This is not a list of musicals. Neither is it biopics, really. These three films belong to a different kind of genre (or rather, category) and the importance and incorporation of music in them varies vastly. Not only are the soundtracks of these three flicks to die for, the acting and the plot are also nothing short of genius.
So let’s get right into it, shall we? Three movies about music that I could watch a million times over:
The late great Anton Yelchin is incredible in this film, as he is in every single performance I have seen of his. And so is Billy Crudup, who portrays Sam, the protagonist of the story. After tragedy hit his family, Sam rediscovers his passion for music and starts writing songs again with his unlikely partner Quentin (Yelchin). Not only is the story heartbreaking and smart, the soundtrack includes some of my all time favorite songs; “Asshole” has to be at the top of my list because it is so simple and yet such an unforgettable un-lovesong.
A warm feeling spreads through your every cell when you watch this group of unlikely band-mates play some really, really well written songs in the lounge-y atmosphere of their local coffee shop/pub. But that feeling doesn’t last as you slowly discover more and more details about Sam and his son’s past and the reasons that led him back to music. Needless to say, I own an frequently play the soundtrack to Rudderless. But especially the last song “Sing Along” makes me tear up every time (I even got goosebumps just writing about it).
What I considered for years to be the best movie ever made was this glorious piece starring Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale, Tony Colette, Eddy Izzard and a beautiful, baby-faced Jonathan Rhys Meyers. If Rudderless, with its simplicity and heart-warming closeness between characters and audience, takes place in the real world, you can find Velvet Goldmine all the way across the galaxy, as far removed from any trace of today’s reality as it can be. But that’s not to say it doesn’t feel real or realistic. It is a glittering, flamboyant, neon-clad celebration of all that was holy in the era of glam rock – and we’re not just talking about the outfits. Brian Slade (Meyers) finds himself in the midst of a music industry that covers him in layers upon layers of superficiality until all that remains is a mere persona instead of a person. The famous ‘music-video scene’ even shows Brian watching a demon-like figure, covered in blue glitter, acting out his own fantasies before it relishes in the destruction that ensues when everything around it goes up in flames. We could sit here and discuss all psychology-like the idea of freeing the id or destroying the ego or what have you. But I got something better for you: the music in this film.
It is just as spaced-out and weird as you would expect. At times very heavy on the piano and electric guitar and mostly sung by a single male voice, the songs enthrall you with an eerie but enchanting feeling. And the lyrics, as obscure as they might be, do highlight how much every listener reads their own meaning into them – even if it is really just a nonsensical combination of phrases. Which is not to say the songs weren’t intended to have meaning. The film just plays around quite cleverly with the idea of superficiality. Plus, Brian Slade is one of the best bisexual characters to date. Fair warning though: don’t watch this with your grandma. The nudity and lewdity might give her a heart attack.
Note: we do not support the work of Harvey Weinstein or anyone else alleged and reported of sexual misconduct. However, we do believe that everyone else involved in making this movie deserves recognition for their work.
Not only does this movie bring you some smashing songs, it is one of the most hilarious stories I have ever experienced and that without being a comedy. Quite dark at times, Killing Bono swipes you off your feet with a unique plot full of surprises, inventive and curious costumes and a cast that could not have been more perfect. Ben Barnes plays one of those antagonists whom you just love to hate (but also hate to hate) and I have never seen a Robbie Sheehan performance that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy.
The two brothers are on the rocky road to fame and money as they started their own band in school and have no intention of giving up on their dream to one day make it big – despite having exactly zero successful and important gigs to show for it. While the audience follows Neil and Ivan and their ever-changing cast of band-mates, another group is on the rise and it is none other than U2. Apparently, back in school, all these lads were pretty good friends but Neil’s pride, his secrets and fear of ending up alone cause a divide between them all. It’s almost been 15 years since Killing Bono first graced theater screens, so if you haven’t seen it you should get on that right away. You can thank me later.
Hopefully you enjoy these recommendations. Feel free to tell us in the comments about your own favorite movie about music!!