I Like Movies About Rock Bands/Rock Music

08Jun14

Here are some movies about bands, rock music and the like which I enjoy. Some have authoritatively been called “Great” others have not. I make no apologies for it. It’s just a list, in no particular order.

“This is Spinal Tap”

“Josie & The Pussycats”

“Fat Kid Rules the World”

“Almost Famous”

“Singles”

“The Blues Brothers”

“School of Rock”

“Crazy Heart”

“A Mighty Wind”

“Once”

“Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny”

“Rock n’ Roll High School”

“High Fidelity”

“That Thing You Do”

“Idlewilde”

“The Sapphires”

I’m not even saying these are all great, or even in some cases good movies. But they are things I’ve enjoyed, perhaps on a level of pure musical fun. In making this list, I realized that:

A.) I like movies about FICTIONAL bands a lot more than I do bio pics. Bio pics are tricky, because they are playing around with historical facts, but in a subjective medium. With these movies, they’re fictional, so it’s all subjective, even the historical elements it may be using. So movies like “Cadillac Records,” “The Glenn Miller Story,” “The Doors” and even sideways bio pics like “Dreamgirls” usually don’t do it for me. “Rock n’ Roll High School” is an exception in the other direction; the Ramones were a real band, but I think everything about their portrayal here is so ridiculous, that it makes a real band into a fiction. Plus… it’s the Ramones.

B.) I like movies about fictional bands starring Jack Black. Just the way it is, I guess. My inclusion of “Pick of Destiny” probably raises some eyebrows, because that movie is not well made, on the whole, but you can see the roots of something amazing in the beginning and the end. The opening 6 minutes promise it’s going to be the Tenacious D version of “Tommy” with everyone singing rock songs all the time. And then it stops. Huh?! I know writing another version of “Tommy” would be tough, especially from a songwriting standpoint, but that’s how it begins, so it seems to be telling us that’s what’s going to come. Only in the climactic battle with the demon does it ever come close to fulfilling the promise of the opening. 

C.) Notable exceptions: “Airheads” (bad movie), “Rock Star” (also bad movie). But you can be damn sure that I saw them. We can toss “Not Fade Away” in as well, which is a weird mix. It’s not ABOUT a real band, but references many of them while being about the 60’s, man, so it’s got a lot of bio pic in it. Most of all though, it’s just not good. 

D.) I’m ready to add “We Are The Best” to the top list, and I have only seen the trailers. Looks great. High hopes. 

E.) I’m kind of surprised by the lack of press “Fat Kid Rules the World” has received. Not that I expected it to become some major market blockbuster, but it’s a well made movie, appealing to teens (I’d think). It’s rated 6.5 on IMDb, yet only 41 critics reviewed it. Not even AV Club did a review, and I thought they did EVERYTHING. There’s a paltry Wikipedia page and a non-existent IMDb trivia section on the movie. It’s got a lot going for it in terms of performances, and it tells its story well. I’ll trumpet it to anyone. Maybe I underestimated the backlash against Matthew Lillard as a director. 

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