12 Movies Where the Soundtrack Was the Only Good Part
These are the films whose soundtracks struck a chord, even when the movie itself fell flat.
1. The Room (2003)
The Room, famously known as one of the worst films ever made, has developed a cult following thanks to its unintentional hilarity and cringe-worthy performances. But, the soundtrack of this disasterpiece is surprisingly good, filled with sultry 90s-inspired R&B tracks that lend the film an undeserved veneer of romantic drama.
These earnest tunes give the impression that they've stumbled into the wrong party but decided to make the most of it anyway. So, while Tommy Wiseau's bizarre performance as Johnny is unforgettable for all the wrong reasons, the film's smooth, soulful soundtrack is memorable for being remarkably decent.
2. Queen of the Damned (2002)
Queen of the Damned bit off more than it could chew, failing to live up to its source material, Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. The movie is a mess of gothic clichés and unintentional comedy, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of a mere 17%. But, oh, the soundtrack! Spearheaded by Jonathan Davis of Korn, the music is a roll call of early 2000s nu-metal and goth rock talent, with the likes of Marilyn Manson, Chester Bennington, and David Draiman contributing tracks.
3. Batman Forever (1995)
While the movie had some over-the-top performances and lacked the darker tone fans loved about Batman, its soundtrack was nothing short of legendary. The film's chart-topping soundtrack included the likes of U2, Seal, and The Flaming Lips, bringing an auditory experience far superior to the visual one. Seal's Kiss from a Rose not only won three Grammy Awards but also remains one of the most memorable ballads of the 90s. A high note, indeed, in an otherwise flat film.
4. Glitter (2001)
Glitter was Mariah Carey's ill-advised venture into film, a rags-to-riches tale of a young singer. This movie hit a sour note, to say the least, with a cringe-worthy script and wooden acting. It was a commercial failure, racking up a measly worldwide gross of $5.3 million against a $22 million budget.
However, Carey's soundtrack album for the film was a beacon of light in this cinematic darkness. It showcased her unparalleled vocal talents, with Never Too Far and Loverboy becoming standout tracks. The soundtrack, much like Carey herself, was the ultimate diva, outshining the film by a country mile.
5. Jupiter Ascending (2015)
The Wachowski siblings' Jupiter Ascending has been widely panned as a cinematic calamity, with a convoluted plot involving space royalty, wolf-human hybrids, and a lot of bees. Despite its impressive star power, the film's execution was as elegant as a bull in a china shop, reflected in its 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, Michael Giacchino's lush, sweeping score is a saving grace in this sci-fi mishap. The Oscar-winning composer crafted a soundtrack that's far grander than the film deserves, full of soaring strings and majestic horns.
6. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
The Transformers sequel was bigger and louder than its predecessor, but not necessarily better. The plot was as messy as a scrapyard, and the dialogue was about as subtle as a Decepticon attack. Despite raking in over $800 million worldwide, it sits at a dismal 20% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie's redeeming factor? Its soundtrack. The film boasted tunes from Linkin Park, Green Day, and The Fray, creating a robust rock compilation that outshone the movie's bombastic fight sequences.
7. Freejack (1992)
A cinematic anomaly, Freejack, was a peculiar blend of sci-fi and action, with a plot involving body-snatching from the past for use in the future. The film, unfortunately, was as coherent as that sounds, and it was a box office flop. But the soundtrack was something else altogether. A solid collection of rock tunes from bands like Scorpions, Jesus Jones, and Little Feat, it was far more memorable than the film's oddball premise.
8. Twilight (2008)
Despite the worldwide popularity of the Twilight series, the first movie was awkward and heavy-handed, failing to translate the book's appeal to the big screen. However, it was a massive commercial success, grossing over $390 million worldwide. The film's soundtrack was its clear standout, curated by Alexandra Patsavas. It offered an array of indie rock tracks from bands like Muse, Paramore, and Linkin Park, contributing significantly to the melancholic atmosphere that many fans loved.
9. The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
It's hard to adapt a beloved stage musical to the screen, as Joel Schumacher found out with The Phantom of the Opera. Despite the grandeur of the sets and costumes, the film lacked the emotional depth of its stage counterpart, and Gerard Butler's raspy Phantom was a letdown. However, Andrew Lloyd Webber's hauntingly beautiful score was impeccably translated into the film. Songs like The Music of the Night, Think of Me, and All I Ask of You remained as poignant and moving as ever. Despite the film's lukewarm reception, the soundtrack shone as brightly as the Phantom's mask.
10. Garden State (2004)
Zach Braff's directorial debut, Garden State, was a contemplative exploration of alienation and connection, which some viewers found navel-gazing and pretentious. However, its soundtrack was universally acclaimed. Handpicked by Braff himself, it featured indie giants like The Shins, Iron & Wine, and Frou Frou. The tracks complemented the film's introspective tone perfectly and left a longer-lasting impression. If the film was an aimless journey, then the soundtrack was the exquisite scenery along the way.
11. Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Fifty Shades of Grey was a critical flop, offering more cringe than carnality. It was deemed a disappointment by many fans of the book, and critics were unimpressed, as its 24% Rotten Tomatoes score suggests. But the soundtrack was a different story. With tracks from Ellie Goulding, The Weeknd, and Beyoncé, the music provided a steamy backdrop that the film couldn't live up to. Earned It by The Weeknd even earned an Oscar nomination. When the on-screen chemistry fizzled, the soundtrack was there to keep the heat up.
12. Sucker Punch (2011)
Sucker Punch was Zack Snyder's CGI-heavy, plot-light extravaganza that left audiences and critics confused. The movie was a jumbled, chaotic mix of fantasy and reality that ultimately failed to deliver a punch. However, the film's soundtrack was a standout. A medley of cover songs performed by stars Emily Browning and Carla Gugino, as well as artists like Björk and Queen, it provided a musical backdrop as eclectic as the film's visuals. Amid the narrative chaos, the soundtrack delivered a harmony that the film sorely lacked.