For years, the don dada of overplayed movie trailer jams had to be “I Feel Good” by James Brown. Those snazzy horns provided an obvious framework for conveying a character’s upbeat attitude around some wacky new predicament, be it a sudden windfall or perhaps a good, old-fashioned body switching.
Times change, however, and certain songs no longer fit the cultural zeitgeist. So it’s no wonder that our current moment finds so many movies soundtracked with a song whose first lyric is “Picture this: I’m a bag of dicks.”
I can’t remember when I first heard “Nobody Speak” by DJ Shadow and Run the Jewels, but it was probably in a movie trailer. The song has a catchy flamenco guitar riff over a meat-and-potatoes beat that, taken together, sounds like a PSA for impending shenanigans. It debuted in 2016 in advance of DJ Shadow’s album, The Mountain Will Fall, and has since become a conspicuous repeat offender in movie previews. For instance, I came across it in not one but two trailers that debuted this morning, for movies about youngsters who party.
Exhibit A is Booksmart, a sort of gender-flipped Superbad where two goodie-goodies cut loose on a wild night.
That guitar riff first kicks in at 1:09, and the song plays muted in the background until 1:39, when we get “Picture this: I’m a bag of dicks,” loud and clear. If memory serves, this line is spotlighted in each movie trailer usage of the song, as a cute way to suggest deep naughtiness. For instance, in the trailer for Good Boys (below), which, paradoxically, is about boys who are Bad, that line also arrives at the 1:39 mark. This appears to be the perfect moment to imagine a sentient sack of phalluses.
I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t hearing things, that these two examples were only the latest chapter in the robust history of this song’s tenure in trailers. Unfortunately, there is no easily searchable, regularly updated database for such things. The only other example I could find through a cursory googling was this trailer for the Matt Damon flop Suburbicon, from 2017.
In a crushing blow to my theory, however, the “bag of dicks” line is not featured prominently in the trailer. Picture this: I’m a bag of disappointments.
While I was unable to find any other movie trailers that use “Nobody Speak,” I did manage to locate no less than five movies from the past two years that feature the song within the film itself: Snatched, Love, Simon, Pacific Rim: Uprising, The Happytime Murders, and Deadpool 2. Perhaps it only seems like the song is in a lot of trailers because it keeps popping up in movies.
Fast Company will continue monitoring the situation to determine whether this song truly is the new “I Feel Good” or, rather, just a flash (of a bag of dicks) in the pan.