It’s shocking how punk the background of The Go-Go’s is and ended up being. For a band that is known as one of the biggest pop acts of the 1980’s, their roots are deeply embedded in punk rock and heavy metal. Whether or not you think it was homogenized is up to you, but The Go-Gos have a great story, even if you were more of a Bangles or Banana Rama fan.
Yet another year, yet another legacy sequel from a movie franchise that we all thought was dead for so many years. It’s a cynical approach but so many of these decades later sequels have stunk—which is probably why it’s shocking to see that “Bill and Ted Face the Music” doesn’t actually suck. In all fairness while it’s not a laugh riot, I appreciated its genuine message about love, the power of music, and appreciating what we have while we have it.
Director Matthew John Lawrence’s horror rock comedy is probably one of the best films about the punk rock experience since “The Green Room.” While nowhere near as dark as the aforementioned film, it’s a movie with a silly title that is shockingly complex, heartfelt and injected with a sharp message about how if you’re willing to do “anything” to make it big, it can come back to haunt you. While the title might be something of a turn off to some, “Uncle Peckerhead” really packs in so much heart and genuine characterization.
Suzi Quatro managed to leave a remarkable influence on female rockers, and how they operated in a world where men dominated, and women were objectified. Suzi Quatro has left such an indomitable stamp on the rock and music world, and “Suzi Q” offers keen insight not just in to the life of such an edgy musician, but in the oddly common conservative lifestyle of rock musicians.
I think even during my days when I was all about KISS (1997-2003), I would have probably found “Phantom of the Park” kind of banal and run of the mill. It’s not so much that it’s a bad movie, but it’s kind of monotonous and tedious, even for the most forgiving fanatic. I mean forgiving as in you even accept their lame attempt at disco: “I Was Made for Loving You.” It’s so void of narrative or substance that not even the great rock music and theatrics from the band at the height of their fame can save what is a ton of filler and about twenty minutes of actual narrative.
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.
Robert Zemeckis’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” is a charming, if flawed tribute to the Beatles and the rampant Beatles Mania that ran throughout much of the late sixties. I’m sure Zemeckis bear witness to a lot of the “Beatlemania,” and his film seems to come from a place of experience. For folks that loved movies like “American Graffiti” or “Dazed and Confused,” Zemeckis’ 1978 comedy is one of those movie set over the course of a night that centers on a group of teenagers that are so devoted to the Beatles, they risk just about everything to see them on the Ed Sullivan Show.
In a way “Jailhouse Rock” also works as something of a pseudo-biography that would prophesize a lot of Presley’s endeavors. Whether or not intentional, “Jailhouse Rock” serves as a fascinating and often entertaining peek in to what the man would become, except with some slightly sweeter end results. Richard Thorpe’s “Jailhouse Rock” is a solid Elvis Presley vehicle that presents the definitive Presley on film. If you’ve never seen a single Elvis film, this is the great place to begin tracking his film career.