Driving to school this morning I heard Carly Simon’s classic “You’re So Vain.” I’ve never been the hugest fan of this song, but I always appreciated the guess-who-this-song-is-about-(James Taylor) back story. That is, until I saw How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Now I can’t hear that song without also hearing Kate Hudson’s off-key, piercing voice stabbing my ears out, singing, “Ben Berry, you’re so vain.”
But it got me thinking about other unsuspecting songs completely ruined by overzealous female leads in the far-fetched, guilty-pleasure romantic comedies I can’t seem to stop myself from watching. I have such a love-hate relationship with these contrived movies…and the hate part definitely encompasses the terrible I’m-going-to-sing-a-song-because-people-will-think-it’s-funny-that-I’m-so-pretty-but-my-voice-sounds-like-pigs-squealing. Here are a few of my most hated:
“You’re So Vain,” Carly Simon – How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
“Bennie and the Jets,” Elton John – 27 Dresses: As if Katherine Heigl wasn’t already annoying enough.
“Mr. Brightside,” The Killers – The Holiday: I can’t explain why I love this awful excuse for a movie, but I think it might have something to do with Jude Law and those cute little British kids who want to play Mr. Napkinhead. But every time I watch this movie (and we’re well past the 20th viewing by now) I have to fast-forward this part. It’s unbearably horrific.
“Get Low,” Lil Jon – The Proposal: This scene is especially egregious to me, because it’s so obviously planted there to make the viewer say, “Wow! It’s hilarious how prim and proper Sandra Bullock sings such a foul and disgusting song! And it’s funny to see old Betty White dance to a song about balls!”
Of course, there are movies in which actors sing songs to gloriously poignant or hilarious effect. And here a couple that fit in that category:
“Here Comes Your Man,” The Pixies – 500 Days of Summer: The combination of Joseph-Gordon Levitt and The Pixies is as fun as Nutella and bananas for breakfast.
“Surrey With The Fringe on Top,” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! – When Harry Met Sally: Meg Ryan could run a clinic on how to sing horribly and have it be endearing, not unnerving.
What did I forget?