The best thing about pop culture is how often its elements transcend their original scopes and mediums, offering an instant sense of connection to wherever they appear. Be it your favorite movie, show or even song, it’s always cool to see it appreciated.
This phenomenon is largely present in music, with bands referencing film, TV and more. It’s a totally effective technique in fostering relatability between an artist and their listeners. Seriously, just how seen did you feel upon first hearing blink-182 put Jack and Sally at the pinnacle of romance?
That said, the incorporation of movie quotes isn’t always obvious if you don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of cinema. Here are 10 of our favorite song titles that you may not have realized are movie references.
“Merry Christmas, Kiss My Ass” – All Time Low
Initially, it may seem like just a cheeky title by one of the scene’s silliest bands. However, “Merry Christmas, Kiss My Ass” is actually a line straight from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The quote is spoken by protagonist Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) toward a progression of inconsiderate corporate bigwigs in his office.
“I’m A Big, Bright, Shining Star” – Four Year Strong
Four Year Strong are pretty famous for their pop culture references, but here’s one you might not immediately recognize. “I’m A Big, Bright, Shining Star” is the very last line of the movie Boogie Nights. It concludes an unconventional self-talk by Dirk (Mark Wahlberg), during which he exposes himself in the mirror and repeatedly utters the words “I’m a star.”
“She’s My Rushmore” – Every Time I Die
You might not know it, but this song title is on point. Though nowhere near as aggressive as the Every Time I Die track, the film Rushmore explores similar themes of unrequited love and the dark depths of obsession. The line marks a pivotal point for the plot’s love triangle, with “Rushmore” representing an ultimate desire.
“Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off” – Panic! At The Disco
This song title only gets better when you realize it was first voiced by Natalie Portman. In the movie Closer, her character utters the line, “Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off, but it’s better if you do.” And that’s what we like to call a twofer.
“Football Season Is Over” – Bring Me The Horizon
Heathers has proven to be a popular inspiration for a number of alternative bands. From AFI’s “Veronica Sawyer Smokes” to From First To Last’s Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has A Body Count, references abound. You can be forgiven for not catching Bring Me The Horizon’s tribute, though, seeing as it’s relatively subtle. Spoiler: The snarky quote comes from J.D. (Christian Slater) following the murder of two jocks.
“I’m A Loner Dottie, A Rebel” – The Get Up Kids
What screams pop-punk-infused emo better than Pee-wee’s Big Adventure? All right, that might be debatable in any context outside of the Get Up Kids’ discography. The quote comes from Pee-wee (Paul Reubens) as a melodramatic (albeit hilarious) denial after he’s asked out on a date. “You don’t wanna get mixed up with a guy like me,” he explains. “I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.”
“I’m Made Of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?” – A Day To Remember
OK, so the context for this A Day To Remember song isn’t exactly difficult to narrow down. There isn’t an abundance of movies that centralize on wax figures. And, you know, House Of Wax has a vastly different tone… This line comes by way of a Teddy Roosevelt sculpture (Robin Williams) that’s been magically granted sentience in Night At The Museum.
“San Dimas High School Football Rules” – The Ataris
Upon first glance, this title may just seem like a hometown reference. However, Indiana’s the Ataris aren’t exactly a stone’s throw from San Dimas, California. Rather, their connection to the town is proxied by Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. If you’ve seen the film (and we hope you have), you may recognize this line from the conclusion of Ox’s (William Robbins) oral report.
“Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying” – Fall Out Boy (Shawshank Redemption)
There are so many movie references sprinkled into Fall Out Boy’s catalog that it’s tough to pick just one. This prolific line could be easily mistaken for pop-punk edge, though. For those who haven’t seen Shawshank Redemption, the quote is plucked from a stirring dialogue between convicts Andy (Tim Robbins) and Red (Morgan Freeman).
“Bat Country” – Avenged Sevenfold (Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas)
We wouldn’t fault anyone for assuming this was just a goth AF name for a lyrically dark song. If you’re up on film or literature, though, you’ll recognize the term from Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. The quote can be heard in the intro scene of the movie, where a strung-out Raoul Duke (author Hunter S. Thompson‘s alter ego played by Johnny Depp) hallucinates a swarm of bats in the desert. Fun fact: The music video also draws considerable influence from the film.
What are your favorite movie references within song titles? Let us know in the comments below.