I can think of a lot of great movie soundtracks. Unfortunately, as I'm mentally reviewing them, I'm rather hard-pressed to think of a great movie with an equally great soundtrack. In fact, the soundtracks in my mind surpass the movies they represent.
#1 — Any John Hughes Film. I don't care if it's "Pretty in Pink" or "The Breakfast Club" or even "St. Elmo's Fire", the music really makes the movie. Listening to the music brings back every emo 1980s feeling you ever had about being from the wrong side of the tracks, geeky, or just in debt because you were banging your boss. When you sing along, it's like you're LIVING Samatha's Long Duck Dong nightmare, and your panties are being used inappropriately by the geek.
#2 — Fast Times at Ridgemont High. This is just spectacular. Then again, would you expect anything less from a former Rolling Stone writer? Cameron Crowe managed to pull together a soundtrack that enhanced the movie, without becoming metaphors for it. The same can be said for "Almost Famous."
#3 — American Graffiti. The way the music moved the night along was so inspired. I loved how previously released music was used to invoke nostalgia. Even better? Wolf Man Jack!
#4 — Austin Powers/Josie and the Pussycats. These are super fun soundtracks that I don't necessarily connect to the movies. In fact, they stand alone as stuff I just like to listen to. OK, I don't listen to Josie and the Pussycats. That would be my husband. 🙂 Yes, he's a man. In fact, right now he's playing it for me so that I can really get how well-done the music was.
#5 — Dummy. I have to put this because Mike Ruekberg wrote and performed a lot of the music on it. He's from my neck of the woods and a friend of my BFF, Cassie. He deserves a shout out because his music is really catchy. Not that I saw the movie, but I do listen to the soundtrack often.
#6 — Purple Rain. OK, it's true that this should have been #1. It's original; it moves the action forward; and it's integral to the movie. Unfortunately, while much (not all) of the album has stood the test of time, the movie hasn't. Also, point just have to be deducted for not including any of the other awesome music (HEL-LO Morris Day and the Time?) on the soundtrack. Brother could have used to share the spotlight. Then again, he did let Morris Day mock him and nail his girl. Maybe that counts as even?