There have been some bad movies about those in the music industry (Glitter suddenly comes to mind). But, there have also been some worth not only watching, but listening to, over and over again. The following is our list of best band-related movies. Sit back, relax, and, for goodness sake, turn up the volume.
Eddie and the Cruisers (1983): This early 1980s film told the tale of a 1960s rock band that becomes famous after playing gigs throughout New Jersey. After this band, aptly named Eddie and the Cruisers, makes an album that is everything Eddie hoped it would be, the album is rejected by the head of the record company. Devastated, Eddie drives his car off a bridge and Eddie, as well as his reject album, disappears. Twenty years later, a television producer decides to do a documentary on Eddie and the Cruisers and reconnects with many of the band mates, all of whom have moved on. It is during this time that an older looking Eddie resurfaces, thus setting up the sequel: Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives.
Not only did this movie touch on the frustration and sacrifices of the music industry, but it also put an unknown band on the map: John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. Performing the soundtrack to the original and the sequel, John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown band released the theme song of the movie, “On the Dark Side;” it was a hit single and can still be heard on present-day radio stations.
This is Spinal Tap (1984): A Rob Reiner directed mockumentary, This is Spinal Tap features a heavy metal rock band and its wild behavior. A film that pokes fun at the music industry, certain scenes offended some musicians, at least initially, hitting rather close to home. However, once people realized they shouldn't take themselves so seriously, the intention of the movie – to be satirical and make fun of pretentiousness – was made more obvious.
Many of the scenes were improvised and ad-libbed, leaving the outcome very funny to many viewers. This is Spinal Tap was listed as 64 on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies and climbed to 29 on AFI's 100 Years…100 Laughs. It quickly became a cult classic and was deemed, in 2002, as culturally significant by the Library of Congress. From here, it was chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry.
That Thing You Do (1996): Any film that is written by, directed by, and stars Tom Hanks has got to be good: this film was just that. Taking place in the 1960s, this film features Hanks as a manager of the Wonders, a one-hit wonder with Beatles-like undertones. As the Wonders climb their way to fame, getting on the radio and eventually gaining a record contract and touring nationally, the foundations within the band begin to unravel. The band soon follows.
Made up of an all-star cast, including Tom Everett Scott, Steve Zahn, Liv Tyler, Charlize Theron, Rita Wilson, and Giovanni Ribisi, That Thing You Do also features all-star music with a soundtrack that includes music by Rick Elias, Scott Rogness, and Howard Shore. The movie's most memorable song, "That Thing you Do," mirrored fiction when it became a hit and helped launch the career of Fountains of Wayne.
Almost Famous (2000): Written and directed by Cameron Crowe, Almost Famous was just that – almost famous – when it came to its less than block bluster performance at the box office. Critically, however, it received high acclaim including four Academy Award nominations. Renowned film critic Roger Ebert called it the "best movie of the year."
Following the journey of William Miller, Almost Famous tells the tale of a young man caught in a whirlwind of madness, excitement, and lust when he tours with a rock band. A semi-autographical story, this movie is based on Crowe's experience as a young writer touring with Led Zeppelin.
Musically, Almost Famous won the Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. The film featured songs from Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel, Thunderclap Newman, Peter Frampton, and Nancy Wilson.
Dreamgirls (2006): Released nationally on Christmas Day 2006, Dreamgirls became a hit, winning three Golden Globes and two Oscars. Adapted from the 1981 Broadway musical, Dreamgirls is set in the 1960s and 1970s; it follows the careers of The Dreamettes, a Detroit group with a strong resemblance to The Supremes. Dreamgirls takes us into the world of R&B and the Motown movement that changed our nation.
Dreamgirls may be best remembered as launching the film career of Jennifer Hudson, a former American Idol contestant. But, it is likely it will also be remembered for its music. The soundtrack is filled with music that is more present day than the score of the 1981 Broadway play, but still pays homage to R&B roots. Among the singers featured are Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy, and Jamie Foxx.Powered by Sidelines