5 Soundtracks That Were Better Than the Movies

Categories: Lists

As anticipation grows for the release of Brad Pitt's zombie epic, World War Z, he's been singing the praises of the work Muse has done for the movie's soundtrack. Pitt recently called Muse's involvement "nice kismet." Given who's involved, we think he's either crazy or exaggerating -- a lot. And given what kind of flick this is, it might be a good time to look back at five pictures whose soundtracks were actually better than the movies.

Batman Forever

What a hideous fucking movie this 1995 outing was -- long, profoundly irritating, snooze-worthy and, oh yeah, Val Kilmer as Batman. Truly groan-worthy. In contrast, the soundtrack was awash with gems. People mostly remember Seal's "Kiss from a Rose" and U2's "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me," but we're mostly impressed that a very mainstream blockbuster movie threw in PJ Harvey's "One Time Too Many," Sunny Day Real Estate's "8," Mazzy Star's "Tell Me Now," and -- oh, hells yes -- Nick Cave's "There is a Light." Bold choices, soundtrack folk.

Marie Antoinette

Sofia Coppola's soundtracks are always awash with stellar, dark choices. Marie Antoinette was an interesting enough prospect -- a hypercolor vision of 18th Century French royality, positioned from an unmistakably youthful perspective. The problem was, it was entirely overshadowed by the awesomeness of a soundtrack that didn't really work with the content. Offerings from Siouxsie & the Banshees and Adam & the Ants kinda-sorta-almost worked, but tracks from Jesus & Mary Chain, Bow Wow Wow, Gang of Four, and the Strokes just made us want to turn off the movie and go listen to records instead.

Purple Rain

Go on. Watch it again. We dare you. This is one of the most preposterous movies ever made, in no small part due the rampant misogyny involved and all that stuff about purifying oneself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. The soundtrack, however -- as the world knows -- contains some of Prince's greatest moments. The Purple One rightfully won the Original Song Score Oscar for "Purple Rain," but the Academy wouldn't have touched the actual movie with a long poking stick.


The 1992 soundtrack for this thing was totally zeitgeist-capturing, It was a who's who of grunge -- Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, Alice In Chains, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees -- that also gave nods to more underground artists, like The Lovemongers and Paul Westerberg. The movie wasn't awful and Chris Cornell and members of Pearl Jam made cute appearances in it, but the storyline just didn't rock nearly as hard as the soundtrack had promised.


This self-conscious and contrived 1998 political satire is a film in which Warren Beatty raps (raps!) -- that's pretty much all you need to know. The soundtrack, however, was huge. RZA, Eve, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, LL Cool J, Canibus -- this thing was insane. Pras, Mya and ODB's "Ghetto Supastar" topped charts and went platinum all over the world. The movie, however, was quickly forgotten. 

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