Tarantino Tunes: The Best Musical Moments From Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino’s slavery spaghetti western Django Unchained delivers all of the usual Tarantino goodness: brilliant dialogue, over-the-top cartoonish violence, fantastic performances from Tarantino regulars Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson, and a whole lot of controversy. More impressively, the film’s soundtrack is the usual combination of familiar tunes from Tarantino’s cinematic inspirations, as well as a few original tracks from John Legend, Rick Ross, and RZA. While we’ll have to patiently wait for another year or two before those musical sequences to end up on YouTube (only to be likely taken down because of copyright infringement), let’s take a look back at Tarantino’s catalog and take a listen at the songs we’ve come to associate with the modern-day auteur. 

Stealers Wheel – "Stuck In The Middle With You" (from Reservoir Dogs)

What’s the best way to get the kids interested in Gerry Rafferty? Why, scoring an ear slicing with one of his catchiest tunes, naturally. It’s really a shame that this scene didn’t do for Michael Madsen what Pulp Fiction did for John Travolta. Who know the man had such moves? 

Chuck Berry – "You Never Can Tell" (from Pulp Fiction)

This is arguably Tarantino’s most recognizable scene from arguably his most popular movie. It not only made him a household name, but it reinvigorated the career of John Travolta, who had been struggling in years prior in talking baby movies. And don’t get me wrong, I love a talking baby movie. But I’d much rather see Travolta cutting a rug with weird hair. 

Bobby Womack – "Across 110th Street" (from Jackie Brown)

Jackie Brown is Tarantino’s biggest stand-out. It lacks the gritty or cartoon violence of his other films (it contains, total, just four measly, relatively bloodless murders), and the focus is entirely on plot, dialogue, and the acting. And while there’s no big dance sequence, the opening credits are fantastic. All it takes is a few tracking shots and Pam Grier to set the tone of the film, and Bobby Womack’s soulful voice ties it all together. 

The 5,6,7,8’s – "Woo Hoo" (from Kill Bill Vol. 1)

It’s refreshing when Tarantino pulls out a new song from his jukebox. In the first half of his samari epic, Tarantino brings the old school into the picture with fresh treatment. It seems only natural for the big musical number in Kill Bill Vol. 1 to involve a band that mashes up a wide selection of sounds and elements. It’s the musical equivalent of a Tarantino film, really. 

Bernard Herrmann – "Twisted Nerve" (from Kill Bill Vol. 2)

Kill Bill marked the first time Tarantino picked up classic scores from old films, and Bernard Herrmann’s "Twisted Nerve," the theme from the 1968 psychological thriller of the same name, became, in turn, a Tarantino classic. (It even makes a cameo in Death Proof as Rosario Dawson’s ring tone.) 

The Drifters – "Down in Mexico" (from Death Proof)

Death Proof, one half of Tarantino’s Grindhouse collaboration with Robert Rodriguez, stands on its own feet as a perfect action thriller as well as a quintessential Tarantino flick. In one of the film’s best (and sexiest) scenes, Vanessa Ferlito delivers perhaps the best lapcdance in cinematic history to a terrifying (and weirdly sexy) Kurt Russell. It should come as no surprise that the jukebox playing this jam is Tarantino’s own. 

David Bowie – "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" (from Inglourious Basterds)

Here’s another case of a song written for a movie being appropriated for one in Tarantino’s own oeuvre. Wisely using the long, slow-building version of the Giorgio Moroder / David Bowie collaboration from Paul Schrader’s 1982 erotic thriller (as opposed from the shorter, radio-friendly version from Let’s Dance), Tarantino builds the tension and nearly gives away the film’s ending. (Hint: it involves a lot of flames.)

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter

John Travolta And Oliva Newton-John Have Officially Ruined Christmas

Remember how John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John released that Christmas album? Ha ha ha, ho ho ho, etc. Nothing could possibly go wrong, right? I mean, these two have a lot of money to devote to their passion vanity projects! And they’re a pair of terrific singers and actors, so there’s no way the songs would be bad or, God forbid, there be a shitty video for one of the songs, right? Well, sweet Baby Jesus is rolling over in his manger. Christmas is cancelled as far as I’m concerned. 

Will no one think of Kelly Preston this Christmas?

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter

Which New Christmas Album Should You Play At Your Holiday Party?

The holidays are fast approaching, and most stores and even a few radio stations have been playing festive jams since late October or so. If you drive a lot or work in retail, you have probably already heard so much Christmas music that you fall asleep to the phantom sound of sleigh bells. But some people are really, really into Christmas music, and there comes a special time in every musical artist’s career where a holiday compilation album is made because of reasons / money / Christmas cheer? There are a host of new ones that have dropped this year. But, if you must have seasonal music, which is right for your holiday gathering? 

Cee-Lo Green – Cee-Lo’s Magic Moment

When more people know you as a judge on a popular reality singing competition than for being half of Goodie Mob, it’s about that time in your career to release a Christmas album. And as far as Christmas albums go, you could do worse than Cee-Lo’s—a catchy original here, a faithful and exuberant cover of Stevie Wonder’s “What Christmas Means to Me” there. There are no real surprises but some nice gems, as well as some not-so-nice ones. A cover of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” with college a cappella group Straight, No Chaser is well-intentioned and probably seemed like a cute idea in planning stages, but ultimately feels out of place.

This is one of the more versatile options, appropriate for both the family-friendly affair and the loud, boozy party involving ugly holiday sweaters you purchased ironically knowing full well someone’s grandma probably lovingly made them and spent hours on them and is a little bit hurt by your mockery. Plus one of the album’s few original Christmas songs—“All I Need Is Love”—has a video involving the Muppets and The Office’s Craig Robinson, and it’s quite enjoyable.

Sufjan Stevens – Silver & Gold

No one does holiday-music overkill quite like Sufjan Stevens, who has released five more seasonal EPs that will likely be the staple of every sorta-trendy holiday party, independent coffee shop throughout the month of December or religious service led by @HipsterPastor.

The arrangements are lovely, there’s a psyched-out song about a unicorn, a bizarre, synthy take on “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” and at last, Chanukah is thrown a bone with a simple, lovely cover of “Rock of Ages.” It’s a lot of music to get through, but more of it seems fit for lulling you further into a food-and-mulled-wine coma than for a more social affair.

Various Artists – Holidays Rule

Sometime around the mid-‘00s, a whole slew of “A Very Indie Christmas”-type holiday albums began popping up all over the place. We blame this phenomenon on The O.C., and the convergence of Seth Cohen’s indie-middlebrow musical tastes and love of “Chrismukkah” spawning a holiday album that’s probably still in your old bedroom somewhere. This tradition continues with Holidays Rule, a compilation featuring Fruit Bats, AgesandAges, Punch Brothers and The Shins, who do a pretty-okay “Wonderful Christmastime,” but its faults are not really their fault, it’s just that “Wonderful Christmastime” is one of the worst Christmas songs ever. Eleanor Friedberger’s “Santa, Bring My Baby Back (To Me)” and Calexico’s “Green Grows the Holly” are among the highlights. And it’s hard to love the unsettling, creepy “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” but when Rufus Wainwright and Sharon Van Etten assume the roles, we’ll allow it.

It’s an easily digestible and pretty likable set, so it will work in most situations, but seems most fitting for an office party (at a "cool" office), an intimate Secret Santa exchange or a smaller gathering of Your Friends From Home, especially if the host has been playing the O.C. Chrismukkah album for the past eight years and needs a change of sound.

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John – This Christmas

This is Christmas at Your Parents’ House in musical form. Basically, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John got together, made an album of accessible, pretty holiday standards and invited all the people your parents like to join them—Tony Bennett, Babs, Kenny G, James Taylor—the latter with a rendition of “Deck the Halls” that leaves something to be desired and contains a bit too much jolly Renaissance-faire flute. New original “I Think You Might Like It” is bouncy and enthusiastic—it sounds like Travolta and Newton-John are genuinely enjoying singing together again, which is always nice. The holidays are about bringing old friends together, after all. If you need a last-minute contribution to the family holiday party, or something relatively inoffensive for an office party (at an "uncool" office) this should suffice.

Richard Marx – Christmas Spirit

You remember Richard Marx, right? The man probably responsible for the song to which you had your first slow-dance, or perhaps even your first awkward, clumsy hook-up. Well, he’s still doing the thing and has made a Christmas album. There’s just something that sort of makes you cringe when people try to croon earnestly through the “pa-rum-pa-pum-pum” part of “The Little Drummer Boy” and make it sound oh so smooth. It just doesn’t work. Own the “pa-rum-pa-pum-pum,” folks.

Only play this at your holiday party under very specific circumstances. Or whoever made the playlist has food poisoning and can’t make it and the Internet is down so you can’t get to the holiday Pandora station. Or you really, really enjoy reliving repressed memories from Christmas in the ‘80s.

Merry Early Christmas From John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John

It’s October 2nd, which means you have approximately 83 shopping days until Christmas, 83 days to determine what to procure for that impossible-to-shop-for relative you only see once a year. Well, today’s your lucky day, especially if said relative is in his or her fifties and/or still unironically performs "Summer Nights" at karaoke. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, the very same John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John who shimmied in the Shake Shack at the Rydell High Graduation Carnival many, many years ago, are reuniting to record a Christmas album

"From the moment we decided to do this, magic happened," Travolta is quoted as saying in the album’s press release. "Everyone we contacted agreed to do it."

The album, This Christmas, will sadly not include any yuletide reimaginings of songs from Grease (although Twitter offered suggestions like "Hopelessly Devoted to Yule" and "Reindeer School Dropout"), but will include the two taking on "intimate" versions of holiday classics, including "Silent Night" and the eternally creepy "Baby, It’s Cold Outside," as well as an original track called "I Think You Might Like It." Oh, and the collaborators! Let’s not forget the collaborators! A veritable network TV holiday parade’s worth of Special Guest Stars are on hand for the occasion, including James Taylor contributing to what should be a pretty classy "Deck The Halls," ubiquitous seasonal songsters like Tony Bennett and Kenny G, Barbra Streisand because of course and Cliff Richard, who is thankfully not contributing a rockin’ version of "The Millennium Prayer."

The album drops November 13th, leaving you plenty of time to purchase it last minute on the way to that holiday party you’ve been dreading. But hey, part of the proceeds are going to good causes and, hell, at least it’ll be better than "The Christmas Shoes."

John Travolta Loves His Wife So Hard

John Travolta, who is an actor who you might have heard of, is not having a good couple of weeks. He has been besmirched by various lawsuits alleging he had been sexually forward in an illegal way with male masseurs. This comes after years of rumors that he is of the gay persuasion. He denies it of course. Coincidentally, his wife, Kelly Preston, has released Travolta’s Mother’s Day gift to her: a video of him professing his undying love. The lady doth protest too much, perhaps?

Directed by Travolta (and relying on the Ken Burns effect—heavily), it incorporates a song by the lovely Barbra Streisand. That’s probably not helping his legal troubles, right? (Neither is his Grease costar Jeff Conaway’s posthumous accusation that Travolta gave him a hummer a few days ago. Hmm.)

Your Daily Guide to Trending Topics

Every day there are some topics that are trending, Since many of them don’t make sense, we provide easy contextualization. Also, this way, you won’t actually have to know anything about anything.

Robert F. Kennedy

RFK Jr. is trending today because yesterday his estranged wife, Mary Kennedy, died, reportedly from having hanged herself at their Westchester, New York estate. It’s just the latest tragedy for the seemingly cursed American political dynasty, which has seen more than its fair share of members die in tragic and untimely ways. The Kennedys were married in 1994, but last year Bobby filed for divorce amid rumors of Mary’s substance abuse issues and of his own philandering. “We deeply regret the death of our beloved sister Mary, whose radiant and creative spirit will be sorely missed by those who loved her,” the family said in a statement.

Nick Stahl

In other curse news, people are searching up a storm (both online and in person) for actor Nick Stahl of Terminator 3 is the latest cast member of that franchise to run into trouble. The 32-year-old’s wife has reported him missing, saying the last time he was seen was May 9 and adding that Stahl had been frequenting a down-and-out part of Los Angeles, perhaps a hint at drug use. Stahl took over in the Terminator franchise for Edward Furlong, who left the series to find his own problems, including stints in rehab and accusations of rather serious violence against his wife. Troubled actors including Christian Bale and Thomas Dekker have also been part of the series of films.

Tyra Banks

Over at Yahoo!, things are a little more lighthearted; the site’s number-one search term is “Tyra Banks Too Fat.” But the readers there aren’t hating, they’re searching for an essay the America’s Next Top Model host wrote  for The Daily Beast supporting the new Vogue rule banning underage and malnourished models. In the piece, Banks discusses her own battles with weight and how difficult it made her teenage life. Then she explains what exactly it is about her modeling competition show that is healthy for young viewers. No, of course she doesn’t do that part. 

iPad Mini

People are nuts about Apple products—spending money on them instead of more valuable Apple stock—but this is crazy. The internet is wild with iAddicts searching for a report that says that Apple might be planning to release a 7-inch version of its tablet, which would retail for about $250, to compete with the Kindle. There already is an iPad Mini, guys, it’s called an iPhone. Whatever, see you all in line.

John Travolta

Bing users are still a bit hung up on movie star and pubic hair hippie John Travolta and the mounting lawsuits against him for making homosexy advanced toward masseurs and other guys. Too bad searching for Travolta news on Bing doesn’t bring you this hot nugget: According to the wife of late Grease star Jeff Conway, Travolta once tried to wake the now-deceased actor with oral sex, leading to a rift in their friendship and what might have been a lasting distaste on Conway’s part for morning action.

Lil Kim

Twitter is bonkers for the Queen Bee this morning, due to her appearance on a New York radio show and also the news that she has taken in her estranged father, who’s reportedly suffering from Alzheimer’s but could also be a spy sent by Nicki Minaj and Foxy Brown to attack from inside her home. The story is developing.

Lil Kim 1

Lil Kim 2

Lil Kim 3

Lil Kim 4


John Travolta Reportedly Banned from Hotel Spa for ‘Inappropriate Behavior’

Another day, another accuser! John Travolta, who was hit with a lawsuit this week related to allegations by three male massage therapists regarding inappropriate sexual advances, is now being accused of such by a fourth one, who says Travolta’s behavior got him blacklisted from the spa at New York’s Peninsula Hotel.

Using statements from Michael Caputo, a former masseur at the luxe Fifth Avenue hotel, the New York Daily News reports Travolta was banished to the spa’s "no-thigh zone" for three years in the early 2000s for "inappropriate behavior" with male massage therapists, though–following a complaint from Travolta’s camp–the ban was eventually lifted (much like Travolta’s towel when in the presence of a masseur).

So what did Travolta do at the Peninsula? Via Us, Caputo divulges some juicy (and gross, because, you know… John Travolta) details:

"Travolta would always request a man for his massage, but after a while no one would take him," Caputo shares. "It got to the point where they couldn’t find any men to take him, and they had to ban him."

According to Caputo, male employees accused the star of "removing his towel, grinding against the massage table and lifting his butt in the air."

Wait, it’s not normal to grind against a massage table and lift your butt in the air? Prudes!

Your Daily Guide to Trending Topics

Every day there are some topics that are trending. Since many of them don’t make sense, we provide easy contextualization. Also, this way, you won’t actually have to know anything about anything.

Chris Birdman Andersen
Google Trends is a dark place to start your morning. After you move past our obsession with the tit heard round the world (also known as the cover of Time magazine), you land here: The kiddie porn charges swirling around Denver Nuggets center and all-around scary looking dude Chris “Birdman” Andersen. Internet Crimes Against Children investigators seized property from the athlete’s home and cops released a statement saying, “This is an ongoing investigation and there’s lots and lots of work to do until it ever gets to that point.” Andersen has since been indefinitely excused from his Nuggets duties, where at least people could keep an eye on the balls he was handling.

Flesh-Eating Bacteria
If crimes against children doesn’t get you down, try this one: the battle of a 24-year-old Georgia graduate student against necrotizing fasciiti, a flesh-eating disease. The woman contracted it after an accident on zip line and last week had to have her right leg amputated—doctors say her hands and remaining leg might be next to go. Odds are in the next few hours, someone’s going to blame this one on gay marriage.

70-Year-Old Virgin
Yahoo! readers can’t get enough of Pam “The Sexational Pam” Shaw, a 70-year-old bombshell who has decided that it’s time to lose her virginity. Yahoo! users, many over the hill themselves, love that Shaw has been performing for years as a burlesque dancer under a titillating stage name and has even shared a dressing room with the Sex Bomb himself Tom Jones, she’s somehow managed kept her virtue intact. Now, she tells the Sun, she’s looking for a handsome millionaire who’s into really old virgins. Good luck with that, Pam!

John Edwards
Yahoo!’s loins are on fire today when it comes to the elderly. Readers can’t stop searching for news about one-time presidential hopeful and haircut enthusiast John Edwards, whose campaign finance violating trail is still dragging itself out. But who cares about pilfered funds when there’s news about Edwards’ crazy, blonde jump-off Rielle Hunter! It seems that Edwards’ baby mama, who allegedly collected all kinds of cash from his campaign to keep her mouth shut and her pants off, won’t be testifying in his trial, which is set to wrap up today.

John Travolta
It’s a bad day for Johns. Get it? Following one of the top trending items on Bing we find out that John Travolta’s woes—which we’ve told you about before—continue to pile up as the reportedly packing (if not manscaped) actor is facing another charge of sexual harassment, this time from a former cruise line employee who claims Travolta offered him 12K for sex. Meanwhile, the actor’s lawyers are doing their best to disprove the charges, of which there are now three, but seem to be making little headway in the court of public opinion.

Bristol Palin
The good people of Twitter are frantically hashtagging posts with #bristolpalin, a nod to the reality star and single mom who came out swinging against President Obama’s support of gay marriage. Considering the stunning wisdom we’re used to receiving from Bristol and the Palin family at large, her uninformed and thoughtless comments on this topic have left millions of fans disillusioned and disappointed.

Bristol Tweet 1
Bristol Tweet 2
Bristol Tweet 3
Bristol Tweet 4

Your Daily Guide to Trending Topics

Every day there are some topics that are trending. Since many of them don’t make sense, we provide easy contextualization. Also, this way, you won’t actually have to know anything about anything.

Over at Google, the fifth trendingest thing of the day is “Lugar,” and it’s not about spitting phlegm balls. No, the story is about longtime Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar (heh), who was unseated after six terms Tuesday night by Tea Party-endorsed upstart Richard Mourdock. After losing his seat, 80-year-old Lugar released an epic rant about the state of partisanship and promptly tuned into Matlock.

Also on Google, after a strong and trendy showing yesterday, is John Travolta. The actor has now been accused by a second man of being a handsy gay; the second man said in his lawsuit that he has “substantial documentation and numerous witnesses regarding the substance of Travolta’s actions.” The lawsuit also alleges that Travolta has an eight-inch penis and unruly pubic hair, which is way more than we ever wanted to know.

Travolta’s also trending over at Yahoo!, but there’s serious news to be had as well: the passage of North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which added an amendment to the state’s constitution that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, is a hot topic over on that site. Lest you think Yahoo! overly newsy, other trending topics include Brooke Shields (why was she walking with a cane?!), Christina Aguilera (the finale of The Voice was last night) and superstar Columbian prostitute Dania Suarez.

Even more inane is what’s getting #hashtags over at Twitter, including the very important #QuestionsIHateBeingAsked. Check out the highlights below.

Trending Questions 1

Trending Questions 2

Trending Question 3

Trending question 4