There are so many music movies out there: musicals, documentaries, films based on the life of a band or musician – the films I’m about to list are none of these. These films were inspired by music, or has music at its heart, and it’s about time somebody told you about them…
High Fidelity (2000)
This film is a classic. Based on the novel by Nick Hornby, it tells us the story of Rob, and his love-life past and present. We explore his top five worst breakups, and how they lead him on a path to self-discovery. Rob is a complex character – you want to not like him, he admits that he’s a bad guy, but you end up loving him anyway. Music encapsulates this film, everything from the soundtrack, references, and the fact that Rob owns a record store. Ever since my sister showed me this film, I loved it. Everyone I have shown this film to, loves it. It’s a must-see: you’ve got John Cusack (what a guy), Jack Black comedy (at its best), and it’ll make you want to be even more of a music geek than you already are.
School of Rock (2003)
If you haven’t seen this film then… I don’t know what to say. Other than to make that change asap. Jack Black features in this film too however, he co-stars with a different member of the Cusack family this time, Joan Cusack. Yep, the sister of John Cusack, aka Rob from High Fidelity. She’s actually in High Fidelity as well, so maybe she’s the key to making a great music-inspired movie? There’s some great adult actors in this, but it’s really the kids that make it. Take a posh American prep school, a bunch of straight laced kids, and give them a music-obsessed Jack Black with no appreciation for the rules: that’s School of Rock. It’s funny, it’s loveable, it’s extremely quotable (“You’re tacky and I hate you” being one of my favourites), and you’ll wish that you had a teacher like Mr. S when you were a kid… maybe. You’ll have their original songs stuck in your head for days. It’s also now a critically acclaimed musical, so if you like that sort of thing it might be worth checking out.
Sing Street (2016)
This movie is a lot more recent than the previous two, but despite this I think it could easily become a cult classic in years to come. Set in 1985 Dublin, Ireland, a young teen named Conor decides to form a band to impress the girl he likes. He manages to get together an unlikely bunch of lads (one of whom is BIMM Dublin’s very own Jafaris), and they turn themselves into something special. Both the storyline and the characters are wonderfully executed, and the original songs are excellent – especially considering that we’re meant to believe a group of schoolboys wrote them. There’s so many cultural references in this film, and some of the costumes are just so 80s, it’s great. This one’s on Netflix as well, so it’s just that easy to watch it right now!
Baby Driver (2017)
Baby Driver came out this year and I absolutely adored it. Everything from the setting, to the actors, to the music and choreography… it just worked. It worked brilliantly. Now don’t get me wrong, perhaps the trailer could have been cut differently, and the title is a little off-putting – ‘Baby Driver’ doesn’t necessarily sound like a film you’d take seriously. But, after seeing this film, I immediately wanted to see it again: and that doesn’t happen very often. It tells the story of Baby, who’s a get-away driver who’s trying to get away from being a get-away driver… get it? But he’s indebted, and stuck, and then suddenly in love. Music is integral to this film, as Baby constantly has headphones in, listening to an array of artists such as Carla Thomas, Beck, T-Rex, The Beach Boys, James Brown… he has a non-stop soundtrack to his life, and they really focus on this. His steps and surroundings match each song perfectly; it’s not only enjoyable, but beautiful to watch. Baby also records conversations and makes songs out of them. They’re pretty cool and some are featured on the official soundtrack, so maybe give that a listen. Baby Driver is out on DVD soon – go buy it and watch it a thousand times (I know I will).
Just in general, Juno is one of my favourite films ever. Ellen Page is excellent, Michael Cera is loveable, and the story-line feels original and the characters seem realistic – it’s everything a lot of coming-of-age films find it hard to be. For those of you who haven’t seen Juno then here’s the basics: Juno is sixteen and becomes pregnant thanks to her friend Paulie Bleeker. She decides to have the baby and give it up for adoption, and ends up growing close with the adopted father to-be who happens to be a failed rock star. Music is at the heart of this film: Juno talks a lot about her music heroes, records are played and discussed and the soundtrack to the film itself is quite alternative compared to most mainstream movies. Although music isn’t the main focus, it plays its part and shows how it can play an important role in the journey of growing up.