I like movies, and I like rock ‘n’ roll. You probably already knew (or assumed) that. These are some of my favorite music-related films. What are yours?
Airheads – Such a great goofy film. I feel that this one is underrated… maybe it has a “cult” sort of following. The plot is ridiculous and it’s filled with all kinds of great actors. It’s got some of the best quotes ever, and is why I will someday demand a football helmet filled with cottage cheese and naked pictures of Bea Arthur if ever given the chance to make crazy demands. I could probably watch this movie over & over as much as I could watch the Star Wars films over & over.
This is Spinal Tap – This is a no-brainer. It goes to 11. It’s the standard to which all other rock ‘n’ roll films are measured. It has sustain. Just let the DVD or Blu-ray or VHS tape or Laser Disc sit on the shelf and listen to it.
Josie and the Pussycats – Laugh all you want, but this movie is super fun. If you can’t enjoy this one, you have no soul. I had no attachment to the cartoon in case there are purists out there that didn’t like it because fans of original things rarely like those things rehashed. Orange is the new pink. “3 Small Words” is a great pop song.
Empire Records – It’s not really about band or musicians… but the chaos all over the store is all about rock ‘n’ roll, and it’s filled with great tracks from GWAR, AC/DC, Sponge, not quite Body Count’s “Hey Joe“, Coyote Shivers, and Rex Manning. Ha ha.
Lemmy: 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son Of A Bitch – If you haven’t seen this & you’re even a casual fan of metal, punk, rock docs in general, or even just heard “Ace of Spades” once, you need to see this. That was a really long grammatically terrible sentence. Lemmy would kick my ass for pointing that out. Maybe not. He seems like a really likeable dude to hang out with if you can get past the stink of cigarettes.
It Might Get Loud – Not a huge fan of any of these dudes… except Jimmy Page is… well, Jimmy Page. Led Zeppelin is amazing, I’m just not one of those dudes that has all the albums or knows all the riffs. U2 actually kind or irks me, but the Edge seems like a cool dude & an effect wiz. Jack White surprised me, but he’s kind of creepy. Beyond all that, I still enjoyed this movie. Guys talking about their love of music, the guitar, & playing… it’s incredible.
Walk the Line – Probably one of the best biopics ever, if not the best. Johnny Cash was a great man, and an asshole. It’s all out there. It’s a compelling story spanning many decades, and really a love story with Jone & Johnny. The man in black went through a lot in life.
Ray – Ray & Johnny Cash had eerie similar back stories. Jamie Foxx is a genius in this film. It’s one hell of a great story. Ray did it all, from R&B to pop to country.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – This is hilarious. Watch Walk the Line & Ray first though. Then laugh hard. (♫ Haaaaard! ♫)
Wayne’s World – You’re hearing Queen in your head right now, aren’t you? Well, either that or the theme song. Excellent!
Detroit Rock City – I’m not the biggest KISS fan, but this road-trip gone awry is all kinds of fun. I have had many less interesting adventures on the way to gigs… just attending or playing. And, KISS does have some catchy songs… and a great stage show.
Role Models – OK, not a rock movie… but the KISS theme throughout is just hilarious.
Crossroads – The Karate Kid does a guitar duel with Steve Vai. It’s sort of like “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” as a movie from the 80s. Instead of Arnold from Happy Days, you have a Blues player, and instead of Karate you have the blues.
8 Mile – The concept is weird… a biopic that isn’t quite. It’s a great move though. The struggle to make it as a musician/rapper is very compelling, and Eminem’s a pretty damn good actor… playing himself… sort of.
Anvil: The Story of Anvil – This movie makes me want to laugh & cry. I feel the pain that these cats are going through. It makes you want to punch Metallica for Some Kind of Monster. After it all it’s all about friendship & the love of music. Who can’t get behind that?
Once – Not really a rock movie, but a cool story intertwined with music, performing, songwriting, and even a love/friendship thing.
The Pick of Destiny – You can maybe skip this one. Get the Complete Masterworks instead. It’s slightly funnier. These dudes are awesome rock ‘n’ rollers who capture the essence of the spirit of rock! And they battle demons…
Purple Rain – Musicians, watch this and learn how to own the stage from Morris Day. Oh yeah, Prince is pretty badass too. This is a weird 80s film, but it’s one you need to see.
Honeysuckle Rose – Willie Nelson is awesome. This movie is about a traveling band that looks a lot like Willie’s… with the lead singer who looks a lot like Willie Nelson robbing his ex guitar player’s cradle to the chagrin of his wife. This soundtrack is excellent if you’re a Willie Nelson fan… highlight being a cover of Leon Russell’s “A Song For You”.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure & Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey – Well, the first one was cool. I can’t wait for #3 if it ever happens! Be excellent to each other.
Other cool movies where the music is integral… Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Rocker, The Last Dragon, SLC Punk, Some Kind of Monster, Bubba Ho-Tep, High Fidelity, Blues Brothers, Rock Star, The Runaways, and many more I’m sure.