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'Good Will Hunting' (1997)
Artist: Elliott Smith
Best track: "Miss Misery"
What makes the soundtrack so good: OK, so the "Good Will Hunting" soundtrack wasn't helmed by just a single artist, but certainly Elliott Smith's haunted voice dominates it. The set operates as part time-capsule to the '90s (Luscious Jackson) , on top of weaving a little bit of Danny Elfman's wistful score with some classic odes (Al Green's take on "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart") and midnight wanderer Smith whispering bookeneds for all. Gus Van Sant worked in three previously released songs from Smith's condensed indie catalog, and the new commissioned "Miss Misery" went on to really shock everyone: in the same Oscars category where Celine Dion rocked the charts with the "Titanic" theme, there too was the diminutive Smith wrecking tear ducts and breaking hearts all the same, just as the "Good Will" film did.
- Katie Hasty