After we heard that Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere won the Venice Film Festival, we were like, “Duh. They used the acoustic version of ‘You Only Live Once’ by The Strokes in the trailer. That movie is going to blow minds.”
And, you know, seeing as the film did take home the grand prize, there’s a good chance that it is halfway decent. But it doesn’t matter. Did you watch that trailer? That Strokes song makes it seem like the most powerful flick ever!
And sometimes, one undeniable jam is all you need to get people fired up to see a new movie, as evidenced by these five great movie trailers made all that much greater with incredible song choices.
Adaptation – “Under Pressure” by Queen
It’s important that the song in a movie trailer has certain sentimentality to it, and there are some songs that emotionally engage even your most emotionally crippled friend. (We’re talking about David.)
“Under Pressure” is a kickass rock ballad from 1981, so you know the target audience of the film (30 – 45-year-old males, obviously) were all coming-of-age and figuring themselves out and generally experiencing a lot of (OMG!) pressure when the song first came out. As if everybody doesn’t freakin’ love this song as it is.
Spike Jonez is a smart, smart man.
Where the Wild Things Are - “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire
Speaking of Spike Jonez, y’all remember how hard the trailer for this little movie rocked your face? The Wild Rompus began in the hearts of millions when this trailer hit the Internet.
We don’t even particularly care for Arcade Fire (still really digging on Records by Foreigner), but we can admit that there was no way we weren’t researching adult footie pajamas and clearing Oct. 13, 2009 on our calendars within 11 seconds of the first time we saw this shit.
Pineapple Express – “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.
Even if you have a solid movie (and this one was legit funny), you can make even the crappiest movie appealing by using whatever music it is hipsters are listening to when they want to get loose. That’s also how Apple got us all to buy iPods, which are probably giving us cancer and stealing our social security numbers as we speak, but that’s a conversation for a different day.
Slumdog Millionaire recycled the same song, and M.I.A. actually won an Oscar for her part (and the song’s part) in the movie’s soundtrack. So there’s that, too.
Singles – “Dyslexic Heart” by Paul Westerberg
There are certain songs that are catchy and anthem-y enough that it doesn’t matter that they’re not already recognizable hits when you put them in your trailer. Someone’s always going to ask, “What’s that song in that trailer? I really like that song. I’m going to request it on the radio. That catchy song that I never heard until recently is my new favorite. I’m going to see that movie. That movie looks so good, and I love that song.” (Shut up, Rebecca, and lose my number. You are so annoying.)
If you’re as lucky as Cameron Crowe, the song you pick will jerk your mind immediately back to mid-’90s Seattle whenever you hear it after.
Untamed Heart – “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega
This is the perfect example of what we’re talking about. Untamed Heart came out in 1993, but if you so much as say the name, those “do do do do, do do do do”s start playing in our heads. If they don’t go with classic or epic or bangin’, infectious and a little weird is a pretty good back-up.
While most trailers save the good jams for the last 30 seconds or so, this song runs throughout the entire trailer, giving you plenty of time to get that sing-talky sound stuck in your head.
It’s been 17 years. Can we please be freed of this curse?