There was a time in the late 90s and early 2000s when two of life's simplest pleasures peaked: teen movies and pop punk. This resulted, for years, in an inexplicably harmonious relationship between them. Artists like Sum 41 and Green Day popped up on soundtracks. Others rocked up in cameos. Some covered classic movie songs. I mean, sure, pop punk's link to films like the American Pie series and Grind made the most sense; pop punk and slacker storylines made a perfectly cargo-shorted pair given their mutual interest in fart jokes and boobs. More surprising? Bowling For Soup, Simple Plan and American Hi-Fi all featuring in Lindsay Lohan classic Freaky Friday. Or Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard and others being on Spider-Man 2's very emo soundtrack. Or Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen covering Weezer's "Island in the Sun" for their obviously direct-to-video Holiday in the Sun. The list is, strangely, endless.
Nothing really ties pop punk to teen film soundtracks other than the fact that they were both popular at the same time, and started out with absolutely not a shred of respectability in the first place. They were, and still are, both looked down on in most critical circles, and have no need to even put up a facade of being in high taste. As a result, most pop punk bands didn't really have to think twice when they were offered the opportunity to "sell out." But what's more surprising than their presence on every soundtrack of the era is probably that brief, fleeting trend for bands to appear in films themselves—mostly in prom scenes, to be fair, but occasionally as integral parts of the plot. In an effort to continue living in the past, because freaking Sugar Ray's Scooby-Doo appearance is somehow 15 years old now, it is essential that we look at some of pop punk's weirdest moments in teen movies.
GOOD CHARLOTTE IN NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE (2001)
In the no man's land between Good Charlotte's just-okay first album and reaching mainstream success with The Young and the Hopeless was Not Another Teen Movie. One of Chris Evans' earliest and best works, the cloud of Joel Gallen froth parodied teen films from American Pie to Sixteen Candles to Cruel Intentions. It also had, as you might expect, a lengthy prom scene. Keen for money and literally any level of exposure, up-and-coming pop punk sweeties Good Charlotte appeared onstage for all the teens, covering "If You Leave," "Footloose," and "Put Your Head(s) on My Shoulder." Despite Good Charlotte literally saying on their first record that they wanted to be, "on the movie screen," they have still been questioned throughout their career about "selling out," to which Benji Madden has said, "we didn't have money and we wanted it". And that's it—when a film, any film, wants to offer you a load of money to do pop punk covers of teen movie classics for five minutes, why the fuck wouldn't you?
SIMPLE PLAN IN NEW YORK MINUTE (2004)
The Olsen twins made a lot of films centred on them having a great time on holiday, and the plot of the very last of them, 2004's New York Minute, hinged entirely on Simple Plan's appearance in the film. Mary-Kate's Roxy, whose parents knew when they named her that she was going to be wild and rebellious, is desperate to get her demo tape backstage at a Simple Plan show in New York. Roxy gets her tape to Simple Plan, chased along the way by Eugene Levy's extremely committed truant officer, jumps on stage to dance with them and gets her demo accepted by the A&R guys because it's in "nice packaging." I guess?? Simple Plan are not adverse to incongruous appearances—their music has featured in Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Cheaper By the Dozen, Freaky Friday, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and also everything else.
THE OFFSPRING IN IDLE HANDS (1999)
OK look, I'm as unhappy about having to revisit this destroyer of the "silly comedy horror" scene as you are. 1999's Idle Hands—a "stoner black comedy body horror" starred Seth Green, Jessica Alba and Stan off of Eminem's video for "Stan"—was mostly critically panned, despite being an obvious masterpiece. The plot centred on a teen who cuts off his possessed hand with a cleaver, inadvertently allowing the murderous hand it to run wild and do as many murders as it pleases. Idle Hands' relationship with pop punk extends from the soundtrack to Tom DeLonge in a brief cameo as a Burger Jungle employee, but the best scene involves The Offspring, a school dance and the hand scalping Dexter Holland of his very famous, very yellow hair.
FALL OUT BOY IN SEX DRIVE (2008)
Fall Out Boy recently appeared on the 2016 Ghostbusters soundtrack. Big Hero 6, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, American Pie Presents: The Book of Love all litter their IMDB page. They have a very noble commitment to making as much money as possible in any way they can, including an unreleased collaboration with TI, but regardless, I had to double check the date on this one. 2008 seems way, way too late for a sex comedy about a teen who goes on a cross-country road trip to shag a girl he met online. Featuring Fall Out Boy. Playing a Rumspringa party. Starring Seth Green. But… never mind. It didn't take a lot to get them involved, with Pete saying, "[the film] actually seemed funny, and plus, we, like, texted Seth and asked him if he was doing it, and he said yes." In an interview, Pete and Patrick said that they took on the project as they "go way back" with Seth Green and that, "he's a friend of ours but we also just respect him a lot," adding, "he's never been in anything bad, so. We'll just do it, no matter what." "Never been in anything bad" is an interesting way to sum up Green's filmography, but OK.
BOWLING FOR SOUP IN CROSSROADS (2002)
Around eight minutes into Britney Spears' 2002 road trip opus Crossroads, Bowling For Soup appear for a collective number of seconds to perform "Greatest Day." In an interview, lead singer Jaret said, "I was in that movie for about a second and a half…and the other guys ended up getting cut from the movie!" It's shot like they literally didn't want to show the band at all. The thing is, though, Bowling For Soup were a band in 2002. If you were barely going to show a band, if you were going to actually cut them off halfway through to show some girls chatting in the toilet instead, why wouldn't you just hire…another band? A cheaper one? Is everyone getting some kind of tax break? Is 'pop punk bands appearing in Hollywood films' actually just a big scam? They aren't even performing as Bowling For Soup. They are Graduation Band, and handsome sexy criminal Ben, of whom Britney wants a great big piece, is their guitarist—instead of their actual objectively way less shaggable one. :(
SUGAR RAY IN SCOOBY-DOO (2002)
While not necessarily as pop punk as other bands on this list, Sugar Ray still had one of the greatest and most baffling movie cameos in an offensively underrated film that turns 15 this year. The live action Scooby-Doo movie had not only the best early 2000s cast in Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr, Linda Cardellini, and Matthew fucking Lillard, but a stunning soundtrack of pop punk, reggae and hip-hop. Sugar Ray feature as a band performing on the island whose members are possessed, because that is the plot. Mark McGrath's appearance as a possessed creep making eyes at Daphne, along with Scooby-Doo's cast and long term relationship with Simple Plan, mark it as the peak of early 2000s high art.
BLINK-182 IN AMERICAN PIE (1999)
Blink and you'll miss it (lol) but Tom, Mark, and Travis all appear in the first American Pie film for a good few seconds, initially playing the tail end of a song before enjoying a non-consensual, webcam sex broadcast and hanging out with a monkey. Not Very Cool behavior, even in 1999, but literally nothing has ever made more sense than Blink-182 being the Dick In A Pie band.
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