Many movies rely on songs to set mood, and there are some that are probably relied upon too often – what we like to call soundtrack staples. ELO’s joyous Mr Blue Sky was around for some 25 years or so before many moviemakers got with the program…
Originally released as the closer to the third side of the Electric Light Orchestra’s double album (ah, the 1970s…) Out of the Blue, Mr Blue Sky was a huge hit in England and the USA, but somehow did the floperoonie thing here in Australia, only reaching number 87.
Its writer, Jeff Lynne, has claimed it was the closest to perfection that he’s come as a songwriter. It also wears his love of The Beatles on its psychedelic sleeves – and there’s nothing wrong with that!
As well as featuring in the movies below, Mr Blue Sky has also been popular as a TV soundtrack staple, most notably in Doctor Who episode Love & Monsters, but also in everything from CSI to American Dad!.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
It took a wonderfully weird movie from Michel Gondry to remind the world just how ace Mr Blue Sky is, with the track featuring in the trailer and the movie. Unlike some of the flicks that follow, it suited the mood of the film perfectly.
The Magic Roundabout (2005)/Doogal (2006)
Why two listings? Well the first begat the second – as for some reason the Americans didn’t think that their countryfolk would “get” the original Anglo/French production. Based on – but nowhere near as good as – the hyper-trippy French stop-motion animations of the 1960s, over which Emma Thompson’s dad made up stories for English viewers, Mr Blue Sky accompanies a Doogal the dog dream sequence, complete with excellent guitar solo from resident hippie guitar-wielder Dylan the rabbit. Now kids, time for bed!
The Game Plan (2007)
What more inspirational training music could there be for The Rock and his footy team in this Disney flick than Mr Blue Sky?
Martian Child (2007)
We like to think that we’re pretty up on all things John Cusack around here, but somehow we missed this tale of a widowed writer and a six-year-old kid who claims he’s from Mars and lives in a box. But hey, Mr Blue Sky, right?
Role Models (2008)
Uh, Mr Blue Sky is the perfect track to accompany a montage of two blokes in the Big Brother program – Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott – bond with their assigned charges, right? Well, it seems that the music people on Role Models agreed with us…
The Invention of Lying (2009)
Ricky Gervais’ high-concept comedy set in a world where everybody is completely truthful – until his character invents fibbing and profits abundantly from it – is very British… and we mean that in the best way. OK, we’re gonna need another montage…
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
The Segway! The Mall Cop-iness! Oh, the poor doggy….
Dismiss this animated feature at your peril – after all, would you dare challenge Megamind?! With a voice cast that included Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, David Cross, Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux and JK Simmons, it was a worthy repository for Mr Blue Sky – and we’re sure it’s choice had nothing to do with the titular character’s skintone…
Battle of the Year (2013)
Erm, it was a rags to riches 3D dance movie. We missed it somehow… but apparently it featured Mr Blue Sky.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017)
Finally, everybody’s favourite, as Baby Groot does his impersonation of Christopher Walken in Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice video while chaos reigns all around him. It’ll be hard for Awesome Mixtape No. 3 to come up with anything greater than this classic. As James Gunn told Rolling Stone, “I’ve always said that if the Guardians had a house band, it would be ELO.” Curiously – considering how many movies the song appears in – they apparently had to fight hard to secure the rights to Mr Blue Sky. Maybe Drax had a word in Jeff Lynne’s ear?