Capturing the essence of the glam rock era, Goldmine centers on two pop stars (and an impressionable fanbase), who appear to be the likenesses of Lou Reed and David Bowie, as musicians and sexual conquistadors. Homosexuality, or at least bisexuality, is a big blatent display in this movie and is made to be as important a factor to the glam movement as was the glittery costumework and big production rock and roll sound.
The Doors should really be retitled Jim Morrison and the Doors, considering the monomaniacal emphasis on the frontman; however this movie artfully captures the essence of the band and the period, showing every nihilistic indulgence and psychedelic trance that was the Lizard King's life. Paralleling glimpses of the singer's life and career with Doors tunes, largely appropriate to lyrical content ("Love Street" plays as Jim stalks his future lover Pam), the film is a great companion to an epic, yet short-lived, catalogue and glorious piece of cinema for any fan of the music. Even if facts are debatable and skewed for shock and interest's sake (as is Oliver Stone's M.O.), the film is a great piece of music-steeped entertainment.
This movie is guaranteed to make anyone want to be a rock journalist, capturing Rolling Stone Magazine in the prime of its relevance. Based on filmmaker Cameron Crowes personal experiences and set in the heavy strumming power chord days of the classic rock seventies, a fifteen year old journalist sets out to live an American Dream most don't realize untill their thirties and follows a band through the ups and downs of commercial success and cliche decadence. All the while brown corduroy tunes a la Led Zeppelin and Elton John fill the busride tour through the countryside, and the viewer gets to take silent note right beside the wide-eyed protagonist.
This mock-umentary follows a "fake" (they actually have albums) hair metal band as they go through all the motions as is expected with any transient musical sensation: breakthrough success, corporate confrontation, inner turmoil, a respective Yoko Ono, the works. As executed by a team of like-minded and dynamic improvists, Spinal Tap becomes a very believable band of British airheads and a very effective parody of a common mentality that went unchecked and unironic during the era, that is every Ozzy and Eddy thinking he deserves nothing but the brownest of M&Ms. In spite of mostly ad libbed lines, this movie contains quotes that will be recited until the end of time, when hair metal is as ancient a concept as the formation of Stone Henge; lest we forget, "These go to 11" or the beautiful piano ballad tenderly titled "Lick My Love Pump."
This film, based in reality, centers around the eponymous pair of self-destructive lovers, the talentless bassist for the UK punk band Sex Pistols and his American squeeze. Amidst heroin addiction and a volatile romance, Sid Vicious (played by Gary Oldman) is enabled to no end by opportunists wanting to capitalize on his image as a poster boy for a generation of nihilistic youths. Eventually the ride goes sour as Sid apparently stabs his girlfriend to death in a cloud of confusion, a scene only reiterating a dark slice of music history. This film is and should be part of any punk enthusiasts DVD collection, though mohawks and plaid drainpipes aren't required in order to simply enjoy this film.
Pirate Radio is a hollistically brilliant piece of cinema, between the acting, writing, and cinematography (not to mention the soundtrack!). Beyond that, the concept is just awesome: a band of diehard rebels and music enthusiasts in the sixties escape to the lawless seas as "pirates" of sorts, terrorizing the British airwaves with rock and roll sounds oppressed by an uptight government of stuffy-nosed cardboard cut-outs. Based extremely loosely on true events, mostly just the aspects about the initial xenophobic nonacceptance of hard rock sounds, the idea of a pro-rock and roll freedom fighters waving vinyl records like flags of liberty (or Jolly Rogers, to fit the theme) is very inspiring in times where a rap music-oriented maintream holds similar views about allowing instrument-driven rock a fair share of air time.
This movie is pornography for a guitarist: three legendary rockers (Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White) join axes and at the same time unite separate and distinct eras by way of an unabashed love for string-tickling. The youngest and newest guitar god of the three, Jack White, is as humble as he should be all the while, confessing that he will take the opportunity to steal all their tricks. This documentary tells the unique story of each, as they came to success within their respective bands, showing live footage as well as invading their homes, and then puts them in a room together with nothing but a few guitars and a film crew. The movie captures a true bit of magic, more than just selling a three-for-one special, as each musician takes the time to listen rather than just play.
While the image of private school children covering rock and roll songs from before they were born may be grimace-inducing, this film, starring the wannabe rock and roller himself Jack Black (one half of the comedy hard rock duo Tenacious D), at least pays careful homage to bands through time and genre that matter. Part of the result is an encapsulated piece of exposure for rock and roll neophytes, ensuring the passing of a torch defiant of historical and musical ignorance. There should be a class as such to teach a generation of break-out rapper wannabes what real music is, the repercussions of failing to acknowledge the significance of the past.
Spun-off from a popular 90's SNL skit, this movie is full of quotes and iconic movie moments (as well as parodies of them). The premise is two adults who never grew up, moved out of their moms' basement (where they film a super low-budget cable access show), or stopped loving rock and roll, do just that; attending concerts, lipsynching Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," and meeting rock stars back stage ("We're not worthy!") is their life's calling.
Beneath the vinyl exterior, this film is all about obsession: obsession over music and the collection thereof, as well as over any girl that pays any emotional attention or fleeting affection toward the protaganist. Rob, the character of interest played by John Cusack, is absolutely neurotic and highly systematic (in how he makes a list for any discussion topic or living occasion or how he compulsively rearranges his record collection whenever he's either bored or angsty). Beyond his dark, needy streak, he exemplifies the purest music geek and revels in longwinded debates with his coworkers. This atmosphere feels very familiar for anyone whose ever visited an actual record store and creates an immediate nostalgia for those who long for the heyday of the storefront venders. Simply put, this movie is glorious for anyone who loves vinyl and talking about the music that matters most.