Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

Some thoughts on the worst rock movies ever

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To preview my appearance with "Sound Opinions" co-host Greg Kot at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee on Friday, where we'll talk about and show segments of our choices for the best rock movies ever, the ever-snarky and controversy-courting Onion asked me to talk about the worst rock movies ever, and I was happy to oblige. (The article is online here.)

It's a big week for "Sound Opinions" movie events -- Greg and I also are hosting a showing of "Saturday Night Fever" at the Music Box Theatre Tuesday night. Details here, along with more info on the Milwaukee event.

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4 Comments

The Song remains the same has to be the worst rock and roll movie ever.

Thanks for taking Heavy Metal Parking Lot to task. I'll admit, I wasn't above snickering at some of the scenes, but the movie really is elitist classism at its worst...especially since the metal community has some of the nicest and most down-to-earth fans you'll ever meet.

I find it a bit hypocritical for Jim to call out Heavy Metal Parking Lot for looking down on metalheads while at the same time dismissing the audience in Woodstock as "dirty, smelly hippies." To say all hippies are dirty is as broad a generalization as calling metal fans, "salt of the earth, blue-collar people."

I will also go so far to defend Woodstock as a brilliant and influential piece of filmmaking. The "myth" of Woodstock as a musical event that would never would topped certainly exists, but I think that was born out of Baby Boom nostalgia for their youth. I don't believe the documentary is responsible for promoting it.

Having seen Woodstock several times I can agree that some of music numbers are awful, and the film is at least a half hour too long. But I love the camerawork and especially the split-screen, which allows for multiple perspectives of the same event. Very ahead of its time, I feel.

As for La Bamba, which I think is a fine, if slight, movie, the real problem is something that unfortunately happens in a lot of musical bio-pics, in which the music takes a backseat to drama and sentimentality. The focus of La Bamba is the relationship between Ritchie and his brother. It makes for an OK film, but it avoids telling us anything about Havens' music. It doesn't even make a case that his personal and musical lives had any influence on the other. He comes across as a dork with a guitar with sibling-itis.

Hvae of your list Jim I don't agree with. I think Woodstock is a masterpiece of filmmaking. The Last Waltz is not the best, but it's a great document of tired rock stars from the 60s that have nothing to say anymore, that's how I look at it. But you want to talk about worst rock films? Where are these films:

Medicine Ball Caravan- Fred Weintraub at Warners was happy with the success of Woodstock that he staged this "traveling concert" so he can have another concert film.

The Song Remains the Same- Even Led Zepp hates this film. But I guess you like it.

Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band- On paper an intreasting idea until you get The Bee Gees and Frampton butchering the songs with an all to innocent story. Come on. George Burns singing Fixing a Hole.

Abba: The Movie- They deserved better

Let's Spend the Night Together- Hal Ashby was a great director, but if you ever want to know how to make a boring film about The Stones, this is it.

You didn't include any Elvis films. Pre army Elvis films were great, he was up there with Dean as a rebel in Jailhouse Rock and King Creole. But after the Army, come on, Woodstock is worse than Girl Happy, Harum Scarum, Fun in Acopulco, Girls Girls Girls, It Happned at the Worlds Fair

To that end you can add Herman's Hermits in Mrs Brown you've Got a Lovely Daughter, The Dave Clark Five in Having a Wild Weekend (aka Catch us If You Can), presented as a fun A Hard Days Night film instead it is a boring film trying to show Dave Clark as a dramatic actor. And The Spice Girls in Spice World. There are worse rock films out there than the ones you picked.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on February 15, 2010 9:40 AM.

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