Let’s face it – Rockstars are just far more interesting. Especially when instead of sitting down and watching whatever crude comedy has just premiered, you can indulge your senses and spend two hours watching their lives unfold.
Or at least, just enjoy a good movie with a really fantastic soundtrack. If you’re going to give any criteria to picking your movies, it should at least be based on what you’re going to listen to!
While there may not be a defined genre for ‘rock movies’, there certainly is an audience that is waiting for the rock movie revolution to begin. So here’s a brief list of films you should check out if you’re interesting in rock stars lives, music stores, or just a movie jam-packed with great songs that you’ll be thinking about for days.
5. Across the Universe
Director: Julie Taymor
Stars: Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Some guy who looks remarkably like Kurt Cobain
Why I should rent this instead of Wall-E: First of all, every single song in this movie is a Beatles song. Julie Tamor had an absolutely brilliant idea to make a film revolving around Beatles songs and characters, all of which melt perfectly together in this glorious mix that will have you singing for days. Beginning in the 1960s, during the start of the Vietnam War, Jude, a young Liverpuddlian enters the United States illegally and soon falls in love with his only ally’s sister. From this starting point we’re taken on a journey and meet some unlikely characters, while the people themselves also experiment with drugs and their own lives.
The accompanying score is nothing short of brilliant, and will leave the most hardcore of Beatles fans satisfied.
Director: Allan Moyle
Stars: Liv Tyler, Renee Zellweger, Anthony LaPaglia
Why I should rent this instead of The Dark Knight: The story takes place in the 90s, with an independent music store coming under stress when they learn they’re going to be taken over by one of the evil conglomerates. Among this mix, two people unwittingly fall in love, one character has sex with a fading pop star, another gets high and believes that costume-metal band Gwar are going to devour him, while another fellow worker shaves her head – and the others are all trying to come up with the money to Save the Empire.
They also have a store shooting, an employee imprisoned to the confines of the staff couch, and uncover the drug habits of another. Throughout this crazy mix they all combine for the love of their record store and love for each other prevails. Naturally, with crazy consequences.
The film wins bonus points for having a stellar soundtrack that is constantly on rotation within my workspace. The final scene has to be the most rockworthy, but you need to see it to find out!
Plus, who could resist a young sexy Anthony LaPaglia, and Renee Zellweger before her cheeks got too inflated for her face.
3.School of Rock
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Jack Black, Joan Cusack
Why I should rent this instead of Harry Potter: While this film isn’t exactly going to pursue the life of a rockstar, or even give you that gory down in the dumps ‘im addicted to drugs’ storyline that you typically see, it skips around the sad stuff and aims straight for your heart. Corny? Possibly. Following Dewey Finn, a failed rockstar, as he bluffs his way through a private primary school in order to get enough cash. When he realises that his students are actually music virtuoses he devises a plan to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands contest and be able to pay his rent.
While aiming to pay his rent may not seem like a ridiculous plot to follow, it seems to be a running theme throughout Jack Black’s movies and oddly enough, it works.
The kids are absolutely adorable, and you get to watch them experience real music through their enigmatic teacher. Needless to say, there are heaps of laughs and the soundtrack is wicked. There are heaps of music references to keep every fan interested, as well as several performances that’ll keep you interested.
2.This Is Spinal Tap
Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Harry Shearer, Fran Drescher
Why I should rent this instead of Atonement: This mockumentary of a rockstar’s ambition to the top never ever fails to get the laughs – even out of the most anti-rock fan you can find. Following a tour for fictional British band Spinal Tap, interjected with one on one interviews, the film watches as tension escalates between the band as their act fails to sell tickets on the run up to the release of their new album. This film gets up high on the list, not only for its lol-factor, but also for the huge amount of quotables you’ll find. Once you’ve found a group that’s seen this film, you’ll find yourself spending away hours at the pub quoting things such as ‘Lick my love pump!’
The music itself is not exactly enticing, but the clever way in which it was edited and the humour wins itself a high spot on the list. Definitely check it out if you’re after a laugh, and you know how to poke fun.
Director: Cameron Crowe
Stars: Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup
Why I should rent this instead of Napoleon Dynamite: While i’m yet to see any better, I think it’s fair to say that this is the quintessential rock movie. Following the life of a young (very young) reporter and his aim to work for Rolling Stone, you get drawn along on this journey of a band, their tour, their groups, and naturally; Sex, drugs and rock n roll.
William, a 15 year old boy who lives under the terribly strict rule of his open minded mother, starts sending in articles to a local street press magazine. Once meeting his mentor, he embarks on a journey after Rolling Stone discover his writing and offer to send him on tour with Stillwater. Through this journey he finds out the inner workings of his new favourite band, as well as the process it takes for them to play. With drug use, promiscuous meetings with the Band-Aids (the apparently non-sexual equivalent of groupies) wild parties, and deep quiet moments between the band, William finds himself in a journey he may not survive.
The great part about this film, is that the story feels genuine. With heaps of accounts of real-life bands that seem entirely plausible, as well as a fantastic bus scene with Elton John’s Tiny Dancer as a sing-a-long, the film becomes a favourite very quick.
A fantastic mix between rock rise to fame story, love story, comedy, drama and a fantastic soundtrack, it’s really hard to go wrong with this one.