Back in 1994, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong took his own real-life panic disorder and used it as the fuel for an iconic song called “Basket Case” from the pop punk trio’s career-making, if tragically named, Dookie album. Though the song was deeply personal to Armstrong, it was taken up as a Generation X anthem of sorts in the Clinton-era malaise of the mid-1990s, expressing the vague, snarling dissatisfaction of teens and twentysomethings across America. But perhaps the song’s twitchy anxiety is not limited to any particular decade or age demographic. Maybe “Basket Case” is universal. That is the lesson of a new supercut by The Unusual Suspect entitled “Green Day’s ‘Basket Case’ Sung By 109 Movies.” In this version, the song’s instrumental backing track has been left alone, while Armstrong’s lead vocals have been removed and replaced, one or two words at a time, by soundbites from various movies ranging from 300 to WALL-E to Citizen Kane and many more besides.
The clip is quite a remarkable patchwork quilt of popular culture, spanning at least seven decades and innumerable genres in its meticulous attempt to recreate “Basket Case.” One of the most interesting choices made by The Unusual Suspect is to cram in as many movie clips as possible during the song’s brisk, three-minute running time. This means that, during those few breaks in the lyrics, the supercut uses clips of various movie characters, including ones from This Is Spinal Tap, Wayne’s World, and School Of Rock, playing the guitar. But if this particular supercut is going to be remembered for anything in particular, it’s probably going to be a running joke involving Michael Winslow, the human sound effects machine from Spaceballs. Sometimes, he gives himself the bleeps, the sweeps, and the creeps.