Some of the best and most entertaining rock bands of all time come from pop culture; in particular there’s the rock bands of the movies, all of whom have some shocking contributions to make to actual music. Case in point: The Rutles, The Blues Brothers, and Spinal Tap. And there are… others that I had fun remembering like The Archies and the Oneders. These are five of some of my favorite movie rock bands of all time. I excluded some at risk of being repetitive, but these are five that stood out for me and still stick with me.
Director Danny Boyle and writer Richard Curtis have a fascinating premise for “Yesterday,” and when all is said and done, after two hours, they—have a fascinating premise. They don’t actually do much with it, in all honesty. They take what could have been a unique and bizarre tale about an iconic band completely inexplicably being erased from all of culture around the world and turn it in to a conventional tale of rags to riches. I mean the script does nothing with the idea of the Beatles not existing. What would happen to all the singers, performers, bands, and artists they inspired? Would they cease to exist as a whole? “Yesterday” barely scratches the surface at two hours.
The thing about cinema is that it’s an often very literal art form that takes what is often very metaphorical or performance art about stage productions and has a hard time supplanting it for the audience. For “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” it’s a very good cult rock film that often feels like it has to be seen on stage in order to soak in the true experience. I’m not trying to take away what a cult classic John Cameron Mitchell’s musical drama is, but I couldn’t quite help but feel that “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” could have been much more appreciated as a live show.
Another year, another mediocre big budget biopic, filled with Oscar aspirations, about a musical genius. I’m a huge fan of Elton John, and have been for years, but he deserves so much more than what is mainly just a serviceable musical drama about his life. While it gets credit for consciously dodging biopic tropes (and seems to also be a retort to “Bohemian Rhapsody” which openly shied away from Freddie Mercury’s sexuality), “Rocketman” only inspired me to re-visit his classic music.
Ten movies later, and “A Cinderella Story” continues to push forward as a franchise that is mainly just a vehicle for young up and coming female Disney stars. After Hilary Duff came and went, portraying a contemporary take on the fairytale, the series stomped on and now introduces a Christmas themed romance. It’s tough to review “Christmas Wish” as it’s mainly aimed toward teens that love this kind of sickly sweet Christmas muck. It’s basically like a greeting card with a pre-written message on it. It’s predictable, formula, and kind of hard to criticize.
One of the highlights of 2019 has been the rise of lighter zombie films that skirt the whole gloom and doom in favor of something more. Abe Forsythe’s “Little Monsters” is one of the most satisfying zombie movies of the year, and one of the best movies of the year. It’s a movie that offers everything from laugh out loud comedy, creepy zombie carnage, vicious gore and grue, great music, and a very touching story of two adults that find purpose in innocent children that need them to survive an extraordinary situation.
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers was an absolutely peerless pair of brilliant dancers that didn’t just inject chemistry on the dance floor, but also as a romantic pairing. Whether they were swooning over one another, or tap dancing in sync, it’s impossible not to be caught up in “Swing Time.” George Stevens’ classic romance comedy and musical takes the pairing as mismatched strangers that fall in love over the art of dance and their performances that look effortless but actually act as their own characters.
BOOTLEG FILES 691: “Peter Lemongello – Love 76” (1976 TV commercial for a double-album release).
LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: There is no reissue channel for old TV advertisements.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.
Back in the 1970s, the only way aspiring singers could achieve stardom was to go through major record labels that produced music that received constant playing on popular radio stations. But one unlikely singer made a bold attempt to buck the system and circumvent his way to stardom. His efforts ultimately failed to work, but it laid the groundwork for a bold new approach to popular music marketing.