Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Best Of Everything (part two)

I’ve had multiple requests for addendums to "The Best Of Everything" post, most notably for rock & roll movies. Here is my rock & roll movie list, divided into two categories; Rock & Roll Documentaries (including flat-out pure concert movies, i.e. Rust Never Sleeps) and Movies About Rock & Roll.

The first category listed here – Worst Rock & Roll Bands – was inspired by the car ahead of me in traffic the other day that was adorned (disdorned?) by a Dave Matthews Band bumper sticker. Readers, please be advised; THE DAVE MATTHEWS BAND WAS/IS THE WORST ROCK & ROLL BAND THAT HAS EVER EXISTED! BIOHAZARD! BIOHAZARD! PLAGUE! AVOID AT ALL COSTS! (But I didn’t have to tell you that, did I? You all knew.)

Worst Rock & Roll Bands

1) The Dave Matthews Band
2) Kansas
3) Styx
4) Journey
5) Foreigner

dis-honorable mentions; Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains, Blink 182, Sum 41, many, many other 90’s & 00's bands

a rock & roll truism; if you were a 70’s band with a one-word name (the exception that proves the rule being Aerosmith) or a 90’s or 00’s band with a number in your name, there’s a very, very good chance that you sucked.

Top Ten Rock & Roll Documentaries/Concert Films

1) Gimme Shelter / The Rolling Stones
2) The Kids Are Alright / The Who
3) The Future Is Unwritten / Joe Strummer
4) Don't Look Back / Bob Dylan
5) Hail! Hail! Rock & Roll / Chuck Berry
6) Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970 / The Who
7) Rust Never Sleeps / Neil Young
7) Stop Making Sense / Talking Heads
8) Live At The Astoria London 2005 / Ian Hunter & The Rant Band 
9) The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople
10) Under Blackpool Lights 2004 / The White Stripes

honorable mentions; The Essential Clash, all Bruce Springsteen DVD bonus discs in the Born To Run and Darkness On The Edge Of Town box sets  

Top Ten Movies About Rock & Roll

1) Almost Famous
2) Rock & Roll High School
3) A Hard Day’s Night
4) Help!
5) The Commitments
6) This Is Spinal Tap
7) Sid & Nancy
8) Fast Times At Ridgemont High 
9) Cotton Candy
10) Purple Rain

honorable mentions; Get Crazy, The Buddy Holly Story, One Trick Pony, Walk The Line, Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist, Hard Core Logo, That Thing You Do

author’s note; There are many truly awful movies about rock & roll (Tommy, Pink Floyd: The Wall, anything featuring Elvis Presley as a race car driver, a carnie, an underwater demolition expert, etc.) but maybe the worst of all of these was 2010’s The Runaways. I’m not sure what makes it the worst rock & roll movie of all time but I’m convinced that it is. I can’t get any of my rock & roll best friends to go see it or rent it, however, because I constantly lead with the fact that it is, indeed, the worst rock & roll movie of all time. Maybe it’s because I knew too much about the band The Runaways going into the film, maybe it's the glaring factual errors (not portraying lyricist & early driving force Kari Krome AT ALL, changing bassist Jackie Fox's name), maybe it’s because the band has a really interesting story the filmmakers totally squandered, maybe it’s a combination of those and other factors. But here’s all I know for sure: This is a movie in which Kristen Stewart & Dakota Fanning (portraying Joan Jett & Cherie Currie, respectively) MAKE OUT ONSCREEN and the director still found a way to make it boring. Mind-boggling.

further author’s note; There’s a truly great book by Marshall Crenshaw (one of the five best purveyors of power pop ever, by the way) from 1994 called Hollywood Rock: A Guide To Rock ‘n’ Roll In The Movies that is invaluable to any student of or lover of rock & roll and movies. Crenshaw came up with this great classification system of separate star ratings for music, attitude and fun that sets this apart from any other rock movie book ever. Classic.

1 comment:

  1. great blog Ricki, and good seeing you at the "Hitless Wonder" reading - I agree totally with your Marshal Crenshaw assessment (both as performer and bookwriter). Somehow your top 5 R&R documentaries became top 10 (what are your thoughts about "DIG" - I loved it, and it would be in my top 5). Also, I like me some Foreigner, so I would replace them with Uriah Heep - actually, I would replace them all with Uriah Heep. For what it's worth, I also hated The Runaways movie, and really liked American Hardcore (but that was my youth - did hardcore pass you by?). There's also a great documentary on Dr. Feelgood (by the same guy who did the Joe Strummer and Sex Pistols docs), but you need a region free DVD player for it. - Pat Dull