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Recently watching Pitch Perfect for the first time, I was so into the cover Anna Kendrick did of the little known YouTube-famous song “Cups”. It’s kind of awesome learning that actors you enjoy are talented when put to tune as well. On the other hand, even if there’s not talent involved scenes featuring characters singing well known songs can also just be entertaining or hilarious. For this list I narrowed out any performances from biopics where the actors playing the parts of singers are covering the songs in character.

“I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow” in O Brother Where Art Thou?

While this is the only song on the list that doesn’t feature the actual actors’ voices, I still have to include it. The music is such a big part of O Brother, Where Art Thou‘s charm. The song is really catchy if you can dig on some folk music, and the rendition performed for the movie is so damn memorable.

“Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” in 10 Things I Hate About You

Way back when, I put this on my list of favorite romantic gestures. Heath Ledger belting out this song over the loud speaker is just way too cool. The scene is funny & sweet and it’s awesome to think the same actor could pull off such a sweet scene and also become the Joker.

“Let’s Get It On” in High Fidelity

High Fidelity is one of the best movies about music hands down. There’s tons of great music moments throughout the film, but the closing scene featuring Barry’s many named band performing this Marvin Gaye cover is certainly a highlight. It’s got Jack Black’s wackiness in there, but it’s actually not that bad musically speaking. Like Rob Gordon, you think this performance is going to suck, but it’s actually really fun.

“These Eyes” in Superbad

This is one of those scenes that brings tears to my eyes with how hard I’m laughing without fail. Michael Cera is this high schooler trapped in a room with scary druggies, and they force him to sing since they’re convinced he’s some guy with a beautiful voice. First, the song choice is so random. Second, his singing voice is not close to beautiful. Third, the way he actually gains confidence midway through is hilarious. And fourth, that damn part where his voice gets high and he trails off. Cera completely sells that entire scene.

“You Always Hurt The One You Love” in Blue Valentine

This is one of the cute parts of Blue Valentine (versus all the heart wrenching ones) and one of those “Really Ryan Gosling you can’t get any better can you?” moments. Of course he has to do it in a goofy voice, making this little diddy all the better.

“Anyone Else But You” in Juno

First of all, I just love this Moldy Peaches song. The Moldy Peaches’ member Kimya Dawson pretty much provided the soundtrack for the whole movie, so ending this movie with Juno MacGuff and Paulie Bleeker sing their own rendition of one of her songs feels very right in that moment. It’s also fitting with the characters, their story, and their taste in music. I love their understated romance that takes up the B story to this film about unplanned teenage pregnancy, and this final scene just cemented the cuteness of the pairing. Michael Cera and Ellen Page also do a decent job handling the vocals (even if it’s not the most intense song) and play the guitar.

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These were just a few of the cover songs performed by movie characters. What would you put on your list?
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15 thoughts on “Top 6 Cover Songs Performed by Movie Characters

  1. Great list. But in terms of goofy covers, you pretty much have to go with Top Gun, right?

    But my favorite? Well, sometimes, is from Scream 2. O’Doyle rules. I mean, O’Connell. O’Connell rules.

      • Top Gun plays at the AFI sometimes. That would be the idea place to see it. Also, i saw it when it game back in POG form…i mean 3D. Along with a few beers, it was a great experience.

  2. Love this!

    I love your description of the Superbad scene. The part at the very end when he shakes his hands to his side right before the fight breaks out fucking slays me every time. That movie is perfection.

  3. Great list! I know this probably doesn’t count since she was singing with them, but I always loved Renee Zellweger’s character singing SugarHigh at the end of Empire Records.

  4. So many good covers!

    The Wedding Singer had so many fun ones between Sandler, Buscemi, Lovitz. Val Kilmer killed it as Jim Morrison. The Dan Band’s Total Eclipse of the Heart. I’ll stop now.

    • You know, I really should have gotten something from The Wedding Singer on this list. I love that movie. I guess I just couldn’t really narrow down which one to use and it ended up in my long list of honorable mentions.

  5. I love the music in O Brother, that movie just wouldn’t be the same without it.

    I haven’t really seen 10 Things I Hate About You but Ledger had a pretty good voice. Very sad that we lost him.

    I love that whole party scene in Superbad. I love it when the fight breaks out and they still just refer to Cera as “Jimmy’s brother”.

    How about “Something to Talk About” by Will Ferrell in Step Brothers??? :) http://youtu.be/qI7lueNH0Cw

    • Thanks! Ah, Step Brothers. I do love that scene. I’d almost pick out Will Ferrell singing Time to Say Goodbye in Italian at the fucking Catalina Wine Mixer though

  6. I’ll definitely put Heath Ledger too on my list! Who could not melt hearing him performing that (charmingly). I also love Anyone Else But You. Cool list!

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