Some of my favorite movies revolve around music; the two just seem to fit perfectly hand in hand. Whether it be a musical, a Doors documentary or a Spinal Tap mockumentary, music just has a way of tying in with characters and their stories. These are some of my favorite movies about music:
1. 20 feet from Stardom
Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill, and Darlene Love are just some of the women that Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on. These ladies have sung with Mick Jagger, danced with Tina Turner and backed up Michael Jackson; their voices would give you chills, their presence is undeniable and their love for music is undying. This documentary questions why these women never quite made it from back up singer to lead performer through a series of cinematic shots, archive footage and interviews with artists such as Sting, Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen. This film will throw you back to a time of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
2. The Commitments
Alan Parker brought some of Dublin’s finest actors together to make a heartwarming movie about a group of working class white kids who want to bring Soul to Dublin. The film follows the troubles that the ‘hardest working band in the world’ faces as they try to reach stardom. The tag line sums it up well: “They Had Absolutely Nothing. But They Were Willing To Risk It All.”
3. The Chorus
M. Clément Mathieu arrives at a school for orphaned and troubled boys; after a long line of failures he has given up on music and turned his attention to working as an assistant teacher. However, his students have been forced into a world of “action – reaction” where every step out of line means hard punishment from the principal M. Rachin. This method has turned the students into a bunch of rebellious trouble makers who Mathieu learns to reach through the medium of music. The Chorus is a thing of beauty that won’t leave a dry eye in the house.
4. High Fidelity
John Cusack plays Rob, a thirty-something music fanatic who’s going through a mid-life crisis. He looks back on his failed relationships the same way he looks at his music: Top 5’s. With the help of his two “musical moron twins” he looks back at his love for music and women and tries to find where it all went wrong.
4. Empire Records
The quirky and eclectic Empire Records is about to be bought out by a chain store called Music Town. The equally quirky and eclectic employees must band together to find a way to raise enough money to save the store or lose it all. In one day multiple problems come to a head, breakdowns are had all round and the family of co-workers have to come together to save the store and each other. Of course, all this is set to a great soundtrack.