We gather together some of the best music infused films to celebrate the release of WE ARE THE BEST!
WE ARE THE BEST! is released in Irish cinemas this week; the film tells the story of three young girls on the cusp of their teenage years, and their discovery of the power of music. The film is a careful and precise observation of the journey between childhood and adolescence, and the friends who last us a lifetime. To celebrate the release of WE ARE THE BEST! we gathered together some great music films, that examine the effect that music has on our lives.
It seems like almost too obvious a choice, but it is worth reiterating that ALMOST FAMOUS is a great film that celebrates great music. Like the girls in WE ARE THE BEST! William Miller (Patrick Fugit) goes on a journey of discovery that opens his eyes to the power of music, the power of friendship and the passion wrought by passionate people. Philip Seymour Hoffman has a great cameo as Lester Bangs, Kate Hudson mesmerises William as Penny Lane, and Billy Crudup has never been better as lead singer of Stillwater, Russell Hammond.
The music in the film is great; the song recorded by the fictional band Stillwater – Fever Dog – was written by Nancy Wilson and Peter Frampton, and is an absolute belter.
Another great music film, and another that stands the test of time is HIGH FIDELITY. Stephen Frears’s adaptation of Nick Hornby’s book stars John Cusack as Rob who, when his girlfriend breaks up with him, goes back through his previous girlfriends – and his record collection – trying to find out where is all went wrong. HIGH FIDELITY is another film with an incredible soundtrack, and is the film that introduced Jack Black to the world, through his madcap performance as Barry, and his show stopping performance of Let’s Get It On.
GOOD VIBRATIONS tells the true story of Terri Hooley (Richard Dormer), a Belfast record shop owner whose refusal to back down or be intimidated, led to him having a lasting impact on the city’s music scene.
On the surface, it seems that GOOD VIBRATIONS is the story of music and bringing it to the people, which it is, but the film is also an examination of a person who refused to take sides in a tumultuous period of Northern Ireland’s history, while almost singlehandedly bringing the world Teenage Kicks by The Undertones.
THIS IS SPINAL TAP
THIS IS SPINAL TAP, Rob Reiner’s mockumentary about the fall and fall of fictional band Spinal Tap, is 30 years old this year. Hard to believe. Rob Reiner plays director Marty DiBergi, who chronicles Spinal Tap’s ill-fated tour to promote the release of their latest album Smell The Glove.
The film stars Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Michael McKean as the members of the well-meaning, but badly managed band and they each provide humour and silliness through the film. Spinal Tap’s fictional history includes a succession of drummers, all of whom are said to have died in strange circumstances: one in a ‘bizarre gardening accident’, another ‘choked on vomit, but not his own vomit’, and two spontaneously combusted onstage.
Spinal Tap’s songs are nothing short of classic heavy metal, even if they are a little on the silly side, and the members of he fictional band have released several studio albums, and performed live gigs around the world.
SCHOOL OF ROCK
Another Jack Black film, but another film that showcases kids getting into music and understanding the power and freedom that comes with performing. Black plays Dewey Finn, a wannabe rockstar who, after being fired from his band, pretends to be a substitute teacher to make some money. Dewey soon starts teaching the kids about his passion, music, and it is not long before the kids become passionate about music, and learn that performance can be a vehicle for self expression.
SCHOOL OF ROCK has a fantastic soundtrack, which features songs from The Who, The Doors, Cream, Led Zeppelin and the band the kids create in the film.
Honourable mentions to: CONTROL, 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE and ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL and SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS.
Which is your favourite film to celebrate music? Let us know in the comments below.
WE ARE THE BEST! is in Irish cinemas from April 18th
Words: Brogen Hayes