New Order is a band that proves there should be some sort of statute within the film industry that limits the amount of times a song can be used in a scene. The collaborative genius of Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Peter Hook, and Gillian Gilbert appears irresistible to musical directors the world over, but, as extensive as New Order's catalogue is, only a handful of their generally recognized songs gets recycled over and over again in various films. The main offenders, in order of popularity, are "Blue Monday," "Temptation," "Bizarre Love Triangle," "True Faith," and "Ceremony."
For the most part, the purpose of using "Blue Monday" in a film is intended to let us know that this is a story set in the eighties. The Wedding Singer is a chief example of this concept. Even though the decade that was the eighties was not all that appreciative of the song (more pleasant new wave sounds like those of Duran Duran were favored), it still remains the highest selling 12-inch single of all time. Then again, what's going to outsell it at this point when no one buys or ever will buy a 12-inch single again? During a club scene, complete with break dancing, this song is played as Robbie (Adam Sandler) tells Holly (Christine Taylor) how her bracelets remind him of Madonna's. The History Boys and Starter for 10 are also films set in the eighties that employ the time machine that "Blue Monday" seems to signify.
The next well-liked song is "Temptation." Its most memorable, and highly romanticized, lyrics discuss how this one girl has green eyes, blue eyes, and grey eyes. I think it's supposed to be about a multi-faceted woman who can't be defined by one characteristic because Bernard had never met anyone quite like her before. Or something. Naturally, a song like this is used in Something Wild (a romantic comedy about a "free-spirit", played by Melanie Griffith, who finds her way into the heart of an uptight, button-down sort of bloke, played by Jeff Daniels) and The Other Sister (you know, the one about slow-witted love). It's played in Trainspotting too, which is the proverbial exception to the rule about "Temptation" solely being swelled over a maudlin exchange. Oh yes, and D.E.B.S. isn't really a movie one would expect "Temptation" to be played in either. But then, who's to say that crime fighting schoolgirls don't have green/blue/grey eyes?
Next on the roster of songs is "Bizarre Love Triangle" (later desecrated by Lisa Loeb, but hopefully still primarily associated with New Order). This particular song is always used exactly the way you would expect it to be: Whenever there is some sort of bizarre love triangle. Threesome, Married to the Mob, and Splendor are all films centering on a "three's a crowd" type relationship and are consequently offenders of using this song to hammer that point over your head.
"True Faith," which, let's face it, should just be called "My Morning Sun" because that's what everyone thinks it is anyway, is one of the first noticeable uses of music in the film American Psycho. Patrick Bateman goes to a club to mingle/snort coke/find a random person to stab and such and this lovely little song is resounding througout the dance floor. Since American Psycho is another film set in the eighties, you might say there is a pattern of New Order being pigeonholed as the embodiment of the decade once again. "True Faith" actually does get played in a movie actually made in the eighties though, also in a club scene for Bright Lights, Big City (classic novel, shit movie).
The last of the most heavily wielded New Order songs in film is none other than "Ceremony," a melodic fast beated, slow vocaled track that has most recently been used in the eye fuck that is Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette.
There is no question that the music of New Order is ideal for superimposition over a scene, but it is quite a shame that music supervisors never seem to want to shell out the cash for a lesser known tune. Still more shameful is how carelessly "Blue Monday" is played in any film that has the budget to further sully the pop perfection of this classic track.