The Best Musical Movie Moments of the Decade

A film doesn’t have to be a musical to have a great music moment. Often the best ones happen when they are least expected. This past decade had some wonderful music moments full of unexpected dance routines and some catchy songs that grew into major radio hits. In order to make this list the characters in the film had to be aware of the music, so sorry Black Panther you may have had one of the best soundtracks of the decade but King T’Challa never sang along. Here are the ten best music movie moments of the decade.

*Warning some mild spoilers follow as well as NSFW language

10. “No Dames” – Hail Cesar!

The Coen Brothers are never ones to shy away from show stopping numbers. Hail Cesar took on the conservative ways of 1950’s Hollywood, and their seamen dancing number is full of homoerotic subtext. The notion that tough and bodied men would bark on the street just to come home to put on a toe tapping number amused the filmmakers. Here we have Channing Tatum trade his street dancing for tap as he plays an actor performing in a musical involving sailors setting out to sea where they won’t see “no dames” for quite some time. Thankfully for them they have a brotherhood they can hold on to…tightly.

9. “So You Know What It’s Like”- Short Term 12

A film such as Short Term 12 is not an easy watch nor is it meant to be one. A story about a care unit for at-risk kids is bound to have a few moments that make your heart sink. One of the best surprises of the film is how it focuses on the love every counselor has for these kids as opposed to falling into the “Nurse Ratchet” trope. Here we have one of the kids Marcus (Lakeith Stanfield) trying to unleash his anger the only way he knows how to; through rap. When a counselor (John Gallagher Jr.) asks to hear his new words Marcus warns him about the profanity, a strict no-no at Short Term 12. The performance then becomes an endearing and heartbreaking moment shared between a lost and hurt child and the adult who wishes he could take all the pain away.

8. “I’m So Humble”- Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

How do you start off your film about one of the most narcissistic people ever? With the character singing a song about how humble he is of course. Connor4real should go down as one of the best movie characters ever. The Lonely Island created a character that is not as bizarre as he comes off. In fact he is all too familiar. It is no question that the he is heavily inspired by pop sensation Justin Bieber and the fanatics that follow his every move. Bieber went through his crazy phase and while he may claim to be grateful for every thing in his life, Connor on the other hand believes we should all be grateful for how humble he truly is. The film is full of catchy and absurd hits, but no other film this year started off with such a banger.

7. “Rain on the Roof”- Paddington 2

Hugh Grant has stated that he believes Paddington 2may be the best film I’ve ever been in,” and it is hard to argue with him because Grant’s performance as Phoenix Buchanan is the type that deserves an Oscar if the Academy was actually brave enough to award him with one. Grant commits a hundred percent to every scene, but it is in the film’s final moments that he steals everything that came before. Buchanan a terrible actor and con artist has been sentenced to prison for ten years. Well it doesn’t take long before he finds himself at home staging a musical number to a song from Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies.” The prisoners quickly follow his orders and give the audience a chance at seeing the jail time musical they never knew they needed.

6. “Let My Baby Ride”- Holy Motors

It is hard to describe a film as odd and wonderful as Leos Carax’s Holy Motors without giving too much away, but thankfully this scene is a break from all the madness. The scene is titled “Entr’acte” or a break between two acts, and it is easily just that. Our main character (Denis Levant) has found himself playing the accordion alone as he walks around a cathedral. He begins to play R.L Burnside’s “Let My Baby Ride” when he is accompanied by several other accordion players who appear out of nowhere all before a fully stocked band joins in and they follow him around all in one continuous take. Before the audience can ask “what the hell is happening” you are whisked away in all the fun as every member is clearly having a ball playing together. The music eventually leads us into the next scene where we are ready for whatever absurdity Carax holds next, but for a couple minutes we get to completely understand the world we are thrown in.

5. ” I Want it That Way“- Magic Mike XXL

The first Magic Mike surprised audiences by being a film less about stripping and more about struggling day to day in a post economic collapsed world. It can be argued as a great film that was just not what the audience wanted, but the much more exciting sequel knows to play to its crowd. Joe Manganiello was chiseled from the Gods and the filmmaker knows to use every bit of him. The gang of male strippers (male entertainers!) are on the road but need to make a quick stop to get some snacks as well as get Big Dick Ritchie’s (Manganiello) confidence back. How does a stripper get his groove back you ask? Why dancing to the Backstreet Boys while trying to make a tired gas station store employee smile thats how! Ritchie has already expressed his love for the Orlando boy group so it must be destiny when one of their best known songs comes on. What follows is one of the funniest and surprisingly sensitive moments of the decade that shows even the strongest and most buff of us can be vulnerable.

4. “Please Mr. Kennedy”- Inside Llewyn Davis

Another Coen Brother’s film because hey the guys love their music. The humor in this scene is less showy, but more focused on the absurdity people are willing to go through to survive. Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) has been struggling to make a buck up until this point so when his friend Jim (Justin Timberlake) brings him on to be part of a trio he is there without question. What he wasn’t prepared for was a song basically protesting the ongoing space race. People seeing this for a first time will instantly recognized the third person as none other than Adam Driver pre Kylo Ren. The song gets stuck in your head but it is Driver’s deep belting of the words “Outer Space” that will remain with you. The way Driver pronounces it has become an internet sensation and memed enough times to fill an album. Throughout the scene you can see Llewyn’s apprehension to the song believing it could never be a hit, but if we know one thing about 60’s music, it is that intellectual value doesn’t always sell, but a catchy jingle sure does.

3. “Too Late to Turn Back Now”- BlacKkKlansman 

If Spike Lee does not make a full fledged musical in his career it will be a crime against cinema. The great filmmaker has toyed with it many times throughout his work and none more apparent than his latest Oscar nominated film. Lee never being the one to shy aware from the blunt truth he opens his scene with a disturbing and all too real depiction of police brutality towards Black people not just in the 70’s but even today. Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is undercover getting to know Patrice, (Laura Harrier) the president of “The Black Student Union” at a local bar. It is there she tells him that she was late because she and her fellow students were pulled over by the police and were verbally and physically assaulted by racist members of the same force Stallworth is a part of. To help ease her mind Ron take Patrice into a room full of people dancing and singing enjoying every second they can. Before we know it the film turns into a Motown Broadway show full of synchronized groovy dancing. Everyone gets to bust a move as the men sing to the ladies and vice versa. The scene goes on for awhile, but not long enough as it is abruptly cut to demonstrate how for a young Black person living in this world the fun and security can be taken away at any moment. The scene continues to prove Lee as one of the greatest and most precise filmmakers ever.

2. “Let It Go”- Frozen

Even if you live under a rock you have still heard this song multiple times. Not only will it go down in history as one of Disney’s greatest songs ever it will probably be one of the most recognizable songs period. The film which became a cultural sensation would have never been the same without Idina Menzel blessing us with her captivating vocals. We all know the story, but for those *very few that don’t it is here we find Elsa running away from her kingdom after her magical ice powers are exposed. Living with the fear of harming everyone she isolates herself before realizing she is not only powerful, but can easily take care of herself. Cue the biggest ballad in animated history as she creates her own fortress of solitude and the animation flies off the screen. The songs were written by Tony and eventually EGOT winner Robert Lopez along with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, giving the whole film the feel of a Broadway spectacle. As the song comes to an end and the doors eventually do slam there is still that feeling of chills that go through everyone. Elsa may be running away, but she is the only one because everybody else keeps coming back for more.

1. “Shallow”- A Star Is Born

This film had no reason being this good, in fact it could have just been an excuse to get Lady Gaga in a film for a nice cash grab and would still have been excusable. Instead it shocked the world, by becoming one of the best theater going experiences of the last ten years. One can easily remember the trailer which felt like a mini movie and by the time the film came out we were all waiting for Gaga to belt out those infamous “ahhs.” What we weren’t ready for was how impactful the scene would be to the entirety of the film. It can be seen as the end of the first act, the most pivotal moment for Ally (Gaga) and the musical moment that will be analyzed for years to come. When her new rockstar beau Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) invites her on stage for an impromptu performance of a song they barely wrote the night before you see Ally’s fear consume her. This is the decision of a lifetime and Gaga is able to sell every bit of it. She is no longer the record breaking, Grammy award winning pop sensation. Here she is just a normal woman with an extraordinary voice who has just a few seconds to determine the rest of her life. Even though we know what is going to happen next the anticipation we get from her walking onto the stage proves just how powerful this film is and will remain to be.

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