The Shit List: Top 5 Fictional Rock & Roll Movies Of All-Time!

In no particular order, by the way.
THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984)

You knew it was coming eventually, right? So why not just get it out of the way right off the bat? Of course, it could be argued that "Spinal Tap" was a little too accurate at times and, thus, veered dangerously close to non-fiction at times. Especially when you consider that the fictional band actually made a couple very accomplished albums.

The number of scenarios that it presented that are known the world over are almost endless; guitar amp that goes to eleven, miniature Stonehenge, getting lost on the way to the stage, and so on.

And not a performance is out of place, nor a bad casting choice is made, save for perhaps Rob Reiner himself (aka the director), but its a minor quibble. Most important of all, it holds up to repeat viewings. We've seen it dozens of times and there are nuances in the film that become more evident with time.

HELP! (1965)

Whereas "A Hard Day's Night" had been at least an approximation of "a real day in the life of the Fab Four", the Beatles' second film (but first to be shot in color) was a gregarious work of fiction.

In it, Ringo comes in contact with a woman who gives him a ring. Problem is, the ring was not hers to give and much craziness ensues as the Beatles cover the globe (and all four seasons, it would seem). The fewer questions you ask of the plot, the better, but the mimed performances of new Beatles songs at the time foreshadowed MTV by a good fifteen years are dripping with the band's visual charisma.

You want to talk influential? This writer became a musician at the age of ten for the sole purpose of one day having a bed in the floor just like John Lennon. Sigh.

BLOW UP! (1966)

Filmed in 1966 by director Michelangelo Antonioni and starring the legendary David Hemmings, it was a film that had nothing to do with rock & roll, yet had everything to do with it. The psychodrama is set against the backdrop of Swinging London just as the sheen was starting to fade a bit. Some might accuse it of being style over substance, but, even so, it is an immaculate time capsule of the final shining moments of a very beautiful period in art, culture, and music!

To further make our point, there is a club scene that features a performance by The Yardbirds when their line-up included both Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. Hell, this review has convinced us to watch it again. Right now!

HIGH FIDELITY (2000)

Nick Hornby's essential book was loaded with too-close-for-comfort details about the life of a music geek who wonders if he's depressed because he likes music, or likes music because he's depressed. Thankfully it was John Cusack who brought this great book to the silver screen and not Russell Brand, I guess. While the film does sorta remain pretty true to the book, re-setting it in Chicago (much as we do love Chicago) was weird. Especially when the Chicago-born Cusack presents a version of Chicago that is horribly lame - as if created by someone who'd never actually been to Chicago.

It's the soul of Hornby's book, though, that is unmistakably evident throughout and you do sorta have to give it to Cusack as its obvious his heart was in the right place, which is more than we can say for "American Sweethearts".

ONCE (2007)

You might think that's a horrible choice, but if you've ever watched this flick with someone you love, or want to love, then you have no leg to stand on. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova throw sparks at one another as lovers who just miss making the connection they both wanted. The sparks were real, of course, as Glen and Marketa became a couple in real life, although they're no longer together.

What makes this film truly memorable are the musical performances throughout and how all are woven into the movie quite naturally. They all play a part in the advancement of the plot as opposed to a break from the action.

We sat in in L.A. and after the film ended, about half the theatre walked across the courtyard to the Virgin Megastore to buy the soundtrack album. Oh, I also believe someone may have won an Oscar for that one, too, if we recall.

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