My Top Ten “Music” Movies

Much as I want to follow up my last post with a celebratory post about the education reform that Obama signed into law today, I promised a light-hearted post…and that’s what I’m going to give.


I watch a lot of movies.  You probably do too.  Some of the ones I’ve enjoyed the most have revolved around music in some way.  Probably because most of my life revolves around music, as well.  So here, with some explanation where I feel it’s necessary, are my top 10 favorite “Music” movies—with #10 being lowest and #1 being highest—along with some honorable mentions.


10. Eddie and the Cruisers 2

  • But not the original…go figure.  I think I saw this one first as a kid.  When you’re a young musician and you see a movie about a guy putting a band together, I guess it takes hold.  I re-watched it recently, and it’s pretty terrible…  But the things I remembered from it still kind of worked.  Like the saxophonist guy who says something to the effect of “You can change your name.  You can change your face.  But you can’t change the way you play.”  That’s actually pretty true.


9. Rock ‘n’ Roll High School

  • What?  It stars the freaking RAMONES.  I know it’s pretty cheesy and funny in some of the wrong places…but for the most part, it’s aware of what kind of movie it is and it doesn’t try to be anything else.  Plus…again…RAMONES.


8. Still Crazy

  • If anyone other than my brother and I have seen this movie, I owe you a Coke.  It’s a comedy…kind of “Spinal Tap” meets “The Commitments.”  Good flick for Beano, if nothing else.


7. Walk the Line

  • I love Johnny Cash.  Phoenix looked and sounded nothing like him…but good movie nonetheless.


6. Almost Famous

  • First time I saw it, I didn’t like it.  It grew on me over the days that followed, though.  I’ve seen it a few times since, and it’s still good.  I think people made a little too big a deal out of the “Tiny Dancer” scene…but overall, this fell JUST shy of the top five.


5. Spinal Tap

  • Goes without saying…


4. That Thing You Do

  • Always makes me want to get out there and play music when I see this movie.


3. A Mighty Wind

  • Yes.  It’s better than “Spinal Tap.”  Sorry.  The songs are so GOOD they’re almost not funny.


2. Hard Core Logo

  • One of the first semi-accurate touring-band/punk-rock movies I’ve ever seen.  Big inspiration of my early 2000s punk band, Uncle Dick and the inspiration for the name of my most recent band, Blue Tattoo.  Great, semi-hard-to-find movie that also introduced me to Hugh Dillon and his Canadian punk band The Headstones.  Also…the guy that plays the drummer played the hot-shot guitarist in “Eddie and the Cruisers 2” years prior…so there’s that, too.


1. High Fidelity

  • My favorite movie, probably.  It’s funny, it’s dramatic, it discusses music in a SMART way…and it’s got John Cusack in it.  Wins all around.



Honorable Mentions…


Stuff I liked:

  • Eddie and the Cruisers (1) – Eventually saw it, and it’s pretty good.  🙂
  • Sid & Nancy – Biopic of the story of Sid Vicious (from the Sex Pistols) and Nancy Spungen (heroin addict).  Introduced most of the world to Gary Oldman, which is a good thing…but also told a really interesting tale and managed to leave it as open-ended on screen as it was in real life. 
  • SLC Punk – Probably should be in the top-ten, but I’m not sure where.
  • The Commitments – Probably should also be in the top ten…and if I were going on artistic merit alone, it’d probably be top FIVE…
  • The Blues Brothers – I like it, but I don’t seem to LOVE it like everyone tells me I should.
  • Airheads – It was stupid, but funny.
  • Great Balls of Fire – Really good…but a little more intense in places than I would’ve expected for the era in which it came out.  If memory serves, they took some liberties with the story…haven’t seen it in a while…but I remember several scenes from it, having last seen it probably 10 years ago, so that says something good about it.
  • Head – The Monkees made a movie with Jack Nicholson…and this was it.  It’s a lot better than you’d think.
  • A Night at the Opera – Kind of a stretch…but it’s the Marx Brothers!  🙂
  • Phantom of the Opera (Lon Chaney Version) – Really great flick that still holds up today, if you ask me.  Sorry Andrew Lloyd Webber…you still haven’t measured up to this one.


Stuff I didn’t like as much:

  • The Rutles – Seems weird that I couldn’t get into this one.  It had a bunch of the right ingredients…but it just didn’t work for me.  Maybe it’s because I only like the Beatles on a surface level or something.  It’s got some decent laughs, but I don’t really need to see it again.
  • The Doors – Hey look…Val Kilmer’s naked with a bunch of naked girls and the story isn’t going anywhere…must be the Doors movie! 
  • The Beatles Movies – It’s not that I don’t like them…it’s that they’re all interchangeable to me.  I don’t ever know which one I’m watching and they didn’t really hold up over time, frankly.
  • Most of the Elvis Movies (except for “Roustabout”) – “Roustabout” only holds up for me because of how absurd it is.  🙂
  • La Bamba – I just don’t get it.  I didn’t feel like it spent enough time with Valensz as a celebrity and though I have really enjoyed Lou Diamond Phillips in other roles, I just felt like he over-acted in this one.
  • Blues Brothers 2000 – I’m as surprized that I saw it as you are.
  • Amadeus – Just a little too flamboyant and historically inaccurate for my taste.


Current Listening:

  • Ray Davies – “Working Man’s Cafe”
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo”  (Quick review — This one worked for me right away.  Seems like one of the more accessible things they’ve done that I’ve heard.  Super-bummed that I couldn’t make the show due to being sick!)