Friday, 8 November 2013

The Best Films about Music (Not Musicals) Part 1

So there are two sorts of films about music - Documentaries and Stories. Let's leave documentaries for now and concentrate on stories. So stories; biopics, comedies or, you know, just stories, and then of course there is Moonwalker, which is ..er.. something else entirely.

Now wherever you have a "best of" involved there is always opinion in the mix so rather than do a chart I'll just do a list in no particular order. There are a fair few that could be number 1 and rather than pick one above all others it would be better if we can just agree what is up there at the top of the pile of DVDS. In fact its not really about that its about finding something good to watch. I realise that most charts in magazines are supposed to be a little provocative to spark discussion and interest. I don't want to go down this route because its not very honest. For example the NME chart of 50 best musical films had Twenty-Four Hour Party People at number 1. Its only my opinion but... What, no way! Steve Coogan's performance stands out maybe, but "Best music film ever", I don't think so.

OK what's going to be solidly in there on any list:-


Spinal Tap - brilliant film, much quoted and full of stuff musicians and music lovers anywhere can relate to.



The Blues Brothers - another timeless piece of genius. There is a temptation to dive into Quotes and Trivia here but I'll resist.


Now I have to admit I haven't seen all the films in the world (I know, it's terrible, I feel I've let everyone down) so I can't add any more all time classics but here are some really really good films about music. Before I get into this thanks to all the folks who suggested good films to me. Also I'll try not to give away any real spoilers.

In no particular order...


Almost Famous - Its a semi-biopic based on the experiences of the director Cameron Crowe as a young music journalist (and I mean young). Its a bit sentimental but I really enjoyed it. And without giving anything away; the scene on the plane is a one off.


The Commitments - Probably my favourite film on the list. I'd like to put it on the all time list. Its a comedy but its also a great story and an honest love of music comes through in almost every scene.



School of Rock - There are enough films out there with the "put a school band together for the big competition" format (including Bandslam oh yes). but this one stands out. Jack Black is just Jack Black in it. But in this film that's what makes it.

Walk the Line - I love how Johnny Cash sits and messes about to write his songs (probably because that's how I do it), I love how his songs are mean as well as touching. This film is not just about Johnny Cash  its as much about June Carter as well. (This film made me finally read The Prophet by Khalil Gibran worth it for that alone.)

8 Mile - Eminem and 2Pac would have been lyrical poets if they had lived 300 years ago, quaffing and being melancholic and dying of syphallus and all that we would be groaningly learning about them in English lessons today. But they weren't. A film about giving people off the cuff abuse to a beat. (2Pac's not in it by the way. What's that film he's in... Gridlock'd I have seen it. I can't remember it. That maybe says it all)

Step Brothers - people will say "that's not a music film". I can't argue why it is without spoiling it. And my argument isn't that he plays the drums in a novel way. Boats & Hoes.



About A Boy - Maybe this isn't about music either but I've spoiled it at least twice in my Blog (ahem sorry about that). Major story points revolve around music so I'm sticking it in, because even if its not about music its still a good film. Yes it has Hugh Grant in it. But he OK in this one.

Yellow Submarine - I used to love this film as a young kid, which is the last time I saw it. But I still remember loads of it. The bit where the fish (was it a fish) eats everything and then eats itself and there's nothing left but a blank white existentialist vacuum. That used to blow my tiny mind every time, it was like the "but what's outside the universe?" question. As a kid I used to lay awake because of stuff like that, wide-eyed, staring into the night.

OK this list is going to take me ages so I'll stop here for now and break it up into parts it will also give me a chance to watch some of the films recommended to me... Except Moonwalker...

And if you haven't watched any of the aforementioned then it will give you a chance to GET WATCHING!!

(sorry caught the CAPS LOCK there...)

One thing I am looking forward to is this film (about music) out early next year - Inside Llewyn Davis. The soundtrack is out next week.



In the best Hollywood tradition...

To Be Continued...

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