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Songs That Are Now Ruined

music-coverHave you ever had a moment when you’re driving in your car and a song comes on and you like that song, but that song was in a movie, specifically that song was featured prominently in a scene where one of the characters sings that song in the movie. As the song comes on, both of you are sitting there thinking: “Does the other person realize that this song was in that one movie? If so, do we acknowledge this? Do we both pretend that we haven’t seen that movie and sing away?”

This is one of life’s worst moments. The cringe factor is that you would look like such a douche singing that song out loud because all you can think about is that scene in the movie. This is what brings us here today. So many great songs have been absolutely submarined for the future because of one scene in some stupid movie. This is a safe place, though, as we’re going to process the worst cases of this phenomenon. We are going to address this issue head on and hope that we can all work through the tough moments we have had because of these “moments”.

I’ve done my best to try to remember all the songs in movies specifically that have affected my life, but I know I have forgotten some, so please feel free to share below in the comment section.

Looking back at these song-scenes in movies, it’s crazy how much Tom Cruise has played such a predominant role. Really, in some of the most well-known movies of my generation, Tom Cruise ruining a song forever now “echoes into eternity,” and no, I’m not being overdramatic.

Jerry Maguire

Really, this scene is the standard bearer of this whole philosophy here today. Is there any way you can’t cringe when this song plays while you’re driving and you want to sing…so very badly? You’re driving, this song comes on, and you can just feel all of Scientology dripping in your pores.

You just want to sing along, but you can’t without thinking of Jerry F***ing Maguire and you feel like you’re copying Tom Cruise, which is even worse in the year 2015; then it was back in ‘96. It’s even worse if you’re driving with someone else in the car when that song comes on, because you’re both paralyzed in that feeling of douchiness, contemplating the thought of singing the song without acknowledging the Jerry Maguire piece of the situation. To sing or not to sing, that is the question.

What’s worse about this specific scenario is the actual scene with Cruise. The awful overly self-aware fake laugh that he has while he’s acknowledging his goofiness is a 10 on the cringe scale. Tom Cruise is really the best at that awful look, isn’t he? In every one of his movies, he has that one moment where he is alone in the scene, he ponders something, and then he does that Tom Cruise half-laugh, half-smile thing.  More with Tom later in this program…

Remember The Titans

Such a great song that it is now tarnished because you can’t sing it without feeling like you’re emulating that forced, cheesy Disney We’re tackling racism with actors in their early 40’s playing high school football players that come together scene. The guy that played the star linebacker (the white guy), I’m positive, went to high school with my dad.

Were high school locker rooms in the 60’s equipped with portable stereos to play music even? Can anybody watch that scene and the movie and not get that startled feeling that you’re watching Avon Barksdale play the other star linebacker. I kept waiting for Omar to come out of nowhere in that singing scene with a shotgun to rob the whole team.

The message of the movie is great, and obviously all that is good, but couldn’t they have chosen a less catchy song? While I was at work and playing music as I was doing paperwork, a co-worker heard it playing and came in my office and said, “Remember the Titans.”

Really, that moment of feeling uncomfortable was almost a physical pain. AT that moment, this song was dead to me. I can’t enjoy a song if I have to be worried that somebody is going to come to me and bring up the movie and the scene that the song was featured in; it’s just too painful.

Marvin Gaye is the man, and he has many, many other good songs in his archive, but this one is beautiful and it’s not tainted from this movie and the movie Stepmom:

…Yuck. We get it…The kids don’t like dad’s new girlfriend and stupid mom is dying from cancer, so the kids aren’t sure how to react yet… Let’s have them act petulant until this great song comes on and this will bring everybody together.

Anytime a movie forces a scene where they need to show the characters bonding and they choose a song to do it, it may work for the short-term, but in the long-run, the rest of us have to go on with our lives with that song now taken away from us… and that is very selfish of these movies.

Wayne’s World

Great movie…Some might say a forgotten relic of the 90’s. I think people forget how popular this movie was when it first came out. I’m too lazy to look up the total film box office gross, so just take my word for it. It was a huge smash hit. This song, probably more than any other song, is completely and utterly associated with this movie. It’s impossible if you’re between the ages of 30-45 to not head bang in your car when this song comes on.

This song, for people from my generation, will forever solely be linked to Wayne’s World. When it comes on, you can’t sing along without feeling like a douche because there is no way to feel like you’re not mimicking the movie. The scene itself in the movie isn’t bad; in fact, it’s pretty funny still after all these years (subjective yes), but the song belongs to that movie, so we don’t get to have our own fun memories to create with that song because it wouldn’t be authentic. The song comes on and the first thought is Wayne’s World now and forever.

It’s weird to see Mike Meyers being funny in a movie, too. It’s been so long since that has been the case. I mean, seriously, it’s been a while. The first Austin Powers movie was funny, the second Powers movie had its moments, and then in the third movie, the wheels came off.

It’s been like fifteen years since Mike Myers had a funny movie. His funniest moment over the last fifteen years is standing horrified as Kanye West told America that W. Bush doesn’t like black people.

Obviously, one of our country’s worst moments, so I don’t want to make too much light of that, but looking at Mike Meyers when Kanye West started talking is pretty comical. Do you think they fist bumped afterwards? Maybe a dude-hug (half-handshake, half-hug) or did Mike Meyers just walk away immediately, call his agent, and try to separate himself from that as quickly as possible?

Top Gun

I feel old now. I’m guessing people under the age of twenty-eight probably don’t have the same reaction to this song as people thirty to fifty years old do. There is no way for this song to come on for us and for us not think of Maverick and Goose.

The homoerotic Top Gun is still somewhat entertaining to watch and kind of still holds up over time. I mean, it’s still traumatic when Goose dies, and it’s puzzling why Tom Cruise is sweating throughout the whole movie as if he performed every scene after getting out of a sauna. With this song, when it comes on, you think of Tom Cruise’s awful voice. Then you think of the black guy in the scene, who tries to take over after Cruise drops the mic, but everybody in the bar is too racist and nobody joins along with him awkwardly.

The weird part is that I feel like I never hear this song on the radio anymore, so it’s not like this cringe potential scenario comes up a whole lot, but it’s always lurking. I bet somebody out there knows somebody who knows somebody who is a complete douche who tried to pull this out at a bar sometime like he was just the “fun loving” carefree guy. I bet everybody who witnessed that has PTSD to this day. If somebody did this at a bar I was at, I would be compelled to grab the mic from his hand, slap him across the face, and say: “No, you’re better than this. This won’t happen on my watch. I’m sorry.” as everybody in the bar would be slow-clapping me.

Coyote Ugly


Granted, this is a stretch to include this scene in this post, but any excuse to shine a light on the piece of shit that this movie is, is something I can’t pass on. I defy you to watch this movie and not get ninety minutes of goosebump skin do to the amount of cringiness that this movie produces.

Any movie made from the period of 1996-2003 that tries to feature a “tough cookie” broad is just vomit-inducing. I don’t know what it was about that time, but watching the female bar owner carry herself in that awful, self-important “I don’t take any nonsense from anybody” vibe, I was openly rooting for her to get run over by a truck.

Every bar scene in that movie is just god awful. All the male patrons in the bar act like they’re gremlins. The bartenders are just rude with their stupid “no water” mantra. I mean, would you ever go to bar that was so lame that everybody just knows that they don’t serve water. “Do we serve water here?” Crowd: “Hell No H20! Hell No H20!”…Yuck. What if somebody wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to drink alcohol?

Bar Patron: “Excuse me, Miss Bartender, sorry to trouble you but my wife isn’t feeling well. Could we trouble you for some water?”

Bartender: “Hell No H20!” Crowd starts to join her.

Bar Patron (confused he asks again): “Seriously, my wife would probably be okay if she could just have a little water. I’m not trying to be pushy or anything, but could we just get a cup of water?”

Bartender: “Get the f*** out of here.”

The song scene itself is awful in an awful movie. It’s like the Zapruder film. There are so many awful things to point out. I mean, you have the lead of the movie, the girl who’s in the big city for the first time, the cliché babe in the woods. You have the lady owner of the bar who’s so badass. When she tells the new girl that the other bartender, whom we see violently cutting off a patron’s pony tail (Everybody is okay with it for reasons we don’t know), got court ordered for anger management classes because she attacked a patron who slapped her ass, the owner says: “He pressed charges. I gave her a raise.”…..Wow…She is badass. Don’t mess with her or her girls or else.

You have bartenders squirting everybody with beer (which of course, when people go out to a happening bar, they hope they can get their nice clothes doused with beer)…always a good scent. You have Tyra Banks practicing for her future transcendent moment that finally brought our country together, united as one:

They choose the Def Leppard song that is supposed to be wallpaper to how badass the Coyote Ugly Bar really is.  The members of the band should be ashamed of themselves for licensing the song to this movie. They should have taken a moral stand and said no.

If you’ve seen this movie then this scene might be etched in your head, and if that’s the case, you cannot experience any joy from the song itself. I’m guessing that most of you are lucky and haven’t seen or don’t remember this movie, so you are immune. But for those of us who have seen and do remember, well, we are eternally doomed.

Fever Pitch

The scene in the movie I couldn’t quite find on YouTube, but basically, it’s the part when Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore are at the ball park singing “Sweet Caroline” with the rest of the crowd and it gets to the part of the song where everybody goes: “Sweet Caroline…BAH BAH BAH”….yeah, that part. It has completely ruined the song forever.

When the song comes on now and you’re compelled to sing “Bah bah bah” you now can’t because the Farrelly Brothers and Jimmy Fallon have taken that right away from us. Is there anything worse than seeing actors trying to pretend that they like sports and overact during those scenes? How many takes do you think the “Bah Bah Bah” took to film?

Was every true Red Sox fan there traumatized? I would have expected maybe somebody there would take one for the team by shanking Fallon in the aisle San Quentin style. I could see some Old School Boston guys doing that; the one guy steps up and decides to be the one who will do the deed and take the fall. As one of the guys hands him the shank, the rest of the guys say: “Don’t worry. Your family will be taken care of” as the chosen man makes the sign of the cross and performs the deed for all the past and present Red Sox fans.


I get it…This song isn’t the most popular song in the world, but in a way, that’s what almost makes this example worse. When this song gets stuck in your head, all you can do is think about dumb Ben Affleck singing to a painfully over-her-head Liv Tyler. It’s kind of an obscure song, yet all the people involved know the song in spite of being from different generations, places, and all-around taste. They all know where to jump in with this song…I don’t buy it.

Is there anything worse in recent movie history than Ben Affleck trying to be charming? It just comes off as douchie. I like my Ben Affleck as sullen and alcoholic, like in Argo, or like his character in Gone Girl, which by the way has pushed my consideration of marriage ever campaign back by at least ten years. Seriously, if I worked for a company where the sole mission statement was to try to prevent men from ever getting married to women, all I would do is hand out copies of the book Gone Girl and nod grimly.

Anyways, back to this subject, about which there is really not much more to say as the scene sucked and the song is ruined forever… unless you’re Jennifer Garner.

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

or Bridesmaids

Both have highly contrived uses of the same song and if you were in charge of Bridesmaids, would you really copy Harold and Kumar by choosing the same cheesy song? Bridesmaids gets docked even a few more points for not finding any number of awful cheesy songs from the early 90’s.

I think Kristin Wiig is the new Paul Rudd; someone who came on strong, peaked and now we’re tired of them playing the same Paul Rudd/Kristin Wiig…My bet is that she is two years away from getting demoted back to playing the sixth lead in a romcom as one of the “zany” friends. Anyway, I’m shockingly not a big fan of Bridesmaids, but I’m sure for women it’s like the female Superbad or Knocked Up, so more power to you if you love it.

This scene though is kind of cringe-worthy if you think about it. I mean, if I were the groom, I don’t think I would exactly be stoked that Wilson Phillips was playing “Hold On” at my wedding. Knowing my friends who would most likely be my groomsmen, I would have a hard time thinking they would all join in clapping with goofy smiles on their faces either.

The Harold and Kumar scene with this song is pretty shitty as well as I think they stretched it a little too far with the joke. If you don’t remember the movie, Harold and Kumar steal the car of the group of Mountain Dew-Extreme Bullies that had been tormenting them throughout the movie. Only when they steal the car and play the tape in the player, it turns out that these “extreme dudes” aren’t really as “extreme” as we all thought…and let me tell you hilarity ensues as the actual song on the tape is Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On”.

We all get to share in on the laugh with Harold and Kumar as they rock on with the song. With a cheesy song like this, it’s one of those songs that if it comes on when you’re driving with a friend, you both pretend to “have fun with it” and sing along clearly not really liking the song, but you’re so funny that you sing along this time.

When you’re driving alone and this song comes on, the whole tenor of this environment becomes more serious as you most likely will seriously sing along with the song until you get spotted by another driver and then you snap back to reality as your realize you look like an incredible tool…Not that I would know.

The point is that when you’re driving with your friend and this song comes on, you two can’t really partake in doing a duet because you most likely will think you’re copying the scene from Harold and Kumar, and therefore, you or your friend can’t let that happen under any cost.

Thanks again for stopping by to check this out. I’ve held out for like two weeks turning this in because I got writer’s block trying to figure out what I am missing because I know I’m forgetting very obvious scenes from movies I love/hate. So please, do me a favor and list those ones I forgot down below. Thanks again!

  • Brendan Fitzpatrick

    Great job on this Scott. There are 2 more I thought of while reading it. First, “Cant take my Eyes off of You”, Heath Ledger, singing on a practice field, to Julia Styles, and suddenly and entire marching band joins in. Done.

    Second, 2 Instances of “I will Survive”. 1. Watch Jim Carrey sing it, as Tony Clifton/Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon, then try NOT to sing it the way he does the next time you hear it. 2. The Replacements: Keaunu Reaves, Orlando Jones, an entire football team, in a jail cell, line dancing, singing “I will Survive” A-Cappella. Done, gone, ruined the song.

    Cheers, keep up the good work!

    • Scott Gallagher

      The Replacements that was the one I couldn’t remember. ..Thanks!

  • susan appleby

    Scott!! How a bout a list of songs that were enhanced or improved by their use in a film or tv show? The theme song to True Blood is one that comes to mind (Bad Things by Jace Everett.)

    Keep up the great work.

  • Rachel Wagner

    I would include My Girl as well which even Roger Ebert said should be banned from movies. But I don’t get sick of things the way others do. What I really don’t like is when the song choices are so on the nose. Like a person is named MaryAnn so we hear MaryAnn. We aren’t stupid! We get it.