. I mean, I just went to the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art to watch this film and was so close to donning a Jareth Mullet wig. Then I wrote about Labyrinth-inspired Xmas gifts and how David Bowie was my first crush. Anyway, you know the plot:Teenage Sara (Jennifer Connely) wishes her baby brother away to the Goblin Kingdom, then enters the Labyrinth save her annoying little beast of a sibling from Jareth, the Goblin King. I am willing to sing each song from this soundtrack to you if that is your wish, or you can just watch the movie and listen to David Bowie croon his way into your pants heart.

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The ultimate gift list for any 80s movie lover

Need last minute gifts for the 80s movie lover in your life? I’ve got your back. Check out my recent ChicagoNow post for a gallery showcasing goodies inspired by Labyrinth, The Goonies, A Christmas Story and more. You are welcome.

5 Netflix movies you can stream with grandma this Thanksgiving

The holidays are upon us and you know what that means…watching sex scenes with grandma. Er, I mean, eating turkey and stuff.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have rented a movie, popped that sucker in and then coughed/rolled my eyeballs/used the restroom during inappropriate sex scenes and/or gross violence. Call me immature, but watching Clerks with my grandpa or little cousin doesn’t get me into the holiday spirit.

As a favor to you and your sweat glands, below are some movies you can stream via Netflix to avoid an awkward situation all together. Consider it an early holiday present from yours truly.

school of rock1. The School of Rock (PG-13).Jack Black plays a rock musician who refuses to grow up …much to the chagrin of others. He assumes his brother’s identity and lands a job as substitute teacher in a prestigious private school. Initially not wanting to exert too much energy, Black’s character “plays it cool” only to then enlist the “help” of his class to win a Battle of the Bands. On the way, he falls for Joan Cusack‘s character, an uptight-turned-awesome principal, and learns a lesson or two. The kids add a fun component and make this a family friendly movie.

Common Sense Media ranks this as a movie appropriate for ages 11 and up.

2 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (PG-13). I’m not going to lie, I often have trouble figuring out what in God’s name Johnny Depp’s character, Captain Jack Sparrow, is muttering. So, if you have someone hard of hearing joining in on the viewing party, this might not be for you. That said, this is a pretty solid film for everyone in the family. Romance (not enough to make you shift in your seat) + action + comedy = 2:23 minutes not spent listening to your great aunt recount her trip to Walmart.

Common Sense Media ranks this as a movie appropriate for ages 12 and up.

holes2003cdcover451883. Holes (PG). I love this movie. Based on the bestselling Louis Sachar’s novel by the same name, a young Shia LaBeouf is sent a youth detention camp that forces inmates to dig holes day after day. For what? I guess you and granny will have to wait and see. You should watch this even if your younger cousins are downstairs texting each other instead of talking like the post-mod freaks that they are.

Common Sense Media ranks this as a movie appropriate for ages 10 and up.

4. Scrooged (PG-13). Yes, this movie is from the 80s, Yes, it includes some gore (I mean, what Christmas doesn’t include massacres?) and mention of a third nipple. But I still think it’s a solid pick if only for the fact that Bill Murray is the leading man – good old Scrooge. It’s cute, festive and retro for your teen cousins who are SOOOOO into misusing the term “irony”.
Common Sense Media ranks this movie appropriate for ages 12 and up.

How_to_marry_a_millionaire5. How to Marry a Millionaire (NR). This 1953 film is just perfection, aside from that whole “women should marry a man for money” thing. Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe play three models looking to land themselves a millionaire. However, as you already know, choosing a mate based on net worth alone doesn’t always work out in one’s best interests. It’s a cute comedy that might be appreciated by the older generation hogging couch space.

Common Sense Media ranks this movie appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Feel free to pass along an suggestions for holiday movie-watching fun!

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The CPS kindergarten application process makes me want to put my head through a wall

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