Sometimes the worst movies have the best soundtracks.

High Score 

Sometimes the worst movies have the best soundtracks.

The world remembers the Porky's movies, if it remembers them at all, as the precursors to the American Pie films, a way station between Animal House and the most recent crop of movies that encourage us to laugh at young people and their genitals. The more savvy film lover may remember Porky's 2: The Next Day for its genre-defying scenes of intellectual debate over sexuality in Shakespeare and the Bible, as well as for a genre-defying, no-tongue-in-cheek scene of loveable virgin Pee-Wee performing a Puck monologue from A Midsummer Night's Dream. No foolin'.

But no one on this floating mudball remembers Porky's Revenge, aka Porky's 3. It's not even available on DVD. (Parts one and two are available on a bargain-priced single disc, thanks for asking.) So why has Columbia Records just rereleased the soundtrack to Porky's Revenge -- with bonus tracks?

Because it's awesome.

Sometimes you get a great movie with a great soundtrack (Pulp Fiction, Lost in Translation). Sometimes you get a fun movie with a tin ear (Spider-Man). And like pickle-faced Steven Tyler spawning luscious Liv, sometimes the worst movies are responsible for creating some of the best albums of a given year. In tribute to Porky's Revenge, here are some notable soundtracks to stinkers:

The Film: Porky's Revenge (1985)

Why it sucked: It's the third Porky's movie.

Why the soundtrack ruled: Retro-mad rocker Dave Edmunds was given a sack of cash to produce the '50s-themed soundtrack, and he went hog-wild, getting Carl Perkins in the studio to redo "Blue Suede Shoes," George Harrison to sing the previously unrecorded Bob Dylan song "I Don't Want to Do It" and an undercover Robert Plant and Phil Collins (recording as the Crawling King Snakes) to lay down a way-cool version of "Philadelphia Baby." Only slightly less mind-bogglingly inappropriate for a Porky's movie is Jeff Beck's version of the instrumental "Sleepwalker" and Willie Nelson singing "Love Me Tender." You may not be able to polish a turd, but you sure can make it sound swell.

The Film: Judgment Night (1993)

Why it sucked: Lamely pits suburban everyman Emilio Estevez against crime boss Denis Leary in a wholly unbelievable gritty thriller.

Why the soundtrack ruled: Ah, 1993, when the possibilities of fusing rap and alternative rock seemed like such a good idea. Judgment Night paired 11 alt-rock acts with 10 hip-hoppers (Cypress Hill performs with both Sonic Youth and Pearl Jam) and just sat back to see what happened. Not every song is a winner (Therapy and Fatal don't pull off the gangsta sound nearly as well as Faith No More and the Boo Yaa TRIBE do), but there are enough good ideas here to fill several good albums. The standout is "Missing Link," in which Dinosaur Jr. jams out behind a spectacular Del tha Funkee Homosapien flow. Oh, the possibilities that existed in that moment. Here's to you, rap metal.

The Film: Natural Born Killers (1994)

Why it sucked: Oliver Stone can't admit how much gratuitous violence gets him off, so he ruins a promising exploitative voyeur film with dollops of self-righteousness.

Why the soundtrack ruled: Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor never minded admitting that violence turned him on. So he takes Stone's kitchen-sink style and throws out the doubt, putting together one of the greatest mix tapes of the '90s. Opening with Leonard Cohen's "Waiting for the Miracle" and closing with "What Would I Do?" by the Dogg Pound, and stuffed in the middle with everything from L7 to the Cowboy Junkies' version of "Sweet Jane" to dervish Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Natural Born Killers has all of the fun and none of the guilt of the film.

The Film: Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)

Why it sucked: Although now restored in a director's cut, Sam Peckinpah's last Western was hacked by the studio on release. Even in its fully realized version, the film lacks the visceral energy of earlier Peckinpah greats such as The Wild Bunch and features a rather annoying performance by Bob Dylan.

Why the soundtrack ruled: Dylan might be considered a better musician than he is an actor; among his many contributions to the soundtrack is the first appearance of a little song called "Knockin' On Heaven's Door."

The Film: I Am Sam (2002)

Why it sucked: Sean Penn's entry in the "I'm Playing a Mentally Challenged Character, Now Give Me My Oscar, Goddamn It" Sweepstakes, argue that if you try enough and love enough, anything is possible.

Why the soundtrack rules: It's wall-to-wall covers of Beatles songs. Sure, a scheme like that is going to conjure up some bad apples ("You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" by Eddie Vedder) and some pretty so-so apples ("Golden Slumbers" by Ben Folds). But this album also bears a couple of Red Delicious apples, most notably Rufus Wainwright's gossamer version of "Across the Universe." Throw in an Aimee Mann and Michael Penn duet and Sarah McLachlan pulling off "Blackbird," and you have a soundtrack that makes the movie look, um, retarded.

Honorable Mention

The Film: Shrek 2 (2004)

Why its probably going to suck: An unnecessary sequel to an overhyped kiddie flick that never held a candle to its Pixar competitors, Shrek 2 should contribute to Mike Myers' rep as a cash-hungry sequel whore.

Why the soundtrack rules: The first film's soundtrack paired the horrid Smashmouth version of "I'm a Believer" with the sublime Rufus Wainwright version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" (which makes this the soundtrack that ties Natural Born Killers to I Am Sam, for those keeping track). Likewise, Shrek 2 has a bizarre Frou Frou cover of "Holding Out for a Hero" and a lousy Counting Crows song, yet it also has Pete Yorn delivering the best version of "Ever Fallen in Love" since the Fine Young Cannibals. Rule is a pretty strong word, but this has got to beat the film.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Jordan Harper

Latest in Interview

Facebook Activity

All contents ©2015 Kansas City Pitch LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Kansas City Pitch LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.

All contents © 2012 SouthComm, Inc. 210 12th Ave S. Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of SouthComm, Inc.
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Website powered by Foundation