From Say Anything to We Bought a Zoo, a Brief History of Great Cameron Crowe Musical Moments


Vanilla Sky (2001)

Musical Moment: The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations"

Crowe's most divisive film is also his boldest, and that extends from the tale of one man's lucid dream gone wrong (adapted from Alejandro Amenabar's Spanish language film Abre los Ojos) to his musical choices. The urgency in the sounds of contemporary bands like Radiohead and Sigur Ros are employed to great effect, but while Crowe does dip back into classic American rock, it's with a twist; the buoyant theremin of The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" takes on an eerie, discordant quality as Tom Cruise's David Aames realizes he's trapped in a nightmare built on his own memories.

Elizabethtown (2005)

Musical Moment: "Moon River"

Elizabethtown was met with critical derision but it did make a few lasting contributions, one being Nathin Rabin's "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" revelation, inspired by Kirsten Dunst's character. The other? The gift of Susan Sarandon eulogizing her dead husband with a solo tap dance routine to the tune of "Moon River." Is it a bizarrely off-kilter scene in an embarrassingly imbalanced movie? Yes. Do I still love Sarandon's grossly grandiose sentimental softshoe? (Yes.)

Jonsi and the classics in We Bought a Zoo (2011)

Crowe, of course, still peppers in retro rock songs to punctuate big moments in Zoo; Petty's aforementioned "Don't Come Around Here No More" comes into play early on, with Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Temple of the Dog's "Hunger Strike" (!) echoing the moods of characters later on. But with Sigur Ros's Jonsi on board to deliver a tinkly custom score (with Nico Muhly), Zoo also features a lush, whimsy-filled soundscape that keeps the swell of emotion lingering, making for a unified sound throughout that blends the new/current/original with standard-issue Crowe selections. Jonsi's score is, appropriately, extraordinarily Crowe-esque. The result is a musical element that gives the entirety of the film's runtime that magical Crowe feel while never straying too far from Crowe's wheelhouse.

What's your favorite Crowe musical moment? Chime in below.

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