Life sure would be a lot better if it came with a soundtrack. That's why we love musicals! But not all musical moments are created equal. We scoured our film libraries to find our favorite musical moments from seemingly straight-forward flicks. None of these are actual "musicals" but they certainly up the beat and march to their own drum!
Isn't It Romantic
What It’s About: Natalie is a New York architect who works hard to get noticed at her job, but is more likely to deliver coffee and bagels than design the city’s next skyscraper. Things go from bad to weird when she gets knocked unconscious during a subway mugging and magically wakes up to find herself in an alternate universe. Always cynical about love, Natalie’s worst nightmare soon comes true when she suddenly discovers that she’s playing the leading lady in a real-life romantic comedy.
Who’s In It: Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam DeVine, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Betty Gilpin, Brandon Scott Jones, Jennifer Saunders, Alex Kis
The Musical Moment: Picture it. A simple karaoke stage turns into a full-blown musical battle between the main character and her nemesis. That’s exactly what this movie offers! Rebel Wilson has an amazing voice to begin with, but listening to her belt out Whitney Houston chart-topper “ I Wanna Dance With Somebody” while the other casual bar-goers flip and slide across the floor in a whirlwind of choreography and gymnastics gives us more than just goosebumps. It’s got us out of our seat and cheering at the top of our lungs.
What It’s About: As a baby, Ella (Anne Hathaway) receives a visit from Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox), her fairy godmother, and is bestowed with a magical talent that requires her to obey anything that she is told to do. This proves to be more of a curse than a blessing, particularly once her mother dies and she is forced to live with the cruel Dame Olga (Joanna Lumley). Eventually, Ella embarks on a journey to find Lucinda and break the spell, accompanied by the handsome Prince Charmont (Hugh Dancy).
Who’s In It: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes, Vivica A. Fox, Joanna Lumley, Minnie Driver, Eric Idle, Aidan McArdle
The Musical Moment: An impromptu visit to a tavern run by giants puts Ella in the position of having to satisfy the musical whims of her massive new friends. Thanks to the curse that forces Ella to comply with the wishes of those around her, she works her way through “Somebody to Love”, completely with band accompaniment and throaty giantess backup singers. Things get even more hilarious as each verse sees the giants requesting louder, dancier, and jazzier. It’s truly the standout moment of this already enjoyable flick.
What It’s About: After moving to Salem, Mass., teenager Max Dennison (Omri Katz) explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani (Thora Birch) and their new friend, Allison (Vinessa Shaw). After dismissing a story Allison tells as superstitious, Max accidentally frees a coven of evil witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) who used to live in the house. Now, with the help of a magical cat, the kids must steal the witches’ book of spells to stop them from becoming immortal.
Who’s In It: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch, Vinessa Shaw, Sean Murray, Larry Bagby
The Musical Moment: Whether its in her contract or not, it seems every Bette Midler movie has a standout musical performance by the accomplished and acclaimed vocalist and comedienne. But cult-classic Hocus Pocus sees her bewitch an audience of parents with a magical rendition of “I Put a Spell on You”. The movie itself is pretty stellar on its own, but this is the penultimate moment that fans will point to as the part that they will always remember.
What It’s About: A big screen spin-off of the “Saturday Night Live” skit. Rob Lowe plays a producer that wants to take the public access “Wayne’s World” to the world of commercial television. Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) battle to save their show and Wayne’s girlfriend from Lowe.
Who’s In It: Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Rob Lowe, Tia Carrere, Brian Doyle-Murray, Lara Flynn Boyle, Kurt Fuller, Colleen Camp
The Musical Moment: Only moments into the movie, we are treated to Wayne, Garth, and Co’s. love of Queen and all things rock and roll. Peppered with jokes, character introductions, and more, their car-ride sing-a-long to “Bohemian Rhapsody” both gets us into the feel of the film, while exploring setting and showing us how much heart the movie really has.
What It’s About: The story of three childhood friends, Lucy (Britney Spears), Kit (Zoe Saldana) and Mimi (Taryn Manning), who, after eight years apart, rediscover their friendship on a cross-country trip. With barely a plan, practically no money but plenty of dreams, the girls catch a lift with Mimi’s handsome friend Ben (Anson Mount) in his convertible. Along the way they not only gather experiences that will change their lives, but they also discover how important it is to hold onto their hearts’ desires.
Who’s In It: Britney Spears, Anson Mount, Zoe Saldana, Taryn Manning, Kim Cattrall, Dan Aykroyd, Justin Long, Beverly Johnson
The Musical Moment: Britney Spears has a very unique way of singing, and an almost effortless entertaining style. Her karaoke performance of “I Love Rock and Roll”, backed up by Zoe Saldana (in one of her first big screen appearances) may not be the best cover of the classic song, but it is most certainly the best moment of a maybe not-so-awesome movie, and therefor makes us fans.
What It’s About: When lively lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) sees her mobster beau, Vince LaRocca (Harvey Keitel), commit murder, she is relocated for her protection. Set up in the guise of a nun in a California convent, Deloris proceeds to upend the quiet lives of the resident sisters. In an effort to keep her out of trouble, they assign Deloris to the convent’s choir, an ensemble that she soon turns into a vibrant and soulful act that gains widespread attention.
Who’s In It: Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Kathy Najimy, Wendy Makkena, Mary Wickes, Harvey Keitel, Bill Nunn, Robert Guy Miranda
The Musical Moment: This is one of those movies that isn’t a musical, but music is a driving force for a major part of the storyline. And that’s what makes it so difficult to narrow down exactly ONE musical moment that really stands out… they’re ALL good. And the sequel has just as much heart and soul as the original. But if we must choose, we think the initial choir performance of “Oh Maria”, which starts off as traditional as could be but then evolves into a foot-stomping, snapping, clapping exaltation of joy gives us the plot moment we need to see what this movie is all about: celebration of life and finding our place in something greater than ourselves.
My Best Friend's Wedding
What It’s About: Childhood friends Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) and Michael O’Neal (Dermot Mulroney) had a deal to marry each other if they were still single by age 28. Now, four days before her 28th birthday, O’Neil announces that he’s marrying a gorgeous 20-year-old named Kimberly (Cameron Diaz). Suddenly realizing that she’s actually in love with him, Julianne vows to stop the wedding at all costs. However, when she is appointed maid of honor, things get even more complex.
Who’s In It: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett, Philip Bosco, M. Emmet Walsh, Rachel Griffiths, Carrie Preston
The Musical Moment: We wish every family dinner had song and dance as the main course. Of course, when you are trying to convince your best friend’s family that you are engaged to someone all the while realizing your feelings towards your best friend, what better way than breaking into song? Rupert Everett kicks off “Say a Little Prayer” in brilliant fashion, and is quickly joined by the other family members, a piano, and several restaurant workers sporting lobster claws. We really need to eat at this restaurant.
Connie and Carla
What It’s About: Best pals Connie (Nia Vardalos) and Carla (Toni Collette) have a song-and-dance act at a Chicago airport, but they go on the run after witnessing a murder. In Los Angeles, they glimpse the city’s drag queen scene, and believing that stage success is just a wardrobe change away, they become female impersonators. They fall into a circle populated by Connie’s beau, Jeff (David Duchovny), and bar owner Stanley (Ian Gomez). But the killers want to make sure the women never tell what they know.
Who’s In It: Nia Vardalos, Toni Collette, David Duchovny, Stephen Spinella, Alec Mapa, Christopher Logan, Robert Kaiser, Ian Gomez
The Musical Moment: Connie and Carla is loaded with hilarity and rousing musical numbers, all focused on Broadway showtunes, but the moment that really gets us moving is their initial performance as drag queens, coving such ditties as “Maybe this Time” and “Don’t Cry for me Argentina”. It’s the first moment where these two “fishnets out of water” characters feel at home and appreciated in the talents they’ve worked hard to see recognized and realized.
What It’s About: Teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) journeys through a maze to recover her baby brother (Toby Froud) from a goblin king (David Bowie). There, she meets colorful characters straight out of a fairytale who must aid her on her quest, not only to find her brother, but also herself.
Who’s In It: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud, Shelley Thompson, Christopher Malcolm, Natalie Finland
The Musical Moment: This isn’t technically a musical, but a movie with music used as a plot device, and there’s no denying that David Bowe’s unique style and charisma shines through even in his portrayal of the evil Goblin King. While there are a number of numbers that would feel at home on this list, perhaps the most memorable is “Dance, Magic, Dance” where the only thing tighter than Bowe’s leggings are his vocals. He and his crew of goblins dance, sing, giggle, and burp their way around his throne room, and show perhaps the lighter side of his rather dark character. Just ignore the ragdoll… and Bowe’s rather revealing pants.
What It’s About: College student Beca (Anna Kendrick) knows she does not want to be part of a clique, but that’s exactly where she finds herself after arriving at her new school. Thrust in among mean gals, nice gals and just plain weird gals, Beca finds that the only thing they have in common is how well they sing together. She takes the women of the group out of their comfort zone of traditional arrangements and into a world of amazing harmonic combinations in a fight to the top of college music competitions.
Who’s In It: Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Adam DeVine, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks
The Musical Moment: Again, not technically a musical, but uses music as the core driving force of all the character’s motivations, Pitch Perfect gave us a female-driven comedy full of spectacular music and showstopping numbers. But the part we love best is when this disjointed band of musical misfits finally finds their unifying voice with a mashup cover of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” and Nelly’s “Just a Dream”. Two amazing songs. One amazing mashup.
The First Wives Club
What It’s About: Despondent over the marriage of her ex-husband to a younger woman, a middle-aged divorcée plunges to her death from her penthouse. At the woman’s funeral, her former college friends (Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton) reunite for the first time in nearly 30 years. When the three discover the reason for their friend’s suicide, they realize that all of their ex-husbands have taken them for granted — and deciding it’s time for revenge, they make a pact to get back at their exes.
Who’s In It: Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, Diane Keaton, Maggie Smith, Sarah Jessica Parker, Dan Hedaya, Stockard Channing, Victor Garber
The Musical Moment: A lot of musical moments are used to advance the plot, but here, in our SECOND Bette Midler vehicle, the rendition of “You Don’t Own Me” serves to put a cherry on top of an already very satisfying film. Our characters have seen the fruits of their labor come to fruition, and their impromptu performance comes as an anthem of power to all women.
Death Becomes Her
What It’s About: When a novelist loses her man to a movie star and former friend, she winds up in a psychiatric hospital. Years later, she returns home to confront the now-married couple, looking radiant. Her ex-husband’s new wife wants to know her secret, and discovers that she has been taking a mysterious drug which grants eternal life to the person who drinks it. The actress follows suit, but discovers that immortality has a price.
Who’s In It: Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn, Isabella Rossellini, Ian Ogilvy, Adam Storke, Nancy Fish, Michelle Johnson
The Musical Moment: This movie really deserves the full musical treatment, as its full of moments and plot points that are just BEGGING to be harmonized. We open on a Broadway performance that feels completely at home on the Great White Way, with Streep’s Madeline Asheton basically lying out the underlying theme of the movie in a disco-fied “I See Me” from the fictional Songbird musical: Vanity, selfishness, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to maintain youth and beauty.