“Theme From Shaft,” Isaac Hayes
MGM was behind this film, it made a ton of money at the box office, Isaac Hayes won an Oscar for the theme song, and yet the movie itself looks like crap. Maybe it’s the lousy VHS copies I’ve viewed over the years, but I thought for a “major motion picture” the production values would have been better. After a quick Wiki search, I learned that MGM budgeted the film at a little over $1.1 million, so perhaps they weren’t expecting the film to do much in terms of box office action. Twelve million dollars later, MGM rode the, um, Shaft cash cow home for two film sequels and a few TV movies. Damn right!
“You Should Be Dancing,” Bee Gees
When Saturday Night Fever came out, I’m sure people were drawn to it for the dancing and the music — and didn’t bother to notice the R rating. Paramount Pictures, with a successful soundtrack screaming up the charts, was certainly getting an earful from “the suits” at Gulf & Western, who were probably pushing for a re-edit of the film so younger kids and grandmothers could see it. They got their way with a PG version a year later.
“Canned Heat,” Jamiroquai
Most of the reviews I read for Napoleon Dynamite hardly praised the story. They generally liked Jon Heder’s performance as the title character, but thought the plot was boring and flat. Apparently, those critics never understood the magic and skill that a “liger” possesses. Gosh!
“Maniac,” Michael Sembello
Back when VH1 used to show Pop-Up Video, they had this one pop-up bubble that said “Maniac” was written for a slasher movie. Huh? I guess Sembello had to rework the lyrics to mention things like a “steel-town girl on a Saturday night” and tie in the fact that she may be a maniac — but only on the dance floor. I wonder what happened to the slasher film. Paging Michael Sembello! Popdose wants an interview to ask you this and other important questions.Â For one thing, did you like Flashdance? Because, uh, I didn’t. But I’ve seen it countless times since my wife loves it.
“The Crying Game,” Boy George
Remember the ad campaign for this film? It went something like this: “Shhhhhhh! It’s a secret.” Well, that “secret” helped lure people into the theaters to see what all the hubbub was about and made Miramax a good deal of money in the U.S. — after flopping in the UK. The song from which the movie took its name was originally performed by Dave Berry in 1964; Boy George’s cover version helped him re-energize his post-Culture Club career.
“Hip to Be Square,” Huey Lewis and the News
And then there was this, um, memorable dialogue from the movie American Psycho: “I think their undisputed masterpiece is ‘Hip to Be Square.’ The song’s so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity and the importance of trends. It’s also a personal statement about the band itself.”
I guess Huey didn’t like the fact that his song about the “pleasure of conformity” was also a favorite of the film’s protagonist, Patrick Bateman. Oh, and maybe because it gave Bateman the motivation to hack his coworker to death with an ax. After Huey complained, the initial pressing of the soundtrack was recalled so that “Hip to Be Square” could be removed.