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And who can forget Peter and his fellow white-collar gangstas swaggering to the Geto Boys in Office Space? Or, after he's cold-cocked by the nihilists, The Dude's psychedelic bowling-alley dream sequence as Kenny Rogers and the First Edition croons "Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In" in The Big Lebowski, whose end credits roll with Townes singing the Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers"?

You never know when a Houston-connected song is going to show up at the movies; Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings did a lights-out cover of "Condition" for last year's Soul Men, in fact. And the next time 2007 raging-hormone yukfest Superbad comes on cable, listen up for one of Van Zandt's musical mentors, Lightnin' Hopkins, singing "Policy Game."

So when the lights go down and you turn off those cell phones this summer, remember that plenty of times, if only for a few minutes, Houston musicians have made some good movies even better, and some pretty awful ones a little — or even a lot — more watchable.

chris.gray@houstonpress.com

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