Good movies with better music needed
April 22, 2010 11:48 AM   Subscribe

What are some movies that I can watch just to listen to the soundtrack? Doesn't have to be a musical, but musicals are fine.

The key thing is, I don't really want to watch the movie, I might just want to fold clothes or do my taxes, I just want something on, but I would like the music to be good. I was thinking of some 80's movies like The Breakfast Club, or Grosse Pointe Blank? What else?
posted by Goodgrief to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
from my soundtracks folder:

dazed and confused
garden state
hedwig and the angry inch
high fidelity
pulp fiction
royal tenenbaums
she's the one
wedding singer
posted by nadawi at 11:54 AM on April 22, 2010

Almost anything qualifies if you've seen it before, right? Good Danny Elfman score like BEETLEJUICE or a talking head documentary with a great soundtrack like SEPTEMBER ISSUE.

However, if you're not already acquainted with , you should be. It's my go to when I need to be distracted but I can't watch anything due to a migraine.
posted by Gucky at 11:54 AM on April 22, 2010

Once, Reality Bites, Dan In Real Life.
posted by koselig at 11:57 AM on April 22, 2010

Stealing Beauty
American Beauty
posted by scarykarrey at 11:58 AM on April 22, 2010

The End of Violence is a terrible movie with a fantastic soundtrack.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:59 AM on April 22, 2010

I second Danny Elfman and also recommend movies with scores by Hans Zimmer. You may already be familiar with his work, e.g., on films like Gladiator, The Lion King, Sherlock Holmes, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.
posted by carmicha at 12:00 PM on April 22, 2010

I don't really get why you'd want to actually turn the movie on rather than just listening to the soundtrack, but most Blaxploitation films from the early 70s have excellent funk soundtracks. For example the Black Caesar soundtrack is by James Brown and Superfly is by Cutris Mayfield. Also I would throw in The Harder They Come if you like reggae.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:08 PM on April 22, 2010

Pretty much any Jonathan Demme movie.
posted by Skot at 12:09 PM on April 22, 2010

The Virgin Suicides, SLC Punk, Gattaca, Walking and Talking, Love Jones, pretty much anything Craig Wedren has worked on, but First Love, Last Rites, High Art, and Velvet Goldmine are particular favorites of mine.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 12:13 PM on April 22, 2010

I remember being blown away by Neil Young's soundtrack to Dead Man. Oddly enough, though, it only works with the movie -- not on its own.
posted by AwkwardPause at 12:13 PM on April 22, 2010

Searching for Bobby Fischer, Garden State.
posted by unixrat at 12:16 PM on April 22, 2010

Open Water
posted by franklen at 12:25 PM on April 22, 2010

The Assault on Precinct 13 (original, not the dreadful remake) DVD allows you to watch the movie with just the awesome music track.

If you don't like synthesizers, though, then forget I mentioned it.
posted by Dreamcast at 12:28 PM on April 22, 2010

Koyaanisqatsi. And it's more of a score than a sound track.
posted by Damn That Television at 12:28 PM on April 22, 2010

Another movie with a great soundtrack: Until the End of the World.

Oh, and Trainspotting.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:29 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Witness with Harrison Ford, or any Peter Weir movie for that matter.
posted by Melismata at 12:42 PM on April 22, 2010

Seconding Sticherbeast about Until the End of the World having a great soundtrack. I am also quite fond of the All about my Mother and Rushmore.
posted by msali at 12:49 PM on April 22, 2010

What about musicals? West Side Story and Chicago are go-tos for me. As well as Stop Making Sense which is more of a live performance doc than what it seems you're asking for. Watch it anyway, repeatedly, all the time.

As far as soundtracks: Rushmore, Virgin Suicides, Do the Right Thing (Public Enemy), One From the Heart (Tom Waits), Anatomy of a Murder (Duke Ellington)
posted by Juicy Avenger at 12:49 PM on April 22, 2010

All of Wes Anderson's movies and The Graduate.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 12:58 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Once, Reality Bites, Dan In Real Life.

2nd all of these.

I'll add:
Fight Club
Almost any Tarantino flick, though the non-music in them can be distracting.
The Big Lebowski
The Matrix

Cheaty picks:
Across the Universe
In the Shadow of Motown
Rattle & Hum
Let it Be (or Help)
posted by DigDoug at 12:58 PM on April 22, 2010

The Last Waltz. It is incredible.
posted by sallybrown at 1:08 PM on April 22, 2010

Donnie Darko
The Triplets of Belleville
posted by matildaben at 1:28 PM on April 22, 2010

The Blues Brothers
The Wall
posted by LN at 1:29 PM on April 22, 2010

My wife will sometimes put on our Legends of the Fall DVD just to listen to the soundtrack in the background. Really.
posted by Spyder's Game at 1:33 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Terrence Davies' Of Time and the City.
posted by everichon at 1:41 PM on April 22, 2010

Nthing Legends of the Fall.

Harold and Maude (if you like Cat Stevens)

McCabe and Mrs. Miller (if you like Leonard Cohen)

The Big Chill (if you like 60's hits)

Rain Man

posted by marsha56 at 1:55 PM on April 22, 2010

Cowboy Bebop, movie or episodes.
posted by jacalata at 2:06 PM on April 22, 2010

the english patient
pride and prejudice (2005 version)
the last of the mohicans
any miyazaki movie, really (totoro, nausicaa, castle in the sky, etc)
posted by raw sugar at 2:10 PM on April 22, 2010

Grand Canyon and Lost in Translation have great soundtrack CDs -- the first for the score, the second for the rock selections. Which are you after, exactly? And do you want a video for just listening to, or are you seeking soundtrack recordings? If the latter, my favorite of all time is the one Bernard Herrmann created for Fahrenheit 451 (in fact, he's the master, if you're looking for scores) but I don't mind puttering about just listening to its DVD, as well. Another great soundtrack recording is the one Philip Glass contributed to for The Truman Show (but like many soundtrack recordings, it's ruined for casual listening by the inclusion of one out-of-place, irritating track. The prime example of this in my circle is the various soundtrack recordings for Blade Runner, all of which have One More Kiss Dear; but lately I'm thinking the more egregious example is On Her Majesty's Secret Service because of Does Anyone Know Where Christmas Trees?)
posted by Rash at 2:39 PM on April 22, 2010

If you like the Clash or Joe Strummer, The Future Is Unwritten. We bought the soundtrack before seeing it, but it's worth watching too.
posted by immlass at 3:42 PM on April 22, 2010

purple rain
posted by elle.jeezy at 5:01 PM on April 22, 2010

Almost Famous
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:15 PM on April 22, 2010

Morvern Callar
posted by sacrifix at 7:04 PM on April 22, 2010

I think there was a question about this at some point...some guy who worked a kindof repetitive job wanted good movies to rip the audio from so he could listen to them at work.
posted by radioamy at 8:09 PM on April 22, 2010

The Commitments, Once (Coincidentally, both of these movies feature Glen Hansard!)
posted by platinum at 11:41 PM on April 22, 2010

Surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet, but: The Fountain

The soundtrack is composed by Clint Mansell and performed by The Kronos Quartet and Mogwai. It's the most hauntingly beautiful soundtrack I've heard. As enjoyable as the movie was, I find myself appreciating the soundtrack far more.

If you're thinking of something more light-hearted or song oriented, Empire Records is a really fun movie and the dialog and music is great, even if your eyes aren't glued to the screen. The soundtrack stands on it's own well enough too.
posted by sprocket87 at 6:24 AM on April 23, 2010

Ugh, it's = its. Sorry.
posted by sprocket87 at 6:25 AM on April 23, 2010

If you like cool music, try Elevator to the Gallows. Miles Davis makes the coolest sad music ever.
posted by Locative at 12:02 PM on April 29, 2010

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