Exclusive Features
Anniversaries, Cover Stories, Editorials,
Interviews, Lists, and Comprehensive Rankings

Cinema Sounds: Wayne’s World

on April 02, 2010, 12:01am

The other day, a friend and I were discussing whether or not we had ever met anyone who claimed to not like the movie Wayne’s World, and neither of us could come up with a single name. Surely there are some detractors out there, but as a general rule, I’d say that this movie appeals to the masses.

And why is that? Well, for one thing, it’s one of the most quotable movies of all time. Many lines are funny independent of their context.

“If it’s a severed head, I’m going to be very upset.”

“If he were an ice-cream flavor, he’d be Pralines and Dick.”

“I’ll have the cream of sum yung gi.” (I’ll confess I have no idea how to spell that one.)

I could go on. And I think I will.

“Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt.”

“Garth, marriage is punishment for shoplifting in some countries.”

“If you’re gonna spew, spew into this.” (Okay, maybe we need the visual for that one.)

Couple the dialogue with the in-their-prime versions of Dana Carvey and Mike Myers (in the latter’s case, before atrocities such as Austin Powers in Goldmember and The Love Guru, that is), and you have the formula for comic gold. Could anyone deliver the lines “I don’t even own a gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack” or “Ribbed, for her pleasure … ewww” and make them quite so hilarious?

Though not all of the lines had quite the same staying power – who remembers “Not!”? – there’s something about this movie that appeals to a universal consciousness. Even non-suburbanites – non-Midwestern suburbanites, to be clear – could wax nostalgic about some good old Midwestern suburban living. We’ve all been there: lame Friday nights with nothing to do but hang out on the couch in our parents’ basement, until a viable alternative presents itself in the form of driving around between donut shops, guitar stores, and … well, just some more time spent driving around. Astro Minivans. Street hockey. Discmans being an extravagance. Oh, it was a simpler time, and that’s not just because so many years have passed. I miss 1992. You could take a flight and invite your family to sit with you at the gate, and you wouldn’t even have to get naked before boarding.

In the same vein, the music of Wayne’s World seems to represent this same brand of ’90s optimism. These guys weren’t interested in grunge; they weren’t even interested in death metal so much. They just wanted something that rocked, from people who could wail. In her DVD commentary, director Penelope Spheeris described the characters’ brand of musical tastes as “party-animal music,” and I think she’s right. It’s like Poison once said, they “don’t need nothin’ but a good time.”

The soundtrack is a mixture of classic rock, early-’90s rock, and some Tia Carrere thrown in. Oh, and “Dream Weaver”.

For many of us, this movie really served as an introduction to Queen. And what an intro. “Going with a little ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, gentlemen” was the right move. Another factoid I learned as a result of listening to the director’s commentary: Mike Myers didn’t want to do the head-banging scene because he thought it just wouldn’t be that funny. He was wrong. Can anyone out there ever listen to “Bohemian Rhapsody” without picturing the head-banging scene?

In the same way, it’s really difficult to mentally divorce any of these songs from their scenes in the movie, which means the soundtrack is doing its job. The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Sikamikanico” (the B-side to “Under the Bridge”, and what the hell does that even mean?) accompanies Wayne’s sassy declaration that they were able to get the CD player when they got the money.

Picture Garth pulling off a hunk of licorice from the Mirth Mobile’s … licorice dispenser, saying they shouldn’t be too far from Milwaukee now. Are you hearing the words, “take a long long ride … with yourself?” Thanks, Rhino Bucket.

How about “Time Machine” by Black Sabbath? Wayne, en route to get Cassandra back, is pulled over by Terminator 2’s T-1000. The music fits the mania of the moment.

The opening notes of “Feed My Frankenstein” evoke the image of a giant glowing skeleton and a whip-wielding Alice Cooper. (If I could throw in one more line here, it should be said that Milwaukee has certainly seen its share of visitors, and its name is Algonquin for “the good land.”)

Tia Carrere turns out a more-than-decent version of “Ballroom Blitz”. It’s too bad there wasn’t room on the soundtrack for her rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire”, too.

A couple other songs were left off the soundtrack, perhaps because they’re certainly the more dated ones (well, “Dream Weaver” aside, maybe). Still, for a movie that calls to mind the early ’90s, some quintessential early-’90s music would have been a welcome addition. Listen for the background music that’s playing during the first visit to Stan Mikita’s donut shop. Yes, that’s Ugly Kid Joe’s “Everything About You”. (Does anyone know what happened to Ugly Kid Joe? Does anyone care enough to find out? I, for one, am still pissed about being subjected to approximately three billion listens of their crappy “Cat’s in the Cradle” cover.) A couple of Chris Cornell-penned tunes didn’t make the cut, either: Soundgarden’s “Loud Love” and Temple of the Dog’s “All Night Thing” (the latter plays during the scene at Rob Lowe’s condo, providing backing music to lines such as “From this height, you could really hock a loogie on someone.”)

It’s clear I can hardly discuss the music without morphing into quote-mode, so I’ll finish up here. Just one more song: Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady”. Garth and his fantasy donut girl. Little devil’s horns. And a pelvis that seems to move independent of his body. Or, as Spheeris said, he was seriously humping some air there.

Spheeris said that another song had originally been chosen for that scene. I can’t picture it any other way, just as I can’t picture the opening drive through “Aurora, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago” without seeing Mike Myers fold his arms across his chest and lip-sync, “Mama mia, mama mia, let me go …”

“Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me …”

Years later, I have yet to find out what “Bohemian Rhapsody” is even about. But do the lyrics even matter so much? Or is it just about having music that rocks a little hard? I’ll go with the second.

Wayne’s World tracklist:
01. “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen
02. “Hot And Bothered” – Cinderella
03. “Rock Candy” – Bulletboys
04. “Dream Weaver” – Gary Wright
05. “Sikamikanico” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
06. “Time Machine” – Black Sabbath
07. “Wayne’s World Theme” – Mike Myers/Dana Carvey (Extended Version)
08. “Ballroom Blitz” – Tia Carrere
09. “Foxy Lady” – Jimi Hendrix
10. “Feed My Frankenstein” – Alice Cooper
11. “Ride With Yourself” – Rhino Bucket
12. “Loving Your Lovin'” – Eric Clapton
13. “Why You Wanna Break My Heart” – Tia Carrere

1 comment