From impactful cinematography and good editing to a talented cast and an intriguing script, there are many essential elements to keep in mind when making a movie. Generally, a good director strives to show instead of tell. And soundtracks are definitely a big part of the whole process, as they are extremely useful to set a tone for the film.
Every so often a song usage in a film is just so on point that you can’t hear the track without being teleported to that very specific scene of the movie in which it played. Sometimes this is a good thing. Other times? Not so much. From Layer Cake to Reservoir Dogs, there are some films that have done irreversible damage to a well-known song, as shared by Reddit users.
This article contains slight spoilers for the movies it mentions.
“Ordinary World” in ‘Layer Cake’ (2004)
In Matthew Vaughn‘s crime film that follows a successful cocaine dealer played by Daniel Craig, “Ordinary World” by Duran Duran starts playing in the background as a big moment in the movie approaches. Apparently, lots of people agree that the song usage is so good that it is nearly impossible not to think about that particular moment in the film whenever it plays.
On Reddit, u/HighFlyerz reveals with 51 upvotes that the song will forever remind them of the iconic scene: “I will never be able to hear ‘Ordinary World’ by Duran Duran without thinking of a man absolutely beating the sh*t out of some bloke and pouring piping hot tea on his face as he lies in the middle of a café about to die.”
“Hallelujah” in ‘Watchmen’ (2009)
Following six 1985 superheroes with a mission to watch over humanity, Zack Synder‘s action drama Watchmen features one of the most iconic folk-rock songs to date in a very intimate scene between two characters. As it turns out, some viewers were not pleased with the usage of Leonard Cohen‘s legendary song in the R-rated superhero movie.
According to u/talldarkandanxious, “Watchmen destroyed ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen.” The user says “I was never a huge fan of the song to begin with, but now whenever I hear it the image of Patrick Wilson‘s o-face pops into my brain.”
“Sister Christian” in ‘Boogie Nights’ (1997)
Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Boogie Nights is set in 1977 and tackles the pleasure biz by following young Eddie Adams’ (Mark Wahlberg) unusual story as he gets discovered by porn director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds). This comedy-drama features a drug-deal scene in which “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger plays in the background.
While the scene was masterfully put together, it was also unforgettable in a not-so-good way. “Sister Christian as used in Boogie Nights. Man, what an intense scene. Love every minute of it, but damn. Alfred Molina really made that song nerve-racking to get through,” a Redditor revealed when asked what movie ruined a song for them.
“In Dreams” in ‘Blue Velvet’ (1986)
The 1986 crime drama directed by David Lynch follows Kyle MacLachlan‘s character on an investigation associated with a charming singer and a group of criminals who kidnapped her child. Lynch’s feature is a pretty solid one, even if it makes viewers never be able to listen to one of the soundtrack songs the same way again.
On Reddit, several users seem to share the same opinion — on two different posts, u/RonBurgundyNot and u/NoDisintegrationz agree on the fact that Blue Velvet has lowkey ruined the Roy Orbison song. “Blue Velvet with ‘In Dreams’. I really love that song, but now I keep thinking of the movie and it just really spoils the fun,” says the former.
“I Got 5 On It” in ‘Us’ (2019)
Jordan Peele is quickly cementing his name as one of the most talented directors of modern horror, and Us is proof of that — an unpredictable story that leaves viewers on the edge of their seats as it follows a family’s vacation together and the sudden appearance of four doppelgängers.
While it delivers a very engaging storyline, it also counts on a good soundtrack. With 111 votes, u/LexiiConn reflects on the unexpected twists in a particular song by Luniz: “I Got 5 On It was a perfectly fine little tune until they slowed it down and added a few pauses and screeches.”
“Goodbye Horses” in ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ (1991)
Apart from featuring an incredibly talented cast, Jonathan Demme‘s The Silence of the Lambs also relies on good music. Following the very eerie story of a cannibal killer that helps catch another serial killer, Demme’s movie has become a classic through the years. It set a new standard for intelligent villains and using pacing and dialogue to create tension in thrillers.
According to users on the platform, “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzarus set just the right atmosphere in the film: “”goodbye horses” by Q Lazzarus. It was in The Silence of the Lambs. It made that song sooo creepy,” says u/riconoir28.
“Sussudio” in ‘American Psycho’ (2000)
At this point, cult classic American Psycho, starring Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman who is also the narrator, is a mandatory watch for anyone. The movie follows the murderous double life of a New York City investment banking executive and his gigantic psychopathic ego, but not every scene is as rooted in reality as it seems.
Although the soundtrack is not what stands out the most in Mary Harron‘s iconic film, it still offers a few memorable scenes. “I can never listen to Sussudio without immediately thinking of “Don’t just stare at it, eat it,” says u/KyWy75 on the website, with 140 votes.
“Firework” in ‘The Interview’ (2014)
Evan Goldberg‘s The Interview offers a fun look into the lives of Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen), the two heads of celebrity tabloid show “Skylark Tonight”. It was also a controversial movie that didn’t shy away from mocking the politics of North Korea.
With an impressive amount of 411 votes, u/Seankps reveals that the Katy Perry song was never the same after its usage in the film. “Not that I was any sort of Katie Perry fan before, but I’ll probably never hear Firework again without thinking of Kim Jong Un sobbing in The Interview.”
“Singin’ in the Rain” in ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (1971)
A Clockwork Orange‘s legacy remains intact after all these years, and for good reason. Directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick, the dystopian horror crime film adaptation follows a sadistic gang leader. Throughout the years, Kubrick’s remarkable movie has conquered many hearts.
Mentioned in more than three different Reddit posts, Gene Kelly‘s “Singin’ in the Rain'” is one of the most famous tunes that was ruined most by a film. In a most recent one, u/AldredoGarciaReturns shares, “Singing in the Rain being sung by Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange was a complete perversion of such a joyous song.”
“Stuck in the Middle With You” in ‘Reservoir Dogs’ (1992)
There are many things about the impressive Quentin Tarantino directorial debut that revolves around a jewelry heist gone wrong — the soundtrack is arguably one of them.
Stealers Wheel‘s “Stuck in the Middle with You” is a pretty common answer on Reddit. “Stuck in the Middle with You by Stealers Wheel. Love the song, love Reservoir Dogs, but every time I hear this charming little number I just think of a guy’s ear getting brutally cut off. It was the perfect moment in the movie, but I can’t decide whether it made the song worse or more awesome,” u/dexcg says.