Not to get overly self-referential and toot my own horn, but I’m about to get overly self referential and toot my own horn. For that I apologize. But in my “How to Write a Crappy Romantic Comedy” article from last month, Step Number Four was popular songs used in painfully literal ways:
Again, you’re not painting the Sistine Chapel here. You’re basically rubbing a dog’s tummy. You know what the dumb animal likes, just do it (no offense to puppies). And what it likes is songs it know, delivered in ways it understand. Therefore, when the couple has sex the first time, you need “Feels Like the First Time” by Foreigner (actual example from Valentine’s Day); when she learns to stand up for herself, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin (notice that the link is in Italian and yet you can still tell exactly what’s going on? Perfect); when he sets off alone on a journey, “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake.
You might be thinking, wait, if he’s taking a journey, why not a Journey song? No. You’re being creative again, stop that. Besides, it’s not literal enough. The lyrics in the song have to perfectly match what the people onscreen are doing. That way even the stupidest moron in the audience can say, “Oh, I totally get why they’re playing that song!” If you want to use Journey, you’ll need “When the Lights Go Down in the City” while lights are actually going down in the city. Go ahead, you can even have that one.
Aaaaanyway, this is all a long way of introducing the new trailer for Killers, starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl. Which features the song… “Psycho Killer“, by the Talking Heads. Get it? It’s literal because this movie makes me want to run run run, run run run awaaaaaay. Yep, that’s a David Byrne.