I know most of you scoffed when you heard that a movie titled “Hot Tub Time Machine” was actually coming to a theatre near you. The only reason I even saw it was because a friend somehow got nine passes to a free screening of the film a few weeks before release. I thought it was some sort of joke, but still – free is free and everyone went, rolling our eyes the whole way. Of course, none of us would have been there if it had cost money. We sat through the entire thing (all 99 minutes of it) and when the lights came up, all turned to each other hesitantly, almost embarrassed:
“Guys, did you think…was that…that was actually really funny”
It was a shocker to all parties. So much so that I still hesitate to actually recommend it to anyone – those low expectations probably really added to how absolutely hilarious I found it.
The film came out on DVD a few weeks ago and over the 4th of July weekend I watched it again (a perfect compainion piece to “Wet Hot American Summer”)…and I still found it hilarious. John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke might be the four strangest dudes to end up in a movie together, but they all completely commit to the insanity and miraculously – they really make it work.
Other than the performances of the four stars, the biggest thing that this film has going for it is that the 80’s were a totally ridiculous decade. Case in point:
Big hair, shoulder pads, neon legwarmers – all of these play keys roles in the comedy, but the one aspect of the decade that is especially important (and also a special breed of ridiculous) is the music. Poison performs at the winter carnival. Nick (Robinson) is a failed musician who’s trip to the past is all about nailing the performance that had first ruined his career. And the end credit sequence is Lou (Corddry) in full Mötley Crüe gear rocking out in an 80’s style music video to “Home Sweet Home.” It makes perfect sense that the film was music supervised by the same person as “Anvil! The Story of Anvil“, Dana Sano. And she really serves both the film and the soundtrack very well.
If you’re looking for the starter guide to learning and loving ridiculous 80’s pop music, then look no further than the Hot Tub Time Machine Soundtrack. There’s nothing revolutionary on there, and at times it’s a bit one note – but it’s light and fluffy and full of all the synthy goodness that we all love/hate/love the 80’s for.
It’s also sequenced well – starting with Public Enemy for some punch at the beginning, used in the film in as the core four have a wild, drunken time in the hot tub – travelling back to the 80’s in the process. Then the soundtrack flows from of the quirkier tracks like Men Without Hats “Safety Dance,” Scritti Politti “Perfect Way,” and Salt-N-Pepa “Push It” (with the exception of Track 11, Craig Robinsion’s version of “Jessie’s Girl”) into more easy listening with Spandau Ballet “True” and New Order “Bizarre Love Triangle.” And who doesn’t think that Talking Heads “Once In A Lifetime” – while a bit trite these days – is still a great way to end any film about a wild experience? Especially with the double whammy of being followed by Mötley Crüe “Home Sweet Home” right after it. I also really respect the decision to put Robinson’s version of “Let’s Get It Started,” by the Black Eyed Peas at the very end, more as an afterthought than a part of the fabric of the soundtrack – it’s super fun, but really out of place with the other material.
So you’ll know pretty much every song on there – which if it was any other soundtrack for any other movie, is a big no no – but what more do you really want from a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine?
1. “Louder Than A Bomb (Back Into Time)” – Public Enemy
2. “Perfect Way” – Scritti Politti
3. “The Safety Dance” – Men Without Hats
4. “What You Need” – INXS
5. “Modern Love” – David Bowie
6. “I Will Dare” – The Replacements
7. “Push It” – Salt ’N Pepa
8. “Bring On The Dancing Horses” – Echo And The Bunnymen
9. “Save It For Later” – The English Beat
10. “True” – Spandau Ballet
11. “Jessie’s Girl” – Craig Robinson
12. “Bizarre Love Triangle” – New Order
13. “Once In A Lifetime” – Talking Heads
14. “Home Sweet Home” – Mötley Crüe
15. “Let’s Get It Started” – Craig Robinson
And in case you forgot how amazing music videos were in the 80’s…you’re welcome.
“Perfect Way” – Scritti Politti
“The Safety Dance” – Men Without Hats
“What You Need” – INXS
“Bring On The Dancing Horses” – Echo And The Bunnymen
“Save It For Later” – The English Beat
“True” – Spandau Ballet
Spandau Ballet – True from JANUS MUSIC on Vimeo.
“Once In A Lifetime” – Talking Heads
“Home Sweet Home” – Mötley Crüe