Thursday, September 11, 2014

Riske Business: Songs from Movies That I Love But Probably Shouldn't (Vol. 4)

by Adam Riske
Life is all about adjustments.

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:

Song: “Impossible”
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
From: Ali

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”
From: Phenomenon

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 BublĂ© (?) 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.


  1. Adam I'm so glad you had the balls to admit you like somewhere out there because I used to watch An American Tale constantly when I was a kid (in fact I think it's the first movie I can remember watching) so whenever I hear that song it brings me back to my childhood and yea it's sappy but everytime it comes on the radio I turn that shit up! Also whenever I think about Any Given Sunday the image of Steamin Willie Beamin pops in my brain and that song gets stuck in my head for atleast four hours so thanks for giving that a shout out. Great column sir.

  2. Ugh, Somewhere Out There just rips me apart. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I have something in my eye.

  3. TravisL and John - Do you prefer the movie version of Somewhere Out There or the single? I was going back and forth on which to include.

    1. I had no idea there was 2 versions lol I haven't seen the movie in so long so I'd have to say whatever one plays on the radio which is the single version I guess. I have a you tube chore now.

  4. Oh, I'm not sure, honestly, I guess I would have to hear both. I will say the movie version is great, though.

  5. Great column Adam

    I have to say that after reading the header the first song that instantly sprung to mind was "It had to be you" and then it appeared on your list. BOOM
    If you listen to the Rob Reiners audio commentary talking about that song in the dvd he talks about how it was filmed and cut in time with the song and I agree it really does it job superbly. I'm not a Harry Connick jr fan but that song in that movie really plays.
    Also did you know that "I'll have what she's having" is Robs mother

    Also I've got another one to mention. Damn this is also embarrassing. Ronan keatings "When you say nothing at all" from Notting Hill. Surprised this one did not get a mention. Oh Shit. Does this mean it just me...

  6. Ps the 2.36 mark happens because they could not actually be there to make the music video so it is never them in the actual shoot.

  7. Adam, I love this series of columns. Keep 'em comin (once you get power restored)! Yes, I have seen Jungle Fever. For me it is pretty hit and miss, some great stuff, some laughably terrible stuff (that last shot? WOW!?!?!). I like the title track even more than your pick though, so bouncy and upbeat. I know you have talked about it on the podcast before but I miss the days of an artist doing a complete soundtrack for a movie. Stevie Wonder's work on Jungle Fever is worth seeking out.

    1. Thanks Matt! I agree that the title song to Jungle Fever is pretty great too.

  8. I love "Somewhere Out There," but then again I'm a huge sucker for Linda Ronstadt (I also love "Dreams to Dream" from An American Tale 2: Fivel Out West).

    You didn't mention the most frustrating thing about "Feeding Off the Love of the Land," which is it is NOT on the Jungle Fever soundtrack album!

  9. Oi Adam, I just now caught your shout-out on the Summer '14 podcast! Don't worry; I heartily agree the Mummy sequels are crap. :P

    1. The Yeti's were funny though in Mummy 3. Not intentionally of course.

  10. Nobody should ever feel bad for liking Somewhere out There, that songs great. For me my song I shouldnt love is from Sylvester Stallone's Over the Top song Winner Takes it All. The movie is cheesy as all hell but the soundtrack is an 80's nostalgia trip for me and a great one to play at the gym with your Rocky soundtracks.