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Best Movies Related to Music

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Forgive me if this post has already been done. My favorite movies focused on music are the following:

 

 

any others I should check out?  Jesus Chris Superstar should maybe be higher up the list.

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"A Star Is Born"

"The Rose"

"W.W And The Dixie Dance Kings"

 

Loved those movies!!

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I'm not sure about "best", but some I've enjoyed (in addition to the above) are:

 

Inside Llewyn Davis - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFphYRyH7wc (highly recommended)

Walk The Line

Crazy Heart

The Commitments

Honky Tonk Man

That'll Be The Day

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Funny you guys brought this up. In my FB feed this morning was the quote, "That's !@#$in' blasphemy! Elvis wasn't a Cajun!" 

 

While we're at it, my mother and sister are really into musicals and I grew up with that stuff around the house. I personally could never get into them, with exceptions. For example, I still love Little Shop of Horrors. I have the pianists/conductor's score for that one and was going over the opening harmonies. It's so well done. Campy as all heck, but I like it when they don't take themselves too seriously. (Same reason why I'm not interested in super hero movies, but enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy.) 

 

And I was never a huge fan of the Rocky Horror Picture show, but darnit when we do impromptu meetings at the hospital, huddled up in a circle, I keep hearing the dang Time Warp... 😂

 

Otherwise....

Amadeus I've watched many times. 

Walk the Line really surprised me. Great movie. 

 

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Yup, Inside Llewyn Davies is a great movie. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2042568/?ref_=nv_sr_1

I also liked Jackie & Ryan, mostly for the music. Story is so so but overall it's a very folky vibe and I liked that. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3270108/

Of course Muscle Shoals though it's a documentary. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2492916/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Whiplash is amazing. A must see. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2582802/?ref_=nv_sr_1

An old classic, but I have always loved it. Hair. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079261/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

I also highly recommend the mini series documentary Soundbreaking. It's just excellent! https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5359830/

I recall watching the movie Once a long time ago and loving it. Might give it a shot. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0907657/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

 

Peter

 

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Oh, if we're talking soundtracks, wow there are a lot. One I keep coming back to, however, is the Solaris remake. I've only seen the movie once, but I've listened to the music countless times over the years. 

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Great! I’m already behind on a bunch of music related movies I’ve been wanting to see. Now that list is much longer. 

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surprised nobody has mentioned it - Blues brothers

 

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I enjoyed "Almost Famous" ...felt they did a good job with it! 👍

Yeah, it was kinda cheesy in parts, but I enjoyed it...in part because it was based in an era I could easily relate to.

 

Tom

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There are quite a few films listed above that I haven't seen yet.  Thanks everyone! 

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Don't know about being the "best" but films I have enjoyed that were music related include:  Grease, Moulin Rouge, Saturday Night Fever, Footloose, Eddie & The Cruisers, Purple Rain, 8 Mile.  I'm sure I'll think of more.

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Always loved the commitments. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101605/

2nd the Blues Brothers. 

Eddie and the Cruisers - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085475/

The Doors was surprisingly good back in the day - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101761/

Also One of my favorites, High Fidelity - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0146882/

 

I feel like Musicals are a whole other thing. Always loved Les Misérables and recently saw Phantom for the upteenth time. Love singing along with those. 

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Good lord - I almost for got! - if you havent seen it, "Sing Street" is really good . Really unexpected but I found it a real gem (perhaps its best suited for someone who grew up in UK or ireland during the 1980s)

 

 

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Woodstock.

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A Mighty Wind, made by the Spinal Tap gang. Fantastic.

Dan

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This is Spinal Tap

Quadrophenia

Tommy

Gimme Shelter

The Wall

 

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Slightly off topic - a documentary rather than a movie - but caught this on BBC 2 recently, Classic Albums series, about the making of Paul Simon's Graceland, interesting to hear him talking openly about his creative process:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007b6hv 

 

Unfortunately some of the other albums in the series - Don Maclean American Pie, Carly Simon No Secrets - no longer available on line. 

 

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So many good ones, of things not mentioned yet, a few of my favorites [admittedly, some a little cheesy :) ] :

 

The Red Violin

Music and Lyrics

That Thing You Do

Hi Fidelity

Drumline

The Fabulous Baker Boys

A Hard Day's Night

A pair of Richard Dreyfuss' that could almost be paired: "The Competition" and "Mr. Holland's Opus" 

And the relatively unknown: "In the Edges: The 'Grizzly Man' Session (2005)" Documentary about the making of the Soundtrack for the Movie - with Richard Thompson

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Honeydripper John Sayles (2007)

 

The piano-playing owner of the back-country live-music Honeydripper Lounge is losing business to the newer sounds (and playing cheaper) to be heard on the Victrola of a competing neighbourhood Jook-Joint.  Things turn bad to worse until he hires a young electric guitarist.  And so the day is saved. Hallelujah.  Keb Mo’ is in there, too.

 

Sayles is the granddaddy wizard of indie US cinema.  I admire each film of his that I have seen – from satire to drama – because of his big heart.  This one tells a tale about the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggnW-qnoXFs

 

 

 

Jazz On a Summer’s DayBert Stern (1959)

 

A record of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. Features music from jazz stars of the day including Louis Armstrong the patron saint of reefer, Gerry Mulligan the man whose sounds first lured me along the garden path, the unlikely magic of Jimmy Giuffre’s guitar-trombone-clarinet trio, Thelonious Monk scattering whole-tone runs aacross angular voicings, the startling performance of Anita O’Day flying high…  lots and lots more….  and, in the middle of it somewhere, there’s the sudden rawness of Chuck Berry taking everyone by surprise – Honeydripper-style for real.

 

Bert Stern was a fashion photographer for top frock-comics like Vogue. I think he did a great job making this document.  Great shots, great flow and editing. The absence of narration is perfect.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HieGTniox8s

 

 

 

Latcho DromTony Gatlif (1993)

 

Latcho Drom is Rom for ‘safe journey’.  And this is a documentary portrait of the journey of Romani culture and peoples flowing from north-west India, crossing Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and ending in Spain.   Frenchman Gatif, like Bert Stern, eschews narration to allow the stunning music, people and landscapes, to speak for themselves. Wonderful.  Beautiful. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsK8zKbTjZU

 

 

 

Calle 54Fernando Trueba (2000)

 

I love Latin grooves.  The Buena Vista Social Club movie had previously messed with my pleasure in this regard due to Wim Wenders’ disrespectful habit of cutting to some other action as soon as any groove looks like taking up residence.  Constant groovus interruptus.  This film contains antidotes for such nonsense, however, by giving us one dozen complete performances uninterrupted from start to finish, most of it filmed at the Sony Studios on 54th Street in Manhattan – hence the name “Calle 54”.

 

Featured artists include Chucho Valdés, Bebo Valdés, Cachao, Gato Barbieri, Tito Puente, and the Gonzalez brothers – some of whom, to be frank, my tastes would have preferred left on the cutting room floor. My four chosen favourites are easily more than worth the price of admission though:  Paquito D’Rivera, one of my top fave clarinet players, marvellous musicality, who died a few months later;  Chano Dominguez, flamenco piano from Spain;  and the two piano trios led by my long-term heart-throb Eliane Elias, and by my dear old friend Michel Camilo.

 

Those piano trios are particularly exuberant and hot, with a high level of creative communication, stunningly intimate, beautifully filmed.  Eliane Elias plays Baden Powell's "Samba Triste” alongside her old man Marc Johnson (bass-player in the last Bill Evans trio) and drummer Satoshi Takeishi. 

 

I first met Michel Camilo when he played Quasimodo's in Berlin and I attempted a citizen's arrest because rhythmically what his band played was not only decidedly illegal but also pretty much physically impossible. His trio is filmed here performing equally death-defying feats of daring with similar casual aplomb - this time with knock-out seven-string bass maestro Anthony Jackson and great wild Cuban drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez.

 

Unbelievable.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qw25NcW5ps

 

 

 

Koyaanisqatsi Godfrey Reggio (1982)

 

Godfrey Reggio is an experimental film-maker from New Orleans with an apocalyptic vision of the modern world. This is the first of a trilogy contemplating the collisions of technology and population with the environment.

 

Not a lot of laughs here, then. But what we get instead is the product of seven years attention to the juxtaposition and innate poetry of organised visual imagery.  Really quite beautiful.  Emotionally moving.

 

Set fire to a reefer, settle down comfortable with your headphones and see what you think of how the music sits with the visuals.  Personally, I have never had much truck with Philip Glass before.  My preferred style of minimalism is more Steve Reich, Gavin Bryars, and John Adams.  Reggio’s work, however, for me, makes Glass’s music tolerable for the first time.  A powerful piece.  No narration.

 

http://www3.fmovies.sc/watch/koyaanisqatsi-1982-online.html

 

 

Orfeu NegroMarcel Camus (1959)

 

A romantic tragedy based on a stage adaptation by Vinicius de Moraes of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, taking place in a Carioca favela during Carnaval. The soundtrack is from Antônio Carlos Jobim (his "A Felicidade" opens the film) and Luiz Bonfá ("Manhã de Carnaval" and "Samba de Orfeu"), and presented the rhythmic subtleties of Bossa Nova to the rest of the world.  Classic.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWIwTOtvbSk

 

 

 

Meu tempo é Hoje –  Izabel Jaguaribe (2003)

 

More from Brasil – this one a documentary about sambista Paulinho da Viola, one of the most elegant and sophisticated musicians of the genre. We see him involved with pastimes like auto-restoration, horology, carpentry and billiards, and an array of family and friends.  And we also get the maestro making music with a range of samba luminaries like Zeca Pagodinho, Marisa Monte, Elton Medeiros, Nelson Sargento….  Very cool and lovely.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwWCjaWRZfE

 

 

 

Lush LifeMichael Elias (1993)

 

The title comes from a beautiful tune written by Billy Strayhorn – one of my favourite songwriters The film stars Jeff Goldblum and Forest Whitaker as everyday jobbing muso free-lancers working their old-skool NY gamut of theatre pit-orchestras, bar-mitzvahs, symphony concerts, sessions and jazz-gigs. Trying to live a life.

 

Movies made in and around the subject of music tend to play more on the mythic than the real. Of course they do.  It’s entertainment about entertainment. There are dramatic imperatives etcetera. But there remains much for me in most modern fictional representations – from the Commitments to Whiplash – which is funny fake and phony.

 

The picture painted in Lush Life – where the drama is real and quite ordinary – is one which convinces through warm and on-the-money authenticity.  Sometimes I imagine Cassavetes could have made it.  Small, real, honest, unpretentious. I like that

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSYfFE_BOMo

 

 

 

Crazy Rick Bieber (2007)

 

Biopic “inspired by” ‘50s Nashville studio guitar player Hank Garland. No idea how well it adheres to my pretensions regarding authenticity. It’s as evenly broad-brush as “Ray” or “Bird”, I guess.  But my intention in slipping this offering onto the list is to spread the word a little more on an overlooked and almost forgotten guitarist. If you’ve heard hits from Elvis Presley, Conway Twitty, Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison or The Everly Brothers, then you’ve heard Hank Garland. He was the “first-call” studio dude who played jazz after-hours at the Carousel on Printer’s Alley (along with Chet Atkins, Boots Randolph and Floyd Cramer).  Wes Montgomery was a fan.  And then there was a car crash…

 

The cheesy tag-line says “Everyone wanted him. No-one could control him”.

 

http://movies2days.org/watch/crazy.html

 

 

Obstinato  & Throw Down Your Heart Sascha Paladino (2004 & 2008)

 

Obstinato: Making Music for Two  (2004)

 

Obstinato follows a 3-week tour by Béla Fleck and Edgar Meyer intended to culminate in the studio sessions for “Music For Two” where they plan to record some severely challenging pieces which the tour should theoretically be helping them bash into shape. The determination and intensity of their constant practice and critique is unswayable and exemplary.  I have seen bandmates resort to violence over far less pressure than this. But it does get on the edge. Maybe the longevity of their banjo and double-bass collaboration (over twenty years of it) allows their relationship to be so solid and elastic at the same time. Certainly the degree of intimacy and access to their process which is achieved by the camera must be at least somewhat due to the film-maker being also brother to the subject.

 

I can’t find a web-link to it anywhere – bugger!  Worth watching-out for.

 

Throw Down Your Heart - (2008)

 

One year after “Music for Two”, Béla and Sascha spent a month touring Uganda, Tanzania, Gambia and Mali to pursue the origins of banjo.  The music is delightful.  Charming.  Just like Béla.  Village music full of light and joy.

 

Rich musical journal from a cool unpretentious and extraordinary guy.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJt6jn0xT8A

 

 

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@Lazz

 

Just reading your post for the first time.  Look how many are available (for free I'm assuming) on youtube!  yeah!  Of those you've listed I've only seen Throw Down Your Heart (I play a little banjo so this was a must see) and Orfeu Negro (I agree that it's a classic).  Can't wait to check these out.  I love tasting music from around the world and I love jazz.  Really interested in seeing that Romani flick and the Newport Festival flick.  Actually all of them, but I'll probably start with those.

 

Thanks so much!,

 

J. B.

 

PS, I'm going to add this one to the list, a film from Mike Seeger, called Talking Feet:

 

Highlight of film showing D. Ray White here:  

 

Full flick here:  http://www.folkstreams.net/film-detail.php?id=121

 

 

 

 

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I knew nothing about down-home heel-kicking culture until grabbing the "Rise and Fall of Paramount" collection a couple of years back.  

 

Paramount - for those unaware of the history - was an accidental record-label in the '20s through to the barely beginning dirty '30s.  It was actually a furniture company making cabinets for the old wind-up record players of the day.  And so someone decided they should maybe be also selling records to those who purchased their players.  Nobody was by any stretch aware that their cheapo-cheapo product would become milestones of cultural history with the long shadows of seminal influence. ..... and their happy-go-lucky "Buck Dance" still gets regular plays in my kitchen.

 

The great Seeger film brings it all to life..

Thanks, Kook.

 

 

Here's a couple of performances which I hope may excite your global tendencies and jazz-jones:

 

These Euro-geezers have a few things to say in a very beautiful fashion
Jan Lundgren, Richard Galliano, and Paolo Fresu: performing "Mare Nostrum" at the festival in Grenoble, 2009.

 

And, as for Africa.....

Full Concert - Richard Bona

 

Actually, as for Africa..., while we're at it, I am very fond of a Naija guy known as "Lagbaja".  The name means kind of "anonymous" or "anybody", I think, and he hides his face behind a mask in order to represent himself as an "everyman" figure.  In some ways he has inherited the political mantle of Fela Kuti - and even has his own club, like Fela did - but he is a much better horn-player and general musician.  The contemporary Naija scene may have left him behind, however - because not many afro-musos of my acquaintance seem much aware of him.  The younger dudes, for instance, angel-voiced and studio-slick, seek international fame and recognition and hence package their sounds to meet a particular commercial market aesthetic - you hear them, and they might be from Hip-Hop Brooklyn, there is just no Africa in there.   But whatever Lagbaja takes from the west, generally, in instrumentation, style vocabulary, and production values, etc., his musical foundation remains the traditional 5-piece Yoruba drum section.  I also dig him because he's an old fucker (nearly 60) whose voice croaks its way through tunes much like mine, but whose ideas are woven into a joyously rich tapestry of groovage.

 

Hope you dig it.

 

 

 

 

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