There's usually no way to put a rock song into a movie without it sounding a tiny bit goofy. Unless the band specifically wrote a song for the film in question, it's sometimes hard to shoehorn any licensed music into a movie without a little bit of creative tension. Every now and again though, you hit that one sweet spot where everything seems to fall into place.
While not all of these songs lend themselves well to the big screen on paper, it all depends on where it's placed in the right scene. All of these scenes may have worked wonders on their own, but they became a whole different animal once they added the right song to it. But what exactly is the criteria for making a song like this work?
Well, first you have to see whether it fits well with the type of movie (you can't really picture a Radiohead song in a rom com, right?). You also have to take into account the lyrical content and whether it has anything to do with what's actually going on on screen. More than anything though, it has to be able to leave an impact on you that the scene itself couldn't have done on its own. If you still have the song ringing in your head whenever the scene plays, you know you've got a bit of magic on your hands.
10. Stuck in the Middle With You - Stealers Wheel
Whenever you're using a licensed song in your movie, you have a bit of an opportunity on your hands. Even though music lovers will know the song from listening to it on the radio, it's all about the context of the song in the movie that makes all the difference. And when you go to the Stealers Wheel scene in Reservoir Dogs, this upbeat little folk tune got flipped on its head.
Upon first release, Stuck in the Middle With You was supposed to be this care free folk tune, taking a few jabs at the Bob Dylan style of songwriting and making you bob your head when you listened to it. This is a Tarantino flick though, and hearing this over an interrogation scene is straight up disorienting the first time that you see it. As we see someone get their ear cut off by Michael Madsen in the movie, you have this song playing in the background, emphasizing just how twisted the whole scene is.
This isn't really supposed to be celebrating the act of cutting off an ear though. From the moment the song starts playing, we're hearing this song from the perspective of Mr. Blonde, as he finds great joy in inflicting pain to this person. If anything, this just pulls you into the world that Reservoir Dogs created. You can be freaked out seeing this kind of graphic scene happen, but for Mr. Blonde, this may as well just be another Tuesday.