by Adam Riske
I was going to write about football movies this week, but then the power went out in my entire downtown so I can’t get access to a beautiful, almost fully-written column that is trapped on my desktop. Instead, like a studio out of ideas, I am bringing out Vol. 4 of a successful series: "Songs I Love from Movies That I Probably Shouldn’t." If I were on an island of dinosaurs, I would be dead right now. If you like this edition more or less than usual, it’s because I’m typing it at the goddamn library while I wait for my cell phone to charge. #LikeABoss
Anyways, to the music:
From: Mission: Impossible III
Artist: Kanye West
I love me some good hip hop. Kanye West’s song that played over the end credits to Mission: Impossible III is probably my favorite song of the series. Interestingly enough, no soundtrack album was released for Mission: Impossible III (a score album was), so this song exists exclusively to live on its own, like an island or a person writing a column at the library when they have no power. My favorite lyric is definitely “I don’t want to hear that bullshit, I want to hear that official shit…” which is like how I feel about the ComEd alerts that are telling me that my power has been restored when it hasn’t.
Song: “The World’s Greatest
Artist: R. Kelly
Chicago’s favorite creep R. Kelly delivers a song so corny that it can’t be ignored. I really would like to make fun of this one, but it’s so sincere and reverential to fireman, soldiers, nurses/paramedics, Muhammad Ali, etc. that I can’t. Plus it sounds good in my ear buds. Just remember, everyone, that when anybody asks you who Adam Riske is, just stand up tall, look ‘em in the face and say “He’s the star up in the sky, he’s the mountain peak up high, he’s the world’s greatest.” I’ll tell you who’s not the greatest -- fucking ComEd. Oh yeah, and before I forget, has there ever been a movie more disappointing than Michael Mann’s Ali? Half of it is just a TV-Movie-of-the-week version of Malcolm X.
Song: “Change the World”
Artist: Eric Clapton & Babyface
I remember when I saw Phenomenon with my family that I was very moved. I cried at the end. So did my parents. My sister did not. I told her it was because she didn’t have a heart. I might have overreacted. The song “Change the World” -- aka the single from Phenomenon -- is just a nice, sweet song. The video is interesting because where do you shoot a video for “Change the World?” Um, er, uh…a train station? Trainge the world? I think it’s cool that while you wait for your train, this station is projecting Phenomenon on other passing trains. That’s very nice of them. Fearless admission: I love me some Babyface music. I gotta check if they have Phenomenon at the library. I feel like watching it. And…they do! I guess there wasn’t a big Phenomenon run this weekend. I wonder if my phone is almost done charging.
Song: “Feeding Off the Love of the Land”
From: Jungle Fever
Artist: Stevie Wonder
I LOVE this song! I have loved it ever since the first time I saw Jungle Fever when I was way too young to have seen Jungle Fever. Have you seen Jungle Fever? You should see it. It’s probably Spike Lee’s most underrated movie. “Feeding Off the Love of the Land” plays over the end credits immediately following the film’s abrupt, crazy closing shot. It is hard to describe, but I guess you could say the song feels like the movie is giving you a weary pat on the shoulder as you walk out the door. That’s why I love closing credits to movies and never walk out until the credits are done. BECAUSE THE MOVIE IS NOT DONE! The end credits are part of the mood. It’s the epilogue. No greater proof of that is Stevie Wonder’s beautiful song to wrap up Jungle Fever.
Song: “Somewhere Out There”
From: An American Tail
This song makes me want to hug someone immediately. Who’s at the library worth hugging? Oh screw it, come here stranger! Could an An American Tail be the saddest kids movie ever made? I mean, poor Fievel. He goes through the ringer. Quick digression: when I was little, I used to strongly identify with young Fievel. I once told my mom that I had a lot in common with him because we’re both Jewish and male. Not to mention we’re both mice???? Just the way Fievel says “PALE MOON LIGHT” makes me want to fucking cry. I sing this song to the sky when I’m single and want to find my future wife. It has worked exactly zero times. OMG, find your family, Fievel!
Song: “Cheer Down”
From: Lethal Weapon 2
Artist: George Harrison
Ok, so I’m probably bending the rules here because OF COURSE you should love a George Harrison song, but this one doesn’t get a lot of props so I wanted to call it out. Isn’t it just great? I love that someone took the time to cut the entire arc of the Mel Gibson-Patsy Kensit relationship from Lethal Weapon 2 into a YouTube video to the song “Cheer Down.” It’s like they did it for the express reason to be featured in this column. Great work, TrenRojoCruzandoo! Boy, do I miss non-asshole Mel Gibson. When I was watching The Expendables 3, I kept thinking “He’s really good in this; I wish I could still like him.” Oh well. Cheer down. Oooooh, is that what it means?
Song: “It Had to be You”
From: When Harry Met Sally
Artist: Harry Connick, Jr.
I don’t really like this song but I love this video. It features an uber-corny Michael Bublé (?) before he was murdered by aliens in the invasion of 1996. You remember -- Will Smith was very upset about it. #YouGotYourVictoryDance? BTW…could When Harry Met Sally be a better movie? The answer is no. It’s so fantastic. I wonder if they have it at the library. Shit! It’s checked out. Probably by people who have power. Thanks ComEd! I love that we get to see Connick, Jr. in his relationship and also at work (playing piano for Billy Crystal/Meg Ryan dates), but it gets so suspenseful because Crystal & Ryan are not giving him any feedback. Do they like it? I mean their backs are turned. And then BOOM at the 2:36 mark – approval. My phone is still not charged? Ugh!
Song: “My Name is Willie”
From: Any Given Sunday
Artist: Willie Beamen
Ok, I’ll wrap things up with the greatest song ever featured in a movie – period. “My Name is Willie” is mostly awesome because it’s a perfect parody of the rap songs that athletes concoct, which are almost all uniformly terrible. The lyrics to this song are the best. I have few words. I’ll let the video do the work for me this time. “Who is that keeping in hot?” “It’s Adam Riske!” “Gotta go to work!” You know who’s not working? Say it with me: ComEd!
Leave a comment with your thoughts on these songs. And remember to inflex your chest, get Met-Rx.