Music is a powerful tool. For me, I find so much healing through a good song. Whether the lyrics literally speak to me and give me something to ponder, or the beat just uplifts my spirit, it is something I can always rely on. And I know I’m not alone—there’s so much science behind music and its impact on us; but for me, I’m all about the stories.
Growing up in a family where every member was born in a different decade, I had the opportunity to listen to just about every genre spanning all different time periods. When I spent the summers with my aunt, she would pick me up in her black Daytona while blasting everything from Duran Duran to Papa Roach. When I joined my brother on his way to school in the mornings, we would hear Bananarama’s Cruel Summer almost without fail. When the boy I liked at 22 rejected me for another co-worker, I was left with one parting gift: Mother Mother’s The Stand. And then there was that August where I pulled an all-nighter with my brother to binge watch Elvis movies in honour of my father, which of course gave way to plenty of sing-alongs to the likes of All Shook Up, Trouble, and Return to Sender. As an eight-year old girl, my classmates and I naturally all had to pick a Spice Girl to be (I was Ginger, obviously), but two years later, I was trading in pop tunes to listen to Eminem on repeat as he promised to “destroy” girl and boy groups…errrrrr but then at night, I was back to practicing Janet Jackson’s chair jump from The Pleasure Principle in my basement – not to brag here, but I got realllllyyyy good at that one.
Needless to say, songs have played a huge role in my life. I love music so much that as far as I’m concerned, a movie is about as good as its soundtrack. That’s also why I probably love movies that are based on musical artists (real or fake). I mean, Almost Famous is hands-down one of the best films ever made in my opinion. (Truly, it’s perfection and deserves its own post.) But what about those movies that aren’t necessarily about music, but just have a great music moment? I love those, too! So where am I going with all of this? I guess I just mean to say that it’s easy to dismiss some of these pop culture things as stupid – but we shouldn’t rush to do that. Music and art can really touch your soul when you’re hurting. A good song can bring you back to a moment in time and re-capture some emotion you need to feel again. And sometimes, it just makes your brain do a happy dance so you can re-focus on your work during a break.
So, here are 5 feel-good music moments from movies that I think have the potential to reach you in some way. And if none of these do it for you – have fun and explore your own!
- 500 Days of Summer. In this scene, the main character has fallen in love and well, he’s just gotten laid. Afterwards, he sees happiness everywhere he turns. There’s applause, strangers shaking his hand, home runs being hit, and of course, there’s a crowd of random people who are all dancing in unison to You Make My Dreams Come True. Definitely bound to make you happy.
- That Thing You Do. In this scene, Liv Tyler and all the guys from the band hear their song on the radio and everything takes a back seat so they can collectively celebrate.
- My Best Friend’s Wedding. First of all, Rupert Everett steals the show here. He shows how sex appeal isn’t always about what you look like, but what you do. And even if he annoys Julia Roberts, he’s a hit with everyone else.
- Risky Business. A classic scene – who can’t relate? Don’t we all dance in our underwear to Bob Seger at some point in our lives right before we turn our parents’ home into a brothel? If not, what have you been doing?!
- Dirty Dancing. So, there’s a lot of scenes I could’ve chosen for this one, but I decided to run with a less commonly referenced scene. Watching Jennifer Grey practice dancing to Wipeout is strangely satisfying.
Now, I know I said I would list 5, but let’s be real, I can’t exactly leave it there… I said Almost Famous is one of my favourite movies ever made and it’s all about music – in fact, the very line “all about the music” is featured in the movie and the title of this whole post is really a nod to that moment. But separately, in this scene, one of the band members has just recovered from a bad psychedelic trip. The show must go on, so the tour bus is on its way and everyone decides that singing along to Tiny Dancer is the best way to really move forward and put the past behind them.
Okay, I can stop now… Buuut some honourable mentions include Saturday Night Fever (my favourite moment is when John Travolta rides the subway all night long after losing his buddy while How Deep Is Your Love plays in the background). As a sidenote, I realize this movie is filled with racism, homophobia, and violence against women. Yet, I have to admit that I still must side with Gene Siskel here when I say that from a cinematic point of view, it’s fantastic – and scenes like the one I referenced, which are actually hard to come by online, just prove this to be true! But if this flick is a bit too dark for you, then what about when the preacher from Footloose decides that a prom is finally allowed and all of the town’s teenagers rush to their little abandoned warehouse while I’m Free accompanies them? And of course, in High Fidelity, when Jack Black surprises every other character by performing a hit. A special non-movie shoutout goes to David Copperfield. He almost always had a sexy model with him and in this act, they really revved things up with Who Loves You.
Alright, I’m done for real now. But I’m making myself stop with a lot of effort. I haven’t even touched movies that have good soundtracks or gotten into what my own favourite songs actually are outside of film. This list is just to illustrate the power of taking the right song and pairing it with the right moment to make you feel good. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, have fun and don’t forget to make time for some music and laughter along your way.