I always enjoy IndieWire’s critics surveys and this is an especially good question: What is your favorite example of a bad movie with a great soundtrack? I was not surprised to find Elizabethtown mentioned by Alissa Wilkenson of Christianity Today. I would call Cameron Crowe’s movie more a mess than a complete failure, but as is clear from the autobiographical “Almost Famous,” he got his start writing about music and his soundtracks are always terrific. I enjoyed Mike McGranagan‘s praise for the “Twilight” soundtracks and the thoughts of my friend Dan Kois:
I barely remember anything about Until the End of the World, Wim Wenders’ sort-of road movie, sort-of spy thriller, sort-of apocalypse sci-fi. I remember being really, really disappointed by it when I saw it my senior year in high school. But oh, wow, the soundtrack, which served as rich mixtape fodder that same year: crucial unreleased tracks by R.E.M. and Talking Heads; Elvis Costello doing the Kinks; grim and great Lou Reed, k.d. lang, and Depeche Mode songs; and my first introduction to CAN, Patti Smith, and Nick Cave. Plus that Achtung Baby song, before I got sick of everything on Achtung Baby.
There’s a difference between a soundtrack (that can include songs) and a score. Two movies that are not terrible but not great with outstanding song-based soundtracks are “Boys on the Side” and “Leap of Faith.” My favorite songs from those movies include: