Neuman’s Movie Monday-Movies About Music
This week’s Neuman’s Movie Monday is all about the top 10 movies about music. I have excluded movies that are musicals and movies about dancing. Those movies involve music but are not about music.
10. Sister Act
A really underrated movie. No, it’s not great but can be in 10 of this list. To make songs that were originally about a guy and turn them into a gospel song is pretty ingenious. Harvey Keitel is a great as the bad guy and each sister is great in their own way.
9. 8 Mile
Regardless of rap being your thing or not, “8 Mile” is a pretty good flick. To get a sneak peak into the underground world of rap battles can’t really be matched by any other movie. The creativity and improvosation of a rap battle is something to be admired amongst any music fan.
8. School of Rock
The kids in this movie are extremely talented and a lot of fun to watch. Jack Black is pretty funny and takes his love for rock to the big screen to pass his knowledge to youngsters as the fake permanent substitute. It takes awhile for the music to hit but the songs are actually pretty good.
Jamie Joxx does an amazing job as Ray Charles. It helps that Ray Charles has had such an extraordinary life. From the loss to his little brother, to losing his sight, to being a music icon, this a good movie the whole way through.
6. The Blues Brothers
There weren’t two cooler guys than “The Blues Brothers.” Belushi is a genius and you really see that start of the greatness of comedy writing that Dan Aykroyd portrays. It doesn’t matter if you are on stage, or driving through a crowded mall, they are the icons of cool.
5. That Thing You Do
This movie continues to hover under the radar. The Wonders are the hottest band on the charts and you get to see the band’s meteoric rise and their epic collapse. It shows how fast a band can have amazing success and how quickly that can diminish. The songs are right in the wheelhouse of 60’s rock but are just as entertaining as ever.
Every music class I had made us watch “Amadeus” but when you watch a movie in 42 minute clips on multiple days, it’s hard to follow along. I had no appreciation for this movie until later. I saw it won an Oscar for best picture and I gave it another shot. This is a really good movie. If you can stand Tom Hulce’s annoying laugh as Motzart, you can get through pretty much anything (except maybe Jar Jar Binks). F Murray Abraham is fantastic as the jealous Salieri who can’t stand that God put that kind of talent in such a jerk. The imitation scene is so good, it’s been parodied multiple times.
3. The Doors
Val Kilmer has always been kind of hit and miss and this is a definite hit. Jim Morrison was such a weird guy that it was great to see what his life was like. Oliver Stone did a fantastic job capturing the hard and short life of Jim Morrison. The Doors were an influential band on the heels of very odd lyrics. If you are interested in a weirdly entertain bio pic, “The Doors” is one to see.
2. This is Spinal Tap
It really is one of the funniest movies ever made on top of being the funniest rock movie ever made. I am a big fan of mockumenteries and this is the best one. Following “Spinal Tap” and their career, the crew gets an up close look at the pros and cons of rock stardom. Whether “Stonehenge” is too small, or their amps go to 11, this is a laugh out loud farce.
1. Almost Famous
Another scenario where we are following a band, we see William Miller, a 14 year old who is a writer for Rolling Stone Magazine, follow an up and coming Still Water. They embrace him as one of their own but partly because rock critics are considered the “enemy.” The great part of this movie is that writer/director, Cameron Crowe, actually did this as a young man. One if the best scenes in music movie history is the group singing “Tiny Dancer” on their tour bus. This is also a great cast: Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Anna Paquin, Faruza Balk, Jimmy Fallon, and the great Philip Seymour Hoffman. “Almost Famous” would make it on my desert island movie list.