It’s been done before, but not by me.
Criteria: No solo acts; no documentaries; movie doesn’t have to be about the band in question.
Movie: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Band: Wyld Stallyns
Bill S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winters) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves), along with their princess girlfriends, the Grim Reaper, and the alien “Station” put together the most influential band in the universe. Their music, which admittedly sucked in the beginning (guitar lessons by Eddie Van Halen helped tremendously), brings peace, harmony and truth to all that embrace it. I’m not sure if it will bring peace to you, but I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of watching it.
Movie: School of Rock
Band: School of Rock
This all kid group was the creation of an unemployed loser and wannabe rock-God, Dewey Finn (Jack Black). To realize his goals he connives the kids in his class (he pretends to be a substitute teacher) to form a group and enter a battle of the bands. This movie was the perfect way to capture Jack Blacks insane, over-the-top look-at-me antics.
Movie: Animal House
Band: Otis Day and the Knights
These guys tore it up at the famous toga party at the Delta Tau Chi frat house and never looked back. Their two catchy songs, “Shout” and “Shama Lama Ding Dong”, helped them make the jump from fictional band to real one. They continue to tour the country to this day. See this, just because.
Movie: That Thing You Do!
Band: The Wonders
These one hit wonders from Eerie Pa, reach the top of the charts with their song “That Thing You Do”. This movie playfully captures how a band can skyrocket to the top with little more than marketing prowess. The song itself is very catchy but it will drive you absolutely mad after hearing it for the 100th time. Oh yeah, Liv Tyler looks great in it too.
Movie: The Commitments
Band: The Commitments
A comedy about a North Dublin band that strangely decides to play R&B/soul music. The reasoning? As the groups founder Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) so eloquently puts it, “The Irish are the blacks of Europe. Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland. North Dubliners are the blacks of Dublin.” That line alone should give you an idea what you’re in for with this movie.
Movie: Rock Star
Band: Steel Dragon
This movie was based on Judas Priest. It chronicles a small-time singer of a tribute band (played by Mark Wahlberg) as he wades through the excesses of popularity after he replaces the lead singer of his favorite band. Wahlberg really pulls it off – it makes one wonder how he would have faired if would have stayed with the Funky Bunch.
Movie: Almost Famous
Writer Cameron Crowe supposedly based this movie off of his time spent with The Allman Brothers while he was reporter for Rolling Stone magazine (although others say there is Led Zeppelin influences). It deftly captures the highs and lows of road life for the band teetering on greatness and for their groupies.
Movie: The Blues Brothers
Band: The Blues Brothers
Yeah these guys actually became a real band and played some concerts, but before they did they were an SNL comedy sketch turned hilarious movie. John Belushi and Dan Akroyd became Jake and Elwood Blues, the frontmen for an American blues and soul band on a “mission from God” to save the orphanage where they were raised. Has great sets by Aretha Franklin and Cab Calloway too. A must see.
Movie: This Is Spinal Tap
Band: Spinal Tap
I don’t think there is a soul in the world who wasn’t faked out by this one; everyone, and I mean everyone, thought these guys were a real heavy metal band. The movie parodies all that is great with hair metal bands – womanizing, alcohol fueled antics and general idiocy. Very funny.
Movie: Eddie and the Cruisers
Band: Eddie and the Cruisers
Great movie about a troubled front man, Eddie Wilson. Michael Paré (whatever happened to him?) shines as the lead singer torn between mainstream stardom and musical integrity. The big standout of the film is the music by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. It is fantastic. So is watching Paré lip-sync to it – you’ll swear he’s tearing his vocal chords out.
Yes, I know there are ones I missed. Do tell. Please.