Archive | June, 2014

The 30 Best Movie Songs of the Last 40 Years

29 Jun

It’s no secret that a movie can become that much better when the images on screen are coupled by the right song at the right time. Whether a swooning ballad when the love interests finally kiss, a thunderous anthem as the hero triumphs, or a heart-breaking song of despair when the protagonist’s dreams are dashed, a truly great movie song can enhance any moment.

Although sadly, no song can enhance a Twilight film. Nor can any film be enhanced by a Nickelback song.

This made me ask myself the question: what are the best ever movie songs? This question led me down a rabbit hole that I almost didn’t return from – an idea for a top ten list ballooned into a top thirty list. Even that was only possible by restricting myself to the last forty years of film music and savagely excluding some of my personal favourite songs for a more rational list. (Trust me, if there was any way of justifying the inclusion of Partners in Kryme’s Turtle Power I would have done it.)

Here are the ground rules:

  1. To qualify a song must be written for the film in which it appeared and for which it was made famous (although in some cases I’ve allowed remakes made especially for a film if they were so good their omission would be criminal). In other words, if a movie used an existing song – even iconically – it could not be considered for this list. Sorry Bohemian Rhapsody and Wayne’s World. Also, even though the Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody was written for a film (Unchained) it would not qualify because everyone associates it with the movie Ghost. And kinky pottery.
  2. All Disney cartoon films are out. In fact, all animated films are out, period. Nothing personal, it just seems like an unfair advantage as there are so many. Perhaps enough for a separate list one day…
  3. Instrumental songs and motifs do not count. That will definitely make a list one day.
  4. Songs must have been released in the last forty years. Yes, sadly that needed to be pointed out.
  5. Bonus points given to songs whose popularity has endured over time, and songs inexorably linked to the films in which they appeared.

Note: references to Academy Awards, Grammies and Golden Globes are references to the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Grammy for Best Song Written for a Visual Media (or its predecessor), and the Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Other Grammy awards have not been taken into account, and it should be noted that the Grammy was not awarded prior to 1988.

So buckle up, slide on your Beats by Dres, practice your Grammy acceptance speech, and see which songs ultimately made the list.  Click on the next page below to kick things off.

(Disagree? Leave your comments and tell the world what should and should not have made the list.)

So You Think You Know the X-Men Films? A Quiz.

12 Jun


Terrible US Baby Names of 2013

6 Jun

The US Department of Social Security just released their annual list of names for babies born in 2013. As is the case every year, among the regular Joes and Janes were a multitude of names so ridiculous, they could all have been replaced with the name ‘My Parents Hate Me’.

One thing to bear in mind: for privacy reasons, Social Security will not release names unless at least five different children were given the exact same name. This means that it’s more than just one weird couple calling their children stupid names like Coal or Blimi (actually it was 11 stupid couples calling their son Coal and 12 their daughter Blimi). That’s a lot of stupid!

One thing the list revealed was that there were a lot of trends when it came to trying to come up with a unique moniker for children. As per usual, there was the tactic of taking everyday words and deciding, ‘Meh – that’ll do for a name.’ How is that done? It’s easy.

Perfect baby name - for a boy *or* girl!

Perfect baby name – for a boy or girl!

Fancy a name for your child that is a rarity, but has charm? That will be the envy of others but bring happiness to your ears? Beautiful, or full of power, or spring to mind images of freedom? There is a reason why US parents have chosen to bless their children with the names they have.

Look closely at the above paragraph, and you will spot 12 baby names that somehow made the list. Go on, re-read it and see if you can guess what they are. I’ll wait.

Not sure? Here they are. There were five girls named Fancy, seven named Rarity and a whopping 26 named Charm. Eight girls named Happiness, six boys named Power, 16 girls named Spring, 17 lads named Freedom, another five named Reason, and five girls named Chosen. I hope you’re sitting down: 22 kids were named Bless, and they were all boys!

And to prove that correct spelling is entirely optional, seven girls were named Envie and 15 called Beautifull. I’m confident that none of those 15 sets of parents misspelt the name by design.

In fact, terrible spelling was another trend that continues after years of the English language being tortured for the sake of differentiating children’s names. Like the name Jason but want to be different? How about spelling it Jceion like 10 couples did last year. Sam a little bit too plain? Try Zam instead. Enjoy the name Zachary but don’t want to be like the more than 5000 other couples that gave their son that name? Give Zaccari, Zacharey, Zackarie, Zacorey, or Zacorie a go. I’m surprised no one’s tried Xachary.

In fact, why not combine bad spelling with random words to create a stupid name double whammy! Sixteen girls last year began their Jurney and 17 are a Trezure. Five are a Cymphony, and five others are a Rebelle (a badass, but feminine!). Eight boys are Tuf, five were called Zepplin, and five will be known as Kaptain until they’re old enough to legally change their names.

Another trend that has been prevalent over the years is to name children after popular TV and film characters of the time. Surprisingly, last year over 60 girls were named after Wreck-It-Ralph’s Vanellope. (Sadly, the register was silent on babies named Wreck-It-Ralph.)

Less surprising, I suppose, is the number of children named after Game of Thrones characters. There were well over 1000 Aryas, 241 Khaleesis, 67 girls named Daenerys, eight Briennes and five boys named Robb. Imagine the carnage if they all met.

Unforgivingly, fifteen boys were given the name Theon. That’s just mean. Of all the characters in the Game of Thrones canon, why hope your child would be like him? If someone ever calls their kid Joffrey they should immediately be placed into custody.

Seriously, don't you just want to punch this guy in the face?

Seriously, don’t you just want to punch this guy in the face?

However, for me, the most egregious crimes were these: 14 kids were called Andrew, and 18 called Isabella. What’s so bad about that? you might say. Sure, Andrew is a proud, traditional name, and Isabella is a beautiful, feminine classic. The problem is, the 14 babies called Andrew were girls, and the 18 Isabellas were boys. You’d better believe those kids are getting beaten up at school.

Probably by those pricks named Theon.