He’s the king of ’em all, y’all

I’m hoping to see the new James Brown biopic soon. Has anyone seen it?

I thought it might be fun to do a thread on music-oriented movies. Could be any movie where music plays a big role, a musical proper, a biopic about a musician, whatever.

Big screen musicals I like are: “Singin’ in the Rain”, “West Side Story”, “Wizard of Oz” (“The Wiz” is pretty good too), and “My Fair Lady”. I find all the Rodgers and Hammerstein ones, as well as Guys and Dolls, unwatchable.

I’m a bit skeptical about the biopic ones because with a really great performer, it’s hard to find an actor who can pull it off, though I did like Reese as June Carter Cash. Movies with actual musicians in them can be great — “The Harder They Come” and “‘Round Midnight” are fantastic, and unlike most people, I loved “Cotton Club”, largely because of the dance numbers with Gregory Hines.

“The Commitments” is one of my favorite movies ever, but I’d probably like any movie with the premise that Irish are the only white people who can sing soul music. I liked “Fabulous Baker Boys” a lot too, mostly because of that first sense where Michelle Pfeiffer sings “More Than You Know” and because when I was younger I related to that Jeff Bridges character.

What music-based movies do you like?

And does anyone know of any other movies where Lauren Bacall sings?

Update. I forgot “Spinal Tap” and “Nashville”!

240 replies
  1. 1
    Belafon says:

    Can’t stand music oriented movies. If there are more songs in it than in Back to the Future, my wife sees them with someone else. Though walking in on the a cappella version of the Final Countdown in Pitch Perfect made me laugh.

  2. 2
    Gleen says:

    Spinal Tap. They wrote and played their own stuff.

  3. 3
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    “The Commitments” is one of my favorite movies ever, but I’d probably like any movie with the premise that Irish are the only white people who can sing soul music.

    Did you read the book? Curious to know what you or others think of the Big Thing (big to me) they changed at the end. Made me angry. I read an interview with Roddy Doyle not long ago about the stage production, IIRC he was very happy with the movie, and even more so with the stage version.

    I like the Blues Brothers because of Aretha, Ray Charles and Cab Calloway. And the country (and Western!) bar scene. I was surprised after watching it for the first time in a long time just how… not good Belushi and Ackroyd are as singers rather than comedians. Musically. You had to be there back in the late seventies when they first did that on SNL, I think.

  4. 4
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Diva. Sid and Nancy. Ray – Jamie Foxx was magnificent. Shaft.

    That Thing You Do was surprisingly good.

    And, of course, High Fidelity.

  5. 5
    MattF says:

    The Coen Brothers have a lot of music and musical moments in their movies. I’ll just mention the Sirens in O Brother Where Art Thou sung by Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, and Allison Krauss. Can’t do much better than that.

  6. 6
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    And does anyone know of any other movies where Lauren Bacall sings?

    Not off the top of my head, but this is pretty wonderful (she was 64 at the time).

    (Music by Weill, new words by Sondheim.)

  7. 7
    zmulls says:

    ALL THAT JAZZ. Now and forever. Just watched it again last week (my sons were finally old enough to see it).

    So freaking brilliant. “To be on the wire is life….the rest is waiting…”

  8. 8
  9. 9
    kuvasz says:

    Bacall sings in “To Have and Have Not.” with Hoagy Carmichael on the piano.

  10. 10
    Betty Cracker says:

    As far as biopics go, I’ll second Omnes’ nod to “Ray” and “Sid and Nancy” and add that I thought Sissy Spacek did an awesome job in “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

  11. 11
  12. 12
    Kylroy says:

    Gonna toss out a really obscure one here – “Don’t Knock The Rock”. A movie from the ground zero of rock and roll’s creation (1956), obvious in part from how the filmmakers haven’t quite teased out the difference between rock and swing. Has performances from Bill Haley and Little Richard, long before anybody guessed we’d remember their names nearly 60 years later.

    Not a great film, but still fun and a fascinating time capsule.

  13. 13
    srv says:

    Anything Morricone.

    They’re really music movies just interspersed with great scenery and some operatic commentary.

  14. 14
    drkrick says:

    “Almost Famous”. I grew up reading Lester Bangs in Creem, so Seymour Philip Hoffman’s turn as Lester mentoring Cameron/William was pretty sweet, as was the music.

    God help me, Ken Russell’s “Tommy” with all the taste and restraint of a Keith Moon drum solo. Clapton’s take on “Eyesight to the Blind” might be the best work he’s done since “Layla.”

    And “1776”. Adapting “Sit Down, John” to our current house speaker might be fun.

  15. 15
    raven says:

    AMERICAN HOT WAX is quite good, Screamin Jay Hawkins, Jerry Lee, Chuck Berry, Frankie Ford and a bunch of folks who are made up groups representing the early days of rock. Laraine Newman plays a Carole King character and Jay Leno is in it as well. Alan Freed is played by Tim McIntire who also wrote and performed the music in Jeremiah Johnson. Really fun movie that is hard to get. My DVD is a crummy burn but it will do.

  16. 16
    Yatsuno says:

    Angela Basset KILLED it as Tina Turner.

  17. 17
    shelley says:

    ‘Hairspray’ And I mean the original one with Ricki Lake and Divine. Sorry, John Travolta, you are no Divine.

    And when Mel Brooks belts out the title song ‘High Anxiety’ in the piano bar, I smile.

  18. 18
    raven says:

    Don’t miss Muscle Shoals, it’s on Netflix.

  19. 19
    Mart says:

    What about Cadillac Records? Does a decent job with the story of the 50’s early 60’s Chicago blues greats and Chess Records, but the music is much better. Beyonce singing Etta James is excellent.

    Lucky enough to have a buddy who lived next door to Muddy Waters when I was a teenager in Westmont, IL. Muddy was kind enough to let us in from the front porch to watch the band practice, and share a spliff or two.

  20. 20
    Origuy says:

    I’ve never been really fond of musicals, because people start singing at the strangest times. I enjoyed Cabaret, though, since the singing was there for a reason. Coal Miner’s Daughter was another one like that.

  21. 21
    petesh says:

    There was that black and white one featuring a boy band on a train and in and out of a TV studio … that was pretty good.

    Of the Rodgers & Hammerstein ones (I confess I like them), Carousel is pretty interesting, and parts of South Pacific actually have decent politics.

  22. 22
    hitchhiker says:

    Postcards from the Edge . . . the last scene is Meryl Streep doing a kickass cover of Heartbreak Hotel. Plus, good movie.

  23. 23
    Violet says:

    I love “Once”. I also love “Chicago.” And “The Commitments” is just classic.

    I’m a sucker for old school musicals–“The Sound of Music”, “My Fair Lady”, etc. Will watch any of them and happily sing along.

  24. 24
    raven says:

    This is the magnificently symbolic ending to the 1979 cult classic, The Wanderers. It is set in late November of 1963, in the days following JFK’s assassination. Right before where this scene begins, Richie has just seen a young, yet-to-be-discovered Bob Dylan singing ‘The Times They are a Changin’ at a local music bar. Richie realises that the world is changing, and that the golden days of the late 50s/early 60s are coming to an unfortunate end.

  25. 25
    cleek says:

    Storefront Hitchcock & Stop Making Sense: to complete the concert film subgenre.

  26. 26
    BGinCHI says:

    Best musical film ever is obviously The Big Lebowski.

    It’s the official Balloon Juice film.

    Now get back to work.

  27. 27
    DougJ says:


    I watched some of Cadillac Records over someone’s shoulder on a plane ride a few days ago. I’m too cheap to pay th $6 for movies on Delta. It looked good.

  28. 28
    Bystander says:

    Actually, Bacall was said to have been dubbed in To Have and Have Not. By Andy Williams. But in the clip above, it is said to be her actual voice. She starred in two musicals on Broadway, but I don’t think anybody went to see them for her singing or dancing.

  29. 29
    nwerner says:

    The Cable Guy does some interesting things musically that are not at all obvious but once you take note of them you see how it works with the movie’s theme. There are a few instances where there is a soundtrack playing as the scene unfolds and eventually Carrey starts singing along with the soundtrack.

    20 Feet From Stardom also.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    superfly says:

    Purple Rain, not the greatest film, but the music and performances are right up there.

  32. 32
    ellie says:

    Yes, I saw it last weekend. I liked it a lot. For music-related movies you must see Dewey Cox, which is a spot on parody of all musician biopics.

  33. 33
    Violet says:

    “That Thing You Do” is one of my guilty pleasure films. I love the title song. And Tom Hanks is just wonderful in his role.

  34. 34
    Percysowner says:

    I’ll second 1776. Fun movie and the songs are good and move the story and characterizations along. As to biopics, Coal Miner’s Daughter is a great movie. I have no idea if it truly captured Loretta Lynn’s personality or deals with the facts of her life, but it’s funny and touching and as a person who doesn’t generally like country movie, the songs they use are wonderful.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    Violet says:

    Anyone else love ‘The Triplets of Belleville’? Trailer.

  37. 37
    Hawes says:

    The Coens did it again with Inside Llewyn Davis. That’s a movie about music that can be hard to watch.

    As far as bio-pic go, you can’t beat Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. It might be the perfect parody of a genre. His inevitable descent into addiction is hilarious.

  38. 38
    Amanda Leigh says:

    Hands down, “A Hard Day’s Night”. More recently, “Once” was really great, too.

  39. 39
    gorillagogo says:

    Walk Hard was hilarious and, like the guys in Spinal Tap, John C. Reilly co-wrote and performed all the songs.

  40. 40
    catclub says:

    Tom Waits “Big Time” was interesting.

    “Wasn’t That a Time” documentary on the Weavers.

    Somebody else mentioned Diva – great.

  41. 41
    Original Lee says:

    “Amadeus”. Music not incidental to the story at all, and a lot of the politics behind the kinds of things Mozart composed.

    Also, a movie I haven’t watched in a long time but still remember the music: “The Omen.”

  42. 42
    raven says:

    Spinal Tap and Mighty Wind are ok.

  43. 43
    shelley says:

    “Georgia” (1995) Mare Winningham does an wonderful version of ‘Hard Times.’

  44. 44
    Violet says:

    @Gleen: Gawd, I love “Spinal Tap”. I still have The Black Album.

  45. 45
    tommydee says:

    “Pennies from Heaven”

  46. 46
    Stuck in a Red State says:

    Hard Days Night, Almost Famous, Hi Fidelity, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Crazy Heart are probably my faves. Just recently saw Begin Again with Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo – thought it was pretty good.

  47. 47
    Stephen Benson says:

    spike lee’s “mo better blues” is one of the best representations of music as a profession and a lifestyle that I’ve seen. it’s all there, the egos, the obsession, the high school pettiness of backstage, the jerks who own the venue, all of it.

  48. 48
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Original Lee: I second Amadeus.

  49. 49
    raven says:

    The Last Waltz

  50. 50
    FridayNext says:

    I’ll second Tommy and throw out Quadrophenia as well. I really like the Beatle’s covers in All this and World War II, but the clips I have seen form the movie are very strange. The Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense is awesome, but I I might be the only person who likes the Bob Rafeson directed Monkees’ movie Head and Phantom of the Paradise.

    Someone already mentioned Spinal Tap, but a good companion piece for a double bill would be the documentary Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years. (The other two are good, but this one is awesome in how the “real” musicians are pretty good illustrations of exactly who was being made sport of in Spinal Tap. Except for Lemmy. Lemmy is one cool cat.)

    Nashville is one of Altman’s best movies and has awesome music. And while McCabe & Mrs. Miller is not musical per se, the Leonard Cohen songs are sublime.

    I also liked MIlos Forman’s Hair. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was an absolute train wreck of a movie, but I do still enjoy some of the songs.

    And of course Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog is still the go to “movie” on a blue day.

    PS: And though it was really weird and not good, I have a soft spot in my heart for Cop Rock.

  51. 51
    terraformer says:

    Pretty campy, but I really liked “Streets of Fire.” It had a couple of hits come from it, and while the plot was vanilla, it had performances from a few who would go on to be major stars, including Diane Lane, Willem Dafoe, Bill Paxton, and Amy Madigan.

  52. 52
    brantl says:

    I don’t have a problem with movies with music in them, but I hate musicals, absolutely loathe them, what’s the point of the acting before the singing, and ths singing that follows the acting? Both detract from the other.

  53. 53
    Anoniminous says:



  54. 54
    Botsplainer says:

    Can’t stand most of the older musicals, with a couple of exceptions – My Fair Lady being tops in that genre (Higgins was gayer than a Disney elephant. Am I the only person who noticed?). I’ll also watch Holiday Inn to comment on Rosemary Clooney’s weirdness and listlessness, the anorexia of her female costar, and the ineptitude of The General. Casablanca is kind of a musical that gets good marks from me for the performances of everybody but Bergman – I want it remade with Vince Vaughn as Rick and Sarah Silverman as Ilse.

    Modern, I like Pitch Perfect, Hairspray and The Producers.

  55. 55
    Cacti says:

    I’m looking forward to the Jimi Hendrix biopic with Andre Benjamin/Andre 3000 of Outkast as Jimi.

    Although he’s from a different genre, Andre has always had that same eclectic/artiste vibe about him that JH had. He also learned to play the guitar left-handed for the film.

  56. 56
    Violet says:

    @FridayNext: Speaking of metal bands, “Anvil” is a really fun film. Trailer.

  57. 57
  58. 58
    raven says:

    @FridayNext: Quadrophenia is fucking awesome

  59. 59
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    TRHPS- Sweet Transvestite

    And Rock ‘n’ Roll High School is that B movie I could watch a million times.

  60. 60
    Anoniminous says:

    Definitely Yellow Submarine for the music and ground-breaking animation.

    The plot is strictly formula.

  61. 61
    shelley says:

    I’ll also watch Holiday Inn to comment

    That’s ‘White Christmas’. ‘Holiday Inn’ has it’s charms, (with Fred Astaire, how could it not.) Except for the jaw-dropping Lincoln’s Birthday sequence. Some venues have edited it out, but TCM runs it intact.

  62. 62
    Mudslide says:

    Best concert movie ever: Stop Making Sense

  63. 63
    JPL says:

    Interrupting this thread for important news…

    A senior White House official said on Wednesday that the United States would consider using American ground troops to assist Iraqis in rescuing Yazidi refugees if recommended by military advisers assessing the situation.

    from the ny times

    I love musicals so much, I even liked Nathan Lane in the Producers.
    mock me if you must

  64. 64
    princess leia says:


  65. 65
    pluege says:

    Coal Miners Daughter
    Hard Days Night

  66. 66
    Jacel says:

    If you like Spinal Tap, don’t miss the Rutles movie, “All You Need Is Cash”. Or “Leningrad Cowboys Go America”. I wish Laurie Anderson’s concert film “Home Of The Brave” was more available — never on DVD, so I’m treasuring my VHS copy. Jane Horrocks’ vocal impersonations in “Little Voice” are amazing — and wonderfully integrated into her character’s story.

  67. 67
    Origuy says:

    How could I have forgotten Rocky Horror? And Little Shop of Horrors?

  68. 68
    Alex S. says:

    Too much music in a movie scares me off, I could never understand why people like musicals. I only like them as ambience, like in Blue Velvet or Eraserhead. Also, Christiane F. because it’s Bowie.

  69. 69
    Porco Rosso says:

    Velvet Goldmine was quite nice as far as bisexual paeans to the glam era go.

  70. 70
    Alex S. says:

    Hah, I’m in moderation, but why? The word mo.vie? mus.ical? B.lue Vel.vet? Eras.erhe.ad? Chr.istian.e?

  71. 71
    KG says:

    @drkrick: another vote for Almost Famous, my favorite movie of all time.

  72. 72
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I’d probably like any movie with the premise that Irish are the only white people who can sing soul music

    Given the way the Irish were treated prior to say the early 20th Century, this is understandable. The residents of Rock Ridge being able to accept Chinese and African-Americans in their town, but absolutely not the Irish, is a joke that is lost on many who don’t know the history.

  73. 73
    kc says:


    As far as bio-pic go, you can’t beat Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. It might be the perfect parody of a genre. His inevitable descent into addiction is hilarious.

    [Dewey goes into a bathroom where Sam is with lots of groupies]

    Sam: Get out of here Dewey!

    Dewey Cox: What are y’all doing in here?

    Sam: It’s called cocaine. And you don’t want no part of this shit!

    Dewey Cox: Cucaine?

    [Sam nods and smiles]

    Dewey Cox: What’s it do?

    Sam: It turns all your bad feelings into good feelings. It’s a nightmare!

    Dewey Cox: I’m thinking maybe I’d like to try me some of that cucaine.

  74. 74
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @shelley: Yes yes yes to Hairspray.

    I also loved La Bamba and The Buddy Holly Story (although Gary Busey was an odd choice for the lead).

    I’m an old soul, so I have to include The Sound of Music as a great musical.

    And if you want to cry hard, there’s always The Temptations miniseries.

  75. 75
    Joel says:

    The Harder They Come is pretty entertaining despite bad production values. Can’t overstate the impact of the film, either.

    Perry Henzell, the Jamaican director whose independent film “The Harder They Come” became a landmark cult hit that introduced reggae music to an international audience in the early 1970s, has died. He was 70.

  76. 76
    Porco Rosso says:

    Speaking of another King


    Grace of My Heart

  77. 77
    kc says:


    The songs in “Walk Hard” were hilarious, too.

  78. 78
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Love Rock and Roll High School. Not just the music, but PJ Soles and that other girl are a great pair. They look like they’re having so much fun making that movie.

  79. 79
    SatanicPanic says:

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the best ever. Duh.

    Crybaby gets an honorable mention.

  80. 80
    raven says:

    @Joel: Walking down the road, with a rachet in your waist. . .

  81. 81
    raven says:

    The Marley doc is really good.

  82. 82
    The Pale Scot says:

    American Hot Wax and Get Crazy, which is more of a spoof but very funny (if you were into a certain sidney enhanced lifestyle), a fictionale tale of what the Fillmore East would be like if it was around in the 80’s

    Just a frenetic one mini skit after another,

    •The I Spy character popping up and dosing water bottles to the guitar riff of Big Electric Cat.

    The Rasta selling bong hits in the stall of the men’s bathroom

    • Bill Henderson playing the King of Blues as one band after another covers his Hoochie Coochie Man; “I’m going to bask in my own Genius”.

    Unfortunately never re-released on digital.

    But it is on utube

    Clapton and Elton with his 4ft stack boots in Tommy. Along with the glazed eyes a blond, blue eyed, chisel faced Daltrey affected on my female friends.

  83. 83
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:


    They aren’t bad, but I think the supporting cast- Bartel, Woronov, Vince Van Patten and Clint Freakin’ Howard- make that flick.

    Just thinking of a man-sized lab rat with its own pair of headphones kills me.

  84. 84
    the Conster says:


    Speaking of gay, and musicals, The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T – yes, Dr. Seuss – is the most amazingly subversive “childrens” movie ever. EVER. As some critic wrote, it’s Willie Wonka directed by Liberace. Not that there’s one thing wrong with that.

  85. 85
    patroclus says:

    Almost Famous (when they sing Tiny Dancer) and 1776 (You’re obnoxious and disliked, I hadn’t heard) are right up there. Oliver! too.

    But the question wasn’t just about musicals, it was about movies where music really played a strong role. 2001 and Escape from New York are examples of average movies with wonderful musical scores.

  86. 86
    piratedan says:

    many of my favorites already listed here but a few omissions worthy of comment (imho)

    American Graffitti
    The Buddy Holly Story
    Forrest Gump
    Buckaroo Banzaii
    Some Kind of Wonderful

    and every John Hughes (or John Hughes inspired) film

    shout outs to those that already mentioned That Thing You Do!, RHPS and Rock and Roll High School (plus Ray and Walk The Line

  87. 87
    Chat Noir says:

    In no particular order:

    Coal Miner’s Daughter
    Walk the Line
    Grease (and Grease 2 even though it was atrocious)
    The Glenn Miller Story

  88. 88
    wasabi gasp says:

    A couple of weeks ago The Idolmaker popped into my head and kinda won’t leave. I haven’t seen or thought about that movie since the 80s, but now I’ve got a craving to see it again.

  89. 89
    moderateindy says:

    Will stop and watch Oh Brother, That Thing You Do, and Mighty Wind any time I come across them while channel surfing.
    Best “bad” movie ever based around music is “Hello Down There”, with Tony Randall, a simply gorgeous 40 something Janet Leigh, and a cast littered with stars, including Richard Dreyfuss as a bass player in his acting debut.

  90. 90
    Violet says:

    Keeping with the music theme and current events, the top photo in this link of Lauren Bacall on a piano played by Harry Truman is fantastic.

  91. 91
    august says:

    Grace of my Heart w/ Illeana Douglas and Matt Dillon is my favorite w/ great soundtrack. Also Robert Altman’s Nashville

  92. 92
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Oh yeah, they’re all great too. The guy who plays Screamin’ Steve is a good Corman regular, I think he was in Death Race 2000

  93. 93
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    And then there’s Goodfellas. What would that film be without the music?

  94. 94
    gogol's wife says:

    Footlight Parade, Gold Diggers of 1933.

    Of course, Shirley: Stowaway, Poor Little Rich Girl and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Some of the greatest songs were written for Shirley, and the dancing of Jack Haley and Bill Robinson is superb.

    Oklahoma, Kismet, and Kiss Me Kate would have been watchable if they had used the original star Alfred Drake instead of the terminally bland Gordon MacRae and Howard Keel. Instead, they’re tripe, although Gene Nelson’s dancing in Oklahoma is great.

  95. 95
    pamelabrown53 says:


    Agree, Yatsuno, Angela Bassett did kill it as Tina Turner.

    As far as movies go that aren’t musicals, one of my favorite soundtracks is “Boys On The Side”.

  96. 96
    JPL says:

    Desparado as performed by Sarah Bolger in, In America was pretty special. That’s a movie that I could watch again and again.

  97. 97
    gogol's wife says:

    And of course the 1936 version of Show Boat, with Paul Robeson, Helen Morgan, Hattie McDaniel, Irene Dunne, and Allan Jones.

    Talk about unwatchable, that 1951 MGM monstrosity with Katherine Grayson and Howard Keel.

  98. 98
    Emily68 says:

    “Nashville” is my very favorite movie of all time. But “Pirates of Penzance” with Kevin Klein and Linda Ronstadt maybe comes in second.

    Plus “Hard Day’s Night.”

  99. 99
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Joel: Fantastic – production values be damned.

    @SatanicPanic: Hedwig is so much better live than as a movie. Hedwig’s interaction with the audience in a live show is priceless.

  100. 100
    rikyrah says:

    Hagel changes hair policy after controversy
    Aug. 12, 2014 – 06:00AM

    Dreadlocks, cornrows, twisted braids and other hairstyles popular among African American women will be more accepted across the military after a forcewide review of hairstyle policies prompted several changes, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.

    The three-month review came after a spate of complaints that service-level grooming policies were racially biased against black women who choose to wear their hair naturally curly rather than use heat or chemicals to straighten it.

    “Each service reviewed its hairstyle policies to ensure standards are fair and respectful while also meeting military requirements,” Hagel wrote in a letter to lawmakers on Capitol Hill notifying them of the changes Monday. “These reviews were informed by a panel of military personnel of mixed demographics reflective of our diverse force.”

    Three services — the Army, Navy and Air Force — have authorized additional hair styles, Hagel said.

    The Marine Corps agreed to hold a special meeting of its uniform board later this year and is conducting a forcewide survey about whether the “twist” or “dreadlocks” styles should be permitted while in uniform.

    The review concluded that the terms “matted and unkempt,” which the Army and Air Force used to describe some dreadlocks and braids, are “offensive” and were removed from service grooming policies, Hagel said.


  101. 101
    canuckistani says:

    People have already tagged Cabaret, Sid and Nancy, and Stop Making Sense for me, so I’ll go for Repo Man as the film with the best soundtrack (Circle Jerks, Black Flag et al), and the largely forgotten black musical Stormy Weather, with awesome performances by Fats Waller, Lena Horne Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers (the archetype for the Hines bros in Cotton Club).

  102. 102
    rikyrah says:

    LOVED the James Brown biopic.


    Loved it!!

  103. 103
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @rikyrah: Good. IIRC the general rule is neat and off the collar in the back. No reason to condemn any hairstyle that can fit those constraints.

  104. 104
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    Then there is Car Wash – soundtrack largely by Rose Royce.

  105. 105
    Violet says:

    As far as soundtracks go, I love the soundtrack to “Grosse Pointe Blank” and “Wonder Boys”, the latter especially for Bob Dyaln’s “Things Have Changed.”

  106. 106
    gogol's wife says:

    I love this number with Buddy Ebsen, James Stewart, and Eleanor Powell in Born To Dance:


  107. 107
    cmorenc says:


    I’m hoping to see the new James Brown biopic soon. Has anyone seen it?

    I’ve seen it – it’s excellent. The numerous red-hot musical numbers will have you unable to help yourself from trying to dance seated in your theatre chair. Chadwick Brosman nails James Brown, right down to mastering Brown’s elaborately athletic dance moves.

    I went into this movie not much a fan of the funk genre of R&B at all, nor particularly of James Brown, outside a handful of his most famous hits and his performance in “Blues Brothers”. So if this movie flipped my funky switch and got me dancing in my seat, chances are it will for you, too. Bosman’s portrayal of James’ hard upbringing and both the irresistibly magnetic parts of Brown as well as the abusive, disloyal, and unlikable parts of his personality are fascinating as they are convincing. He deserves an Oscar for best actor for this performance, and possibly Nelsan Ellis as best supporting actor for his role as Bobby Byrd, longtime band-member and sometimes shabbily treated best friend of James Brown. Brown’s story is told in decidedly nonlinear form, skipping back and forth among his later career, his teenage prison years, his early career on the way up, and his incredibly hard childhood. But in constructing the portrayal of Brown’s character and story this way, the movie actually manages to build a more coherently understandable portrait of who the man was than a chronological treatment would likely have done.


  108. 108
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Violet: I can’t believe I forgot GPB. Trainspotting is good as well. And Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.

  109. 109
    someofparts says:

    It’s not even in production yet, but Don Cheadle is going to do a movie about Miles Davis. He was talking about it on Tavis Smiley. He said that at the height of his career, Davis just stopped and took a break for five years. Cheadle finds that five-year hiatus fascinating, and that’s what he means to do his movie about. I’m really looking forward to seeing that one.

    As to real movies that have already been made, I liked Amadeus because it turned me into a Mozart fan, and I loved Last Waltz. Also Talking Heads – True Stories (a friend called it ‘Fellini Does Texas’).

  110. 110
    Citizen_X says:

    The Decline of Western Civilization. The first one.

  111. 111
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Is there also some requirement for a hairstyle that’s low maintenance? Male or female, if your hairstyle takes a ton of product to make it work or make it look neat then it seems like that might be a problem in the military.

  112. 112
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    What? No love for Singing in the Rain?

  113. 113
    Haydnseek says:

    Velvet Goldmine

  114. 114
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Oooh, I need to see it live, haven’t managed that yet

  115. 115
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Heh. Yeah. I figured you’d like GPB.

  116. 116
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Haydnseek: I was going to mention that one, but I’m not actually that big on the movie. Ballad of Maxwell Demon is a great song in its own right though

  117. 117
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Haydnseek: I was going to mention that one, but I’m not actually that big on the movie. Ballad of Maxwell Demon is a great song in its own right though

  118. 118
    Tommy says:

    @raven: See I am still alive you Internet stalker :). I was just on a multi-state crime spree and didn’t have time to post here. No really I was just spending way, way too much time here. Love the people. Enjoy the conversation and the topics covered. But too much time, so I quit “cold turkey” for a week plus. How has everybody been ….

    Oh and that whole shit storm of stuff in Ferguson, well about a 30 minute drive from me. I don’t know the town well, but driven through it many times. So I thought I might hop in here and see what folks were saying.

  119. 119
    Jebediah, RBG says:


    Walking down the road, with a rachet in your waist. .

    The band I roadied for did a (pretty good, i thought) cover of that, but I think most of their audience didn’t recognize it as a cover.

  120. 120
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Violet: I am not an expert by any means, but I tend to think that dreads or braids, once in place, are pretty low maintenance. Me, I kept my hair at about the length limit permitted by regulations. Mine probably required as much maintenance as braids would – and looked worse when it needed a cleaning.

  121. 121
    jeffreyw says:

    @Violet: Yes! I was flipping channels one night and ran across it just as it started. I thought it might be just a short and started watching and was still there at the end, wanting more. And talk about an earworm!

  122. 122
    maurinsky says:

    I love, love, love musicals. I also love movies with dance numbers in them.

    In keeping to movies that are not musicals but have musical numbers/performances in them, many of my favorites have been mentioned, including The Commitments, All That Jazz, The Blues Brothers, Once, High Fidelity, That Thing You Do. All the Monty Python movies have at least one musical number; Madeleine Kahn was killer in both Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Barbra mocked The Way We Were in What’s Up, Doc?, which is another favorite of mine.

    Someone mentioned Repo Man, which has a kickass sound-track. There was a movie called Suburbia in which Flea played a character named Razzle, there were some punk performances in that one. Depressing as hell, although at one point someone calls Razzle “Flea” and he responds “My name’s not Flea, man!”.

    @gogol’swife, Kiss Me, Kate did have a lovely example of early Bob Fosse choreography, though. I was probably 6 or 7 when I saw it and my mind was blown.

    A Mighty Wind is a favorite. I’m going to have the song “When You’re Next to Me” at my wedding next year.

  123. 123
    Violet says:

    @Tommy: Welcome back, Tommy. There are several threads on the mess in Ferguson. Plus probably more to come the way things are going.

  124. 124
    Bystander says:

    Show Boat, the James Whale version
    Naughty Marietta, Jeannette and Nelson’s first, and some say, best

  125. 125
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @SatanicPanic: I was very lucky and was present for the final show at the Jane Street Theater oh-so-many years ago JCM wasn’t playing Hedwig, but did come on stage and sing “You Light Up My Life” in German as a part of the curtain call.. I’ve also seen a couple of traveling productions. Do see it live; it is worth it.

  126. 126
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I was thinking of the hairstyle that Pauly D sported in MTV’s “The Jersey Shore”. Seemed to be above the collar but took a ton of time and product to make his hair stand up like that. I’m guessing something like that would not meet approval?

  127. 127
    shelley says:

    Great gams!

  128. 128
    Haydnseek says:

    Don’t forget Hail, Hail Rock and Roll. The non-chemistry between Chuck Berry and Keith Richards is wonderful.

  129. 129
    Steeplejack says:

    @Alex S.:


  130. 130
    Violet says:

    @jeffreyw: It’s a terrific film, isn’t it? So French. Such a different kind of animation. And of course the music is excellent. Love it.

  131. 131
    Steeplejack says:

    @Alex S.:


  132. 132
    Amir Khalid says:

    I liked Moulin Rouge and its wackiness, despite Nicole Kidman’s feeble singing voice. There are a lot of Disney cartoons with absolutely stunning songs in them — Pinocchio‘s When You Wish Upon a Star, Toy Story 2 and When She Loved Me, to name just two. Tommy, Coal Miner’s Daughter, La Bamba.

    One recent movie musical with outstanding acting-through-singing by the whole cast is Les Misérables. Everyone talked about Anne Hathaway’s astounding I Dreamed A Dream, but her performance as a whole must be the best ever of Fantine, whether spoken or sung. (Movie versions of Les Misérables go back more than 100 years.)

  133. 133
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Violet: Joe Strummer did the soundtrack. Those songs were a big part of my college years.

  134. 134
    Jebediah, RBG says:


    So I thought I might hop in here and see what folks were saying.

    Well, a bunch of them were saying they missed you…

  135. 135
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Yep, it’s fantastic. The film is great fun too, but the music really makes it.

  136. 136
    Tommy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I go the shaved head route. I often joked that when I started to go bald I’d never do a comb over. I’d just shave it off. I wasn’t nearly blad but hair thinning so I just started to shave it off, which freaked my mom out cause the first time she saw me with a shaved head was at her father’s funeral.

    Stupid me assumed low maintenance. Nope. I now joke to women I feel for them if they have to shave their legs regularly. I have to shave my head regularly, my hair grows fast and it is a TOTAL pain in the ass.

    Heck the expensive razor I use on my face, not so good for the head. In fact the “cheap” razors for women work better.

    But I now use the HeadBlade system (yes I just typed that).


  137. 137
    Dog On Porch says:

    Times have changed. I reached the movie going age when dumb beach pictures began being churned out on an assembly line. They were filled with terrible, horrible music, except for some occasional and invariably out of context appearances by great black musicians like Brown and the Motown Acts. One minute you’d be on a beach with Frankie and Annette, and the next at a party in someone’s living room being entertained by Smokey Robinson. Turned out to be intentional. It may be common knowledge, but the film’s were produced to allow Jim Crow southern distributors to remove those scenes altogether, lest southern whites kids get the wrong ideas about the master race. To think, from censorship to a feature film about the late, great, James Brown, and one soon to be streaming into millions of southern homes.

    Of course, news reports about “stand your ground” murders and executions by cop are streaming into their homes, too. Could it be times haven’t really changed all that much?

  138. 138
    GregL190 says:

    Am I gonna get crushed if I admit that I liked “Eddie and the Cruisers” when it came out? That type of music really was prevalent at a lot of Jersey dives from Margate to Cape May back then (mid 70s thru mid 80s). Seven Stars, baby. Seven beers for a buck! Good times…

  139. 139
    Tommy says:

    @Jebediah, RBG: Well thank you for saying that. That is so nice to hear I don’t know exactly what to say other then thanks. I missed being hear and all, OK most of you :).

  140. 140
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Tommy: You should have considered not going bald in the first place. I have chosen that route.

  141. 141
    Citizen_X says:

    South Park: B, L, & U and Team America: World Police deserve a mention.

  142. 142
    Nancy Brown Supler says:

    Love me or leave me..Doris Day as Ruth Etting…also Cagney , if you care.

  143. 143
    shilohsmama says:

    Fame (1980).

  144. 144
    Amir Khalid says:

    I remember being struck by how much the band that played The Cruisers looked and sounded like the E Street Band. They even had a sax player who was a big black guy.

  145. 145
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Amir Khalid: John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band.

  146. 146
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I’ve chosen that route, too. Makes it easy to make fun of all my hair-challenged peers.

  147. 147
    Tommy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Yeah. I keep hearing that if men on the mother’s side are not bald (carrying the gene), well their kids will not be. Every male on my side of the family, back at least 5 generations has been bald, the father of their wives, full head of hair till death. Now my brother still has the same thick, full head of hair I once had. But I did at 36 as well.

    The only thing I will note and I can’t explain it. Doesn’t happen as often now as it used to, cause it seems more and more people are shaving their heads, but how many random women, women I might have only been talking to for a few minutes, ask if they can feel my head.

    I don’t think it is sexual at all. Sometimes girlfriends of friends. But has happened dozens and dozens of time.

    The world is a unique if not flat out strange place ….

  148. 148
    Citizen_X says:

    Ever see High Society? A farce w/a bit of class/social commentary (as these things tend to have), it stars Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra competing, with some non-musical, but rich, schlub, for Grace Kelly (as “Tracy Lord!”). Since it’s kind of a musical remake of The Philadelphia Story set in Newport, wandering in from the Festival comes…Louis Armstrong and his orchestra!

    Light stuff, but it’s mainly there for the music and dancing.

  149. 149
    shelley says:

    Fame (1980).

    Oy, if you had HBO back then, that movie is practically embedded in your brain. It was nearly on 24 hr. rotation.

  150. 150
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):
    An actual bar band from Jersey, if memory serves.

  151. 151
    raven says:

    @Tommy: Just tryin to keep up!

  152. 152
    someofparts says:


    Triplets of Belleville. Love it. Have my own copy.
    Love to show it to friends to watch their jaws hit the floor.

    Also appreciate mentions of High Fidelity and All That Jazz. Me too. Also like them enough to have copies in my own library.

  153. 153
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Tommy: It’s like the Buddha’s belly, you rub it for good luck.

  154. 154
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    Benny Goodman story.

  155. 155
    JO'N says:

    Downtown 81 has a great soundtrack.

  156. 156
    Jamey says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Book = Great; Movie = Shite.

  157. 157
    drkrick says:


    I was thinking of the hairstyle that Pauly D sported in MTV’s “The Jersey Shore”. Seemed to be above the collar but took a ton of time and product to make his hair stand up like that. I’m guessing something like that would not meet approval?

    I’m guessing that that would be the least of Pauly D’s problems.

  158. 158
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Amir Khalid: IIRC they are out of Rhode Island, but they certainly played the bars of the eastern seaboard, including NJ.

  159. 159
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer: It’s like improvised Mozart.

  160. 160
    Tommy says:

    I assume everybody here has seen the pic at TPM of Lauren Bacall, enjoying a performance by then Vice President Harry Truman playing the piano. She is on the top of said piano looking down at him.


    I came here late. I usually try to read the previous comments or just scan them, but really looking for Raven. Raven tracked me down last night on Facebook and Flickr of all places to ask where I was.

    I wish I could get a high-res version of that pic and I’d blow it up to poster size, frame it and hang it in my living room. To get a framed pic in my living room is tough competition.

  161. 161
    SatanicPanic says:

    Also, the Marx Brothers. I must be goooooingggggg….

  162. 162
    dugsdale says:

    Great suggestions! I always read threads like this keeping the public-library search engine open on another tab, and my ‘request’ list is now bulging.

    I LOVED both Inside Llewyn Davies and Begin Again–the former for a really spot-on portrayal of the early folkie years that took me right back there, and the latter for … well, the ensemble acting is terrific, esp. Keener and Ruffalo, and its portrayal of people who love music so much they can’t do much else.

    But please, how could such a thread exist without mentioning STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN? (unless I missed it) It’s a doc, so lots of biographical information, some of it tragic, on the Detroit sidemen who made that music, and probably of interest mostly to geeks, but the final concert footage with all the geezers rocking their asses off along with the likes of Chakha Khan, Joan Osborne, Bootsy Collins, and Tom Scott (standing in for Junior Walker), was chair-dancing movie heaven.

    Also, a doc that was in limited festival release a few years ago, soon to get some kind of a DVD/theatrical release: THE WRECKING CREW, all about the core of studio musicians in LA who cut the instrumental backing for a massive number of LA hit artists. (there’s a Facebook page, if you’re interested.) Maybe never have so few played on the hits of so many–it’s a doc well worth watching for.

    Another doc, several years old, “Tom Dowd and the Language of Music,” about the guy who first captured Ray on eight-track (when virtually nobody else was using 8 track except Les Paul, who invented it)–nice scene in RAY capturing that moment. Dowd went on to become a major producer/engineer, and the doc includes appearances by some of “his” acts–the Allmans, Coltrane, Otis Redding, Clapton, Aretha, Cream, Booker T, etc. etc.

  163. 163
    JPL says:

    @Tommy: The LA Times has a slide show of her throughout the years. What a beautiful woman.

  164. 164
    drkrick says:

    @Jebediah, RBG:

    Walking down the road, with a rachet in your waist. .

    The band I roadied for did a (pretty good, i thought) cover of that, but I think most of their audience didn’t recognize it as a cover.

    John Martyn did a great cover of that one too.

  165. 165
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Alex S.: You got modded because you used a French word for “atmosphere” that includes the name of a psychoactive medication: Amb1en.

  166. 166
    beth says:

    @Tommy: did you scroll down and see the photo of their kid? A baby with Humphrey Bogart’s face – kid had Lauren Bacall for a mother and got none of her genes (at least as a baby)!

  167. 167
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    “The Perks of Being a Walflower” Fairly newly. Music is a big part of it. My suspension of disbelief failed a bit when the hipster kids couldn’t identify Bowie’s “Heroes,” but it’s not a bad flick.

  168. 168
    gogol's wife says:


    See my #97, fellow James Whale Show Boat fan.

    ETA: But you knew that.

  169. 169
    gogol's wife says:


    Hi, Tommy, good to see you back.

  170. 170
    beth says:

    I’d go with the whole collection of Fred Astaire movies – while the dancing is what you really watch them for, he introduced songs by some of the greatest of the greats – the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin to name a few.

  171. 171
    gogol's wife says:


    Oh yeah, Swing Time and You Were Never Lovelier, just for starters.

  172. 172
    pamelabrown53 says:



    For some there is “Fame” for others it is “Flashdash” and still others it is “Dirty Dancing”/

  173. 173
    Tommy says:

    @gogol’s wife: Thanks. As I said in my first comment “back” it is hard to comment here when you are on a multi-state crime spree :). Got that out of my system …

  174. 174
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @pamelabrown53: If you are going to head in that direction, you will eventually end up with “Footloose.”

  175. 175
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    Woohoo! Just picked up a pinball machine with the step-dad. It’s been sitting on an old friend’s porch for a few years, unplayed. Needs some electrical work, the playfield needs to be scrubbed a bit to brighten it up, but the backglass is in beautiful condition. I can’t wait to rechristen this machine!

  176. 176
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Do you have disciples to lead you in?

  177. 177
    Steeplejack says:

    Buena Vista Social Club.

  178. 178
    Amir Khalid says:

    It’s always great when one of the Juicitariat makes the news. Will we be seeing any reports of this multi-state crime spree? ;)

  179. 179
    david miller says:

    Lars von Trier’s 2000 film “Dancer in the Dark” (featuring Icelandic singer Bjork) is a beautifully written, beautifully shot film with the kind of positive, feel-good message everyone in the Balloon-Juice community can fully embrace. Oh, and with wonderful musical performances. Highly recommended. Bring your dancin’ shoes.

  180. 180
    gendjinn says:

    If you like the The Commitments you should check out the trilogy of plays by Roddy Doyle’s plays – The Snapper (very funny) & The Van (quite depressing).

    If you like those then you have to check out I Went Down (if you can find it) – Brendan Gleeson at his absolute finest.

  181. 181
    gendjinn says:

    @gendjinn: Clarification – Commitments is #1 and Snapper/Van are 2 & 3 respectively.

  182. 182
    gendjinn says:

    @david miller: But you can only really watch it once or you risk opening some veins.

    Fantastic movie but.

  183. 183
    Origuy says:

    Jeneane Garafolo and Denis Leary did a little movie called The Matchmaker a while back set in Ireland. It had a lot of good Irish music. During a wake at the pub, someone sings a great rendition of Carrickfergus.

  184. 184
    raven says:

    @Jebediah, RBG: I like Taj’s version.

  185. 185
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    “Three Colors: Blue”

  186. 186
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    One or two- my kid and my nephew.

    Here’s the machine (with the original, uncensored backglass) I really want my step-dad to get. Here’s the machine he’s looking for– more produced than any other in history, and still a bitch on which to get one’s hands.

  187. 187
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @raven: I like best the original version by The Slickers.

  188. 188
  189. 189
    some guy says:

    Put me down as a fan of The Glenn Miller Story.

  190. 190
    wasabi gasp says:

    For anyone interested in rock documentaries, you might wanna check out Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin’ Down a Dream. I’m not a big fan of Tom Petty, but that movie was top-notch greatness.

  191. 191
    Bill Murray says:

    To put some out there that have yet to be mentioned:

    Bandwagon (the John Schultz film) is a story of starting a band in North Carolina. Schultz was the original drummer for The Connells, who were reasonably successful in the late 80s/early 90s –long after Schultz had left. Kevin Corrigan is probably the best known actor in the film.

    Control — about Joy Division and Ian Curtis is another I quite enjoyed.

    For documentaries, We Jam Econo about The Minutemen is one I quite like.

  192. 192
    Jamey says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Rude Boy, a movie about disaffected youth and a Clash concert–with The Clash, naturally. Urgh! A Music War. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains.

    Yeah, I was a kid in the ’80s…

  193. 193
    realbtl says:

    If we’re talking soundtracks I love Neil Young’s work in Dead Man.

  194. 194
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Bill Murray: “Control” brings to mind “24 Hour Party People.”

  195. 195
  196. 196
    Tommy says:

    Community help time please moms/mothers. Asking for help/input.

    My mother’s birthday is coming up, 65 years young. She is impossible to buy for.*

    I am going to get her this**:


    Will include all of us, four, and my brother’s wife and their grand kid Katie.

    My mom often travels with a blanket even when she comes to see me. Seems fitting. But open to other mother birthday ideas.

  197. 197
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @pamelabrown53: I didn’t mean it as a good thing.

  198. 198
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid: Well, there was a report I saw this afternoon of some guy called Tommy from the midwest who was arrested in Bali, in connection with a woman from Chicago found dead in a suitcase at a fancy hotel there. But Indonesian jails probably don’t have good wi-fi, so it may not be this Tommy.

  199. 199
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Amir Khalid: Beauty and the Beast featured some serious A-List Broadway talent, such as Jerry Orbach and Angela Lansbury, among others.

  200. 200
    cckids says:


    Male or female, if your hairstyle takes a ton of product to make it work or make it look neat then it seems like that might be a problem in the military.

    From my (limited) understanding of it, the new guidelines seemed to be about more than that. If you haven’t seen The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams’ take on this, it is excellent.

  201. 201
    MaryRC says:

    @Bystander: That story has gone around but Howard Hawks himself has said that although Andy Williams (who was 16 at the time) did record “How Little We Know” for “Have and Have Not”, in the end they used Bacall’s version. Over time, the same story has been told about the song she sings in “The Big Sleep” but Hawks claimed that was her voice as well.

    If you listen to the lyrics, the “Big Sleep” song’s pretty creepy. It’s about a battered woman: “Her tears flowed like wine, she’s a real sad tomato, she’s a busted valentine”. But she does get her revenge in the end (although not in the part that Bacall sings).

  202. 202
    gogol's wife says:

    @some guy:

    That’s a good one. Corny, but good. James Stewart really nails it (except for his conducting).

  203. 203
    cckids says:

    @Tommy: Well, my mom’s from small-town Nebraska; she’s 5 years older than your mom, and she’d go nuts over that. She is also always cold & has a blanket to hand. Whats up with that, anyway? :)

  204. 204
    Tommy says:

    @Amir Khalid: Nope, I was “clean.”

    All joking aside I am not sure I could steal a kitten from a eight year old that like it …

    Off to do a few things.

  205. 205
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    Altman’s Kansas City, and it’s more music-centric offshoot Jazz ’34 are also very good.

  206. 206
    gogol's wife says:


    Yes, and thank God that was made. So many of them have died since then, it’s great to have them on film this way.

  207. 207
    Violet says:

    @Tommy: It sounds like it’s something she’d like and use. Whatever happened to the tablet idea?

  208. 208
    Jebediah, RBG says:


    I love how a great song can be covered by different people, in different styles, and still be great each time.

  209. 209
    chopper says:

    wot, no love for Beat Street?

    for shame.

  210. 210
    becca says:

    Not one mention of Funny Girl? I am shocked and dismayed.

    Also, Bye-Bye Birdie. Haven’t you heard about Hugo and Kim?


  211. 211
    MaryRC says:

    How to Succeed in Show Business Without Really Trying is a favorite of mine. It was nice to see it get some attention in the aftermath of Robert Morse’s farewell scene on “Mad Men” this year.

    Stormy Weather is another great musical with Lena Horne singing the title song, Fats Waller singing “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and Cab Calloway singingh “Jumpin’ Jive”.

    For songs in movies that aren’t musicals, a few of my favorites are “Everybody’s Talking At Me” from Midnight Cowboy, “Born to be Wild” in Easy Rider (and its parody in Albert Brooks’ Lost in America), “Put the Blame on Mame” from Gilda, “All Along the Watchtower” from Withnail & I, “Rags to Riches” in Goodfellas, “To Sir With Love” from the movie of the same name of course, “Ooh La La” from Rushmore. “As Time Goes By” … there are so many.

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    @raven: I’ll chime in to the endorsement of American Hot Wax. That movie was a major gateway to my fascination for 50’s music, in particular the doo-wop group (“The Chesterfields”) who were proxies for The Cadillacs (making Laraine Newman’s character more like Esther Navarro than Carole King, by the way, even though she does sing a King song in the film).

    I really love the way the film depicts Alan Freed’s role as hitmaker, and how acts will do anything to get an audience with him. The elevator ambush, the impromptu street corner audition, singing from the theater crowd. It was a fairly sanitized depiction of the man — I’m not sure the word “payola” is explicitly used, but you definitely don’t get much of an impression of how baldly Freed capitalized on the acts. But still a nice slice of a time and place where rock and roll was changing everything.

    Oh, and it has Jay Leno and Fran Drescher, before you heard of either of them.

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    1st gen girl says:

    What about “Porgy & Bess”? Incredible music! “American in Paris”?

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    Charles Pierce says:

    Curtis Mayfield
    My work here is done.

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    Delk says:

    Wow, over 200 comments and no XANADU?

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    Charles Pierce says:

    Also, Easy Rider

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    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Delk: The question was “What music-based movies do you like?”

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    dedc79 says:

    Dazed and Confused. It’s not directly about music but music plays such a prominent role in every scene.

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    john fremont says:

    @rikyrah: Me too.

    I also enjoyed Ray and Walk the Line.
    I also enjoyed Round Midnight and Bird back in the 1980’s. Forrest Whittaker did a pretty good job as Charlie Parker.

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    john fremont says:

    @chopper: Or Purple Rain!

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    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Doesn’t matter. None would be on my best list either. Yet I can enjoy the spirit of them…just a little.

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    john fremont says:

    @dugsdale: Also too, check out the 1970’s film Heartworn Highways about the early Americana scene in Texas. Townsend VanZandt and Guy Clark are featured in it if you like that style of music.

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    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @john fremont: Look at comment 31.

    @pamelabrown53: It is quite possible that you are a better person than me.

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    gogol's wife says:

    @Charles Pierce:

    Yes, that is a terrible movie but the music is good.

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    gogol's wife says:


    Bye Bye Birdie is fantastic.

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    maurinsky says:

    Drop Dead Gorgeous has a perfectly horrible rendition of “You’re Just Too Good To Be True”.

    Psycho Beach Party features about 3 seconds of Lauren Ambrose singing opera – fantastic! It also has a dance number with Amy Adams in it.

    Which reminds me, I love Enchanted.

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    Kerry Reid says:

    I haven’t read through all the comments, so apologies in advance if someone already got this:

    It’s problematic in some ways from our contemporary perspective, but 1943’s “Stormy Weather” was pretty groundbreaking at the time (and not just for Lena Horne’s performance of the signature song). African-American performers rarely appeared in lead roles in those years. And it also includes what Fred Astaire called “The greatest dance sequence ever filmed.”

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    rikyrah says:


    Loved High Society.

    The musical version of one of my all-time favorite movies: The Philadelphia Story!

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    john fremont says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Oops! Comment FAIL

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    Kerry Reid says:

    @shelley: I saw Mare play as the opening act for the Oyster Band many years ago in Chicago. I got to the club late so didn’t know who it was until the end. She was fantastic. And I really like “Georgia.” I think it’s a terrific examination of the tension between having great talent but subdued passion and having a burning desire to create but no real gift or discipline for it.

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    rikyrah says:



    Good to see you!!!

    Missed you.

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    dugsdale says:

    One more doc: “The Greatest Ears In Town,” the story of legendary producer Arif Mardin, who produced tons of hits for Bette Midler, BeeGees, Chaka Khan, Norah Jones, Aretha, Phil Collins, the Rascals, Dusty Springfield, Willie Nelson–Mardin’s ears and taste went into making something like 50 platinum or gold records. I’m a fan of anyone who can make an already gifted artist sound even better, so I know Mardin and have heard of this doc, but haven’t yet seen it (fortunately library has it). The doc is released in high-end video and sound, and Amazon is full of raves for it. Can’t wait.

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    Jay Noble says:

    Here’s a few with favorite scenes:
    All That Jazz – “On Broadway” opening sequence
    Jailhouse Rock – “Jailhouse Rock” w/Elvis
    Fame – Dance outside the School
    Fame – 1st Lunch Scene
    Footloose – Barn Scene w/Kevin Bacon
    Flashdance – Audition
    Eddie and the Cruisers – On the Dark Side (dance)
    American Graffiti – Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
    White Nights – Mickael Baryshnikov/Gregory Hines “duet”
    The Jazz Singer – 1st Night Club Scene w/Neil Diamond
    Shag –
    Pretty In Pink – The Record Store
    Saturday Night Fever –
    Up In Smoke – “My Sister’s Pantyhose” w/Cheech & Chong
    White Christmas –
    Holiday Inn
    Three Amigos – The Campfire Scene w/Steve Martin, Chevy Chase & Martin Short
    Mr. Holland’s Opus – “Mr Holland’s Opus”
    That Thing You Do –
    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
    Play Misty For Me – “First Time Ever I Saw You Face”
    Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – the Barn Raising
    Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – the Winter Scene w/Tools
    Streets of Fire
    The Five Heart Beats – w/Robert Townsend
    An American Tail – “Somewhere Out There”
    The Little Mermaid – “Under The Sea”
    The Music Man
    The King and I – The big dance scene
    Stayin Alive
    South Pacific – “Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair”
    South Pacific – “Enjoy Being a Girl”
    South Pacific – Nothing Like a Dame”
    Top Gun – “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” w/Tom Cruise
    Austin Powers
    Heavy Metal – “Heavy Metal” the Corvette
    Black Knight – “Dance to the Music” w/Martin Lawrence
    Hellboy II – “Can’t Smile without You”
    Ella Enchanted – “Somebody To Love”

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    Death Panel Truck says:

    The Kids are Alright. Best rock movie ever.

    Plus, Chico Marx playing the piano in any Marx Brothers movie.

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    moderateindy says:

    @john fremont:

    Townsend VanZandt and Guy Clark are featured in it if you like that style of music.

    and if you don’t like Clark and TVZ you lack a soul.
    I saw a doc about Stax records that was awesome.
    The musical numbers by Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson in the western Rio Bravo always crack me up, (My Rifle, My Pony and Me… classic), particularly the sound that Ricky is able to get out of his guitar.
    Second best worst movie musical “Paint your Wagon” with Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin.

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    Kerry Reid says:

    Martha Tilton actually sings this song, but I adore Ms. Barbara Stanwyck and this number in “Ball of Fire” with Gene Krupa is one reason why.

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    MaryRC says:

    @Botsplainer: Did you mean “White Christmas” rather than “Holiday Inn”? I can never understand why White Christmas became a holiday classic — it is the most mediocre, banal celebration of white-bread I-love-Ike 50’s values ever. Just the way the male leads wear their pants pulled up to their chests tells you everything you need to know about how boring this is, and yet it’s a beloved classic. Tom and Lorenzo the fashion bloggers love to rip it to shreds although they do give props to Rosemary’s black dress in her nightclub scene, the only thing in this treacle-fest that shows the slightest hint of sophistication.

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