American Graffiti (1973)
- Why I love it: I must admit, I don’t actually own this soundtrack — but that’s only because I already own nearly every track, having bought them as a fan of the artists. It’s as though they’ve crafted the perfect playlist from the ever-expanding oldies section of my music library, saving me the time and effort of compiling the songs myself.
- Top Track: Del Shannon – “Runaway”
- Why I love it: Tim Curry is one of my favorite people to ever grace this earth, and he’s perfectly on-point as Dr. Frank, which is enough reason for me to want to own 300 copies of this soundtrack. (Not really, but you get the point.) He’s kooky, and the film’s quirky, and the songs are phenomenal to sing along to.
- Top Track: “Over at the Frankenstein Place”
- Why I love it: My love for this film knows no bounds. It’s the perfect slice of cheese, and the soundtrack accounts for a lot of that perfection.
- Top Track: It’s a tie: Frankie Avalon – “Beauty School Dropout” or “We Go Together”
Purple Rain (1984)
- Why I love it: Prince can do no wrong, and these are some of his best songs.
- Top Track: Gotta go with the title track – “Purple Rain”
Sleepless In Seattle (1993)
- Why I love it: I still have this on the original cassette tape. It’s just all-around great. Jimmy Durante, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole… is more description even needed?
- Top Track: Jimmy Durante – “Make Someone Happy”
That Thing You Do! (1996)
- Why I love it: As you may remember from my review of the film, I was super impressed by this soundtrack because it accomplishes both a successful parody of the genre it portrays and songs that can stand on their own. My opinion hasn’t changed since then. This soundtrack continues to keep my toes tapping.
- Top Track: The Wonders – “All My Only Dreams”
- Why I love it: Two volumes of ’80s awesomeness, plus Adam Sandler singin’ his little heart out to Drew Barrymore on a plane… what’s not to love? The Wedding Singer is one of those films where the action is so heavily interwoven with the music that every song on the soundtrack instantly recalls the scene in which it was played.
- Top Track: Culture Club – “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?”
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
- Why I love it: The soundtrack opens with a song about puppies, which automatically wins me over. Throw in Jimmy Durante, Bobby Darin, Louis Armstrong and the Cranberries and you’ve caught me for good. This is just a great compilation of songs, whether you’ve seen the movie or not and/or loved the movie or not.
- Top Track: Jimmy Durante – “You Made Me Love You”
O’ Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
- Why I love it: As I’ve discussed here before, I spent a pretty good chunk of my childhood living in the South, so I have a nostalgic weakness for country music. Add to that the fact that this film came out when I lived in the South, it’s one of my favorite films AND the songs still hold up even though my music tastes have greatly changed in the years since the film was released.
- Top Track: “In the Jailhouse Now”
Walk the Line (2005)
- Why I love it: I’m a huge fan of Johnny Cash and June Carter. I respect Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix for doing their own vocals, and their renditions of the songs are solid. The bonus Shooter Jennings doesn’t hurt either — he has a great voice.
- Top Track: It’s a three-way tie! Reese Witherspoon – “Wildwood Flower”; Reese and Joaquin – “It Ain’t Me Babe”; and Shooter Jennings – “I’m a Long Way From Home.”
Music and Lyrics (2007)
- Why I love it: Because every time I see or hear about Hugh Grant, “PoP! Goes My Heart” automatically gets stuck in my head. It’s a catchy ’80s pop parody, and even Haley Bennett’s trash-pop songs on the soundtrack are tolerable due to the hilarity of their lyrics. Very fun film, with a very fun soundtrack to match.
- Top Track: Another tie! “PoP! Goes My Heart” or Hugh Grant and Haley Bennett “Way Back Into Love”
The Hunger Games (2012)
- Why I love it: This is the soundtrack that made me want to write this list. I purchased it after watching the film last weekend, though I was planning on getting it anyway. They had me at “The Secret Sisters, The Civil Wars and Miranda Lambert on the same disc.” Even in the instances where the lyrics don’t completely suit the storyline, the mood of every song suits the film perfectly. A fairly diverse array of artists come together on this soundtrack, and it works out brilliantly. I’ve also discovered a few artists I hadn’t heard of before through this.
- Top Track: The Secret Sisters – “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder”
Disclaimer: Amazon is not paying me, though they do own the MP3-buying fraction of my little heart.
Pre-1970 list coming soon. I do realize that I’m backwards. And feel free to leave your favorites as a reply!