There are so many musical films with great song and dance numbers, but there are also non-musical films with standout, often unexpected, weird, funny, life affirming moments where music is the absolute star of the moment. These are MY top 8 music moments in non-musical films.
8. Song: Day by Day by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak from the musical, Godspell
Movie: Wet Hot American Summer
I love this entire movie. My college roommate introduced it to me as "one of the funniest things you'll ever see," and she wasn't wrong. In this comedy, set in 1981, on the last day of Camp Firewood, the film follows all the camp counselors around as they try to tie up their adult baggage while governing the children in their care. At the camp talent show, the art director has been riding the kids hard constantly wanting them to meet some unattainable standard of perfection with their musical number, and finally everything appears to be going well for the kids with the audience really getting into it...until, LOL!
7. Song: Banana Boat Song (Day O) by Harry Belafonte
I think this would definitely be freaky if it happened to you in real life. Adam and Barbara die in a car accident and end up stuck as spirits in their house. When some obnoxious people buy the house, they decide with the help of crazy spirit Beetlejuice, to try and scare them out anyway they know how. Just the looks on all their faces as their bodies start to move beyond their control and they mouth the words to what is a pretty innocuous song. Such a weird little fun movie (wouldn't expect anything less from Tim Burton).
6. Song: Add It Up by the Violent Femmes
Movie: Reality Bites
I think this is one of the best F-U moments in film, especially since it's just done through song. The main character, Lelania has been struggling with finding a job after graduating form college and trying to figure out who she is and what she wants out of the two guys in her life; good guy exec Michael or bad boy Troy who's an aloof moocher who can't really form any good relationships with anybody he sleeps with. Even though she's with Michael, Troy and Lelania end up finally sleeping together after so much back and fourth and she thinks they've finally connected, but he turns up cold and distant ditching her like a one night stand like he did with all the other girls he slept with before her. During their fight over the situation, Michael unexpectedly turns up at the bar Troy is playing in, and Troy takes it as Lelania is judging him for his behavior, but she's still unsure about being with with the dope he thinks is Michael. He takes it all out on Lelania in a song he dedicates to her knowing Michael is right there and is probably going to figure it out if he hasn't already.
5. Song: Afternoon Delight by Starland Vocal Band
Movie: Anchorman 2
Ron Burgandy explains what it's like to be in love the only know he ways how, through song. It's just priceless how serious the guys all are as they are singing this, and then of course they don't 'get it.'
4. Song: Under Pressure by David Bowie & Queen
Movie: It's Kind of a Funny Story
I think this is one of the better mental health films because it isn't just like a you go get help and suddenly everything is solved and right with the world again sort of thing. It's a process and sometimes a very long and repetitive one that you get to see some of in this film even behind the comedy bits of it. Craig checks himself into a youth mental health facility after claiming he's stressed and pressure filled and wants to kill himself, but he ends up in the adult ward because the youth ward is closed. Realizing he's surrounded by "real crazies," he just wants to leave and fights the mandatory hold, fights to keep everything a secret from his friends, fights the healing process but finally in this fantastical turning point immortalized perfectly by "under pressure," he sort of starts to get it, that he can't live like he's been living or he'll end up like the very people he's seeing in the ward with him.
3. Song: Tiny Dancer by Elton John
Movie: Almost Famous
I've been on many long exhausting road trips with school, with scouts, with family in my lifetime, and there is always this point you reach where everyone is just tired of being crammed in the car or bus and everyone is deathly silent...but then your song comes on, and you have one of these beautiful moments where everyone's all in. The music gives you just that bit of energy to keep pushing until you reach your destination. In this case, the Band Still Water has just had a crazy night where their lead singer decided to detour to some random kids house party, and the band collects him, pissed, needing to get back on tour, needing him to get his sh*t together, and they're on the bus all sort of mulling over their thoughts when Tiny Dancer comes on. Just a really beautiful moment.
2. Song: I Say A Little Prayer by Diana King
Movie: My Best Friend's Wedding
I absolutely love this scene, it's my number 2 after all, but I used to think there was no way stuff like this really happened in real life where you have a group of randomish people who just sort of all know the same song, all know the words perfectly, all sing the right keys sort of deal, and then someone hops on piano, but this actually happened to me once when I was at an old job setting up for an event and a song came on the radio and just randomly some 15 people all started singing and one of the guys in the hired band started playing the tune too in harmony all at once, and I was like, this is MBFW moment right here!!! LOL.
Soo, at this point in the movie, Julianne (Julia Roberts) made a promise with her college friend to marry him if they were both single at 28, and she's still single and he calls her up one day and she thinks this is it, but he tells her instead he's marrying someone else and will she come to the wedding. She's in shock and decides she wants him more than anything beyond just her fall back plan. So to somehow win him over, she concocts this story that her (gay) friend George is actually her lover. George is not to amused at the thought of being a pawn in her scheme of crazy, but to get back at her, he plays this overly lovey dovey romantic to her. When asked how they met over dinner, George hams it up and the family eats it up much to Julianne's chagrin.
1. Song: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
Movie: Waynes World
This is hands down by far the personification of a great song, the right movie, the right people, and a simple set-up that everyone can relate to to really bring home the epicness of a song. There was a whole generation including myself that had never heard of this song or Queen before the movie came out, but who can't relate to rocking out to your favorite song with your best friends in a car. And this is literally how just about everyone sings Bohemian Rhapsody. Absolutely perfect in my book and will probably always be my best ever musical moment in a non-musical movie!