The Five Best Music Moments of Sofia Coppola's Movies

Sofia Coppola: Despite this face, she's still much better behind the scenes than she is in them. (Remember The Godfather Part III?) - Image via
Sofia Coppola: Despite this face, she's still much better behind the scenes than she is in them. (Remember The Godfather Part III?)

It wasn't until she married him that we realized how often her husband's band is all over Sofia Coppola's movies. Thomas Mars, the lead singer of Phoenix and father of Coppola's two children, makes musical or physical appearances in the director's films almost as often as he makes albums, and though his Grammy-winning French foursome is responsible for quite a few of the film's best musical moments, Coppola's famously brilliant taste in music precedes her relationship with her husband.

In honor of their recent wedding -- which we're sure was impeccably soundtracked -- we've reflected on our favorite onscreen moments and the songs that take them from typically beautiful to contextually meaningful. (Note: The choice was a tough one. There is no shortage of beautiful people, themes or music in Coppola's movies.)

5. Somewhere "My Hero" by Foo Fighters If you think about it, the pairing of action and music here shouldn't actually make sense: Jonny Marco (Stephen Dorff), the famous actor whose relationship with his daughter forms the quaint crux of the plot, is tired. Jaded and lonely in his lavish suite at the Chateau Marmont, Marco is quite literally falling asleep while he watches blonde identical twins work two identical poles inside his freakin' hotel room. This is surely someone's fantasy, but the result is hardly complimentary to the dancers. Only a short while later in a dance scene of a completely different nature, he watches his daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning) ice skate during a lesson, and suddenly, we get the point. The delicate, platonic juxtaposition finds its mark specifically because it's never forced.

4. Marie Antoinette "Ceremony" by New Order There are few things more nostalgic and heartbreaking in the same exact moment than a New Order song, which is why this particular track, one of the most painful, perfectly complements the young queen's story. We all know how it will end -- not well -- but the scene accompanying Bernard Sumner's lonely vocals and that melancholy guitar is one of picturesque frolicking at a royal party. This movie, in particular, is a wealth of genius musical moments (particularly the Strokes' "What Ever Happened?"), and Coppola's husband's band even makes a cameo to serenade Antoinette, but the sad loveliness of this scene serves the movie better by almost fading into the background. No Doubt's "Don't Speak" just wouldn't have been the same.

3. Virgin Suicides "Playground Love" by Air The plot of this movie (and the beautiful Jeffrey Eugenides book it's based on) sticks pretty close to its title, we're not gonna lie. In suburban Michigan in the 1970s, the Lisbon family appears to occupy a pretty typical, if stifling, niche in the series of cookie-cutter neighborhoods in which it exists. The fact that it doesn't actually occupy such a place, however, is where this song comes into play, in the spaces in which the audience is given entrance into the emotional problems troubling the five blonde daughters who are the center of the family. Unsurprisingly, this song is easily connected to Phoenix, Air's close friends and co-writers on the song. Phoenix continues to play its stripped-down, bare emotional melody at its live shows -- and has done so on St. Louis soil at the Pageant.

2. Lost in Translation "Just Like Honey" by the Jesus and Mary Chain With a soundtrack that includes bands such as My Bloody Valentine as well as Air (again) and Phoenix (no surprise there), you could easily get into an argument about the best music moment of Lost In Translation -- and not finish the argument for a few hours. That's why we're going to set it straight: It's "Just Like Honey." When they grow strangely close after meeting in a hotel Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) begin a relationship that explores the gap between culture shock and emotional alienation in a film that served as the springboard for Johansson's entire future aesthetic. It's a lovely movie, and it finds firm footing in constant scenes of Tokyo architecture and the interaction between its two main characters. When their relationship comes to its foreseeable end, the combination of both those aspects, icy British shoegaze and lyrics like, "I'll be your plastic toy" create an almost excruciatingly humble denouement.

1. Virgin Suicides "Crazy On You" by Heart There is enough eerie foreshadowing in this movie to last us a long way through its slow, deliberate plot. This makes it even better when the spiciest sister, Lux Lisbon (Kirsten Dunst) shows genuine youthful enthusiasm during a surprise scene with local heartthrob (read: hot derelict) Trip Fontaine (Josh Hartnett). The cloistered Lux remains relatively suffocated by her parents, who regulate the blonde babe's interactions with a pretentiousness rivaled only by their attention to religion. After a more than mildly uncomfortable scene in which she goes on a date that involves the couple watching TV with her entire family, Lux runs to Trip's car and momentarily stops him from leaving by making out with him with an almost psychopathic ferocity. The red-hot, almost rabid moment is bittersweet and awkward in a way that defines youth while also emphasizing it with the raging Heart jam.

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