If you’ve been paying attention, you know most movies about rock are as accurate as Dick Cheney with a hunting rifle. Coming soon are biopics about Brian Wilson and Marvin Gaye. Which should be lurid enough to attract lots of viewers. In the way stray dogs come running when they hear Geddy Lee sing. Here are some reasons why rock films usually suck. And not well.
No Humor Unless It’s Unintentional – One of the more popular recent movies in this genre was Rock Star. At first you think, Lauren Bacall only agreed to be in this ode to metal because she forgot to take her Alzheimer’s medicine. Then you realize, the tool in the wig and leather duds is 4-foot-6 Mark Wahlberg. This fictionalized version of the Judas Priest story is so reverent, you wonder when Wahlberg will perform the Sermon on the Mount. Still, this movie must’ve been hard to make. Heavy metal’s already a parody. How do you parody a parody? Bertrand Russell once asked that. Wait, it was Bill Russell. Or Nipsey. What were we talking about again?
Drugs – I’m sure Ray Charles and Johnny Cash played music. But according to the movies, they only squeezed it in. When they weren’t getting twisted to the tits. The best thing about the Cash movie (starring 4-foot-9 Joaquin Phoenix), is, if you forgot the title, every 10 minutes, June Carter says, “John Cash, you’re never gonna walk the line!” Watching Ray makes you wonder: did Charles make music when he wasn’t shooting heroin? What was it like? Neither The Dalai Lama nor The Shell Answer Man knew the answer. I asked!
Bump Off Some Relatives – Ray’s brother dies. Johnny’s brother dies. If you can’t knock off a sibling, bump off the star. Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly got killed in the same plane crash. And they made two different movies about it. Hey, if you want a movie that ends better, see something lighter. Like Oedipus Rex.
Find An Actor Who Can’t Lip Sync – It’s hard to accept a movie when the star can’t lip sync. Oscar-worthy work is done in this category by Ileana Douglas, in Grace Of My Heart. You hear a female voice sing a line from God Give Me Strength. Then, two days later, Douglas’s lips move. For a change of pace, sometimes her lips move two days before the vocal. Now, that’s riveting cinema. Then again, I think English voices dubbed into Mothra Versus Rodan is riveting cinema, too.
Get A Musician To Play…A Musician – When rockers become stars, instead of taking good supporting roles, they always end up starring as musicians. Like the Shakespearean, Hard To Hold. Starring Rick Springfield as, uh, Rick Springfield. Which is so phony, it makes Ray look like a Ken Burns documentary. Rick’s so squeaky clean, you long to see his character take drugs. He doesn’t. So, after watching the film, you take drugs. All in all, not a bad deal.