Find my kids some weird and wonderful rock and roll movies
October 3, 2010 1:09 AM   Subscribe

Suggest some quirky rock and roll/pop music themed movies for teens.

My 15 and 13 year old kids are on a wacky rock and roll movie kick. They were raised on a steady diet of Hard Day's Night, Help!, Yellow Submarine, Devo: The Men Who Make The Music, and Head. A few months back they started asking for more movies of the same kind. Quirky, weird, off the wall, OK. The more weird, the better. So I started going through the list of movies I'd seen and liked. In addition to the ones already mentioned, they've also now seen the following:

Human Highway
The Wall
The Tune
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
The Rutles
True Stories
The Great Rock and Roll Swindle
Phantom of the Paradise
This Is Spinal Tap

That's pretty much all I came up with. We're not really looking for musicals, though they can be. The examples listed give the flavor of stuff we seek. For example, Jesus Christ Superstar doesn't seem to count. Nor do Frankie and Annette movies, though there's gotta be something worthwhile in that style, right? I'm thinking 200 Motels might be an option, but I kinda doubt they'll make it more than half way... I mean, it should also at least be entertaining. Any good ones I'm missing?
posted by 2N2222 to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Ken Russell - who made Tommy - also made a bunch of totally off-the-wall psychedelic composer biographies in the 70s that are very much in this vein. I can personally vouch for Lisztomania being amazing (caveat: I can't 100% vouch for its appropriateness for teens, as there was probably some nudity and possibly hilarious giant penises, but if you are okay with them seeing Hedwig, you may be cool with this?).

Also, unreservedly, Cry-Baby and Hairspray (the original, not the recent remake which is terrible), John Waters' music-based teen movies.
posted by SoftRain at 1:25 AM on October 3, 2010

Stop Making Sense
posted by SansPoint at 1:28 AM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: Head, written by Jack Nicholson and Bob Rafelson in 1968 for the Monkees is an interesting and fun movie that teens might like as a snapshot of a particular point of time in the 60s.
posted by essexjan at 1:30 AM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Hard Core Logo comes immediately to mind.

If heavy metal documentary fits your requirements, maybe try Anvil! The Story of Anvil, Heavy Metal Parking Lot or Flight 666.
posted by bethnull at 1:50 AM on October 3, 2010

rock and roll high school
rocky horror, of course (i really can't imagine watching hedwig before rhps)
posted by nadawi at 1:55 AM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Peter Frampton as Billy Shears, Billy Preston as Sgt. Pepper, Steve Martin as Maxwell. Also: Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Earth Wind & Fire, the Bee Gees. You'll either love it or hate it (I saw it in the theater when I was 10 and loved it) but it definitely fits in the "weird, quirky" mold.
posted by amyms at 2:00 AM on October 3, 2010


For Frankie and Annette, watch BACK TO THE BEACH, which is amazing.

The Bee Gees SGT. PEPPERS movie is amazing and bizarre, but a lot of people have a hard time dealing with Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees performing their precious Beatles tunes.


THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS should be on your list.

ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL is basically the real life Spinal Tap.
posted by paperzach at 2:07 AM on October 3, 2010

Hard Core Logo is inappropriate for a 13-year-old, IMO. And I like the movie a lot. The end is just, well... I'd have been pretty shaken up if I'd seen that at 13.

But they absolutely must watch Rock'n'Roll High School!

(And though it'll probably bore them, subject them to The Last Waltz. Or throw them for a loop with Jazz on a Summer's Day, filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival and featuring a radiantly gorgeous, cool, collected, and sexy Anita O'Day just absolutely nailing a scat-heavy vamp through "Sweet Georgia Brown" while on enough heroin to sedate a rampaging bull elephant.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:42 AM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: Nothing says "weird and wonderful rock and roll movie" like "KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park."
posted by rhizome at 3:19 AM on October 3, 2010

The Commitments, without a doubt.
posted by coppermoss at 3:28 AM on October 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

Almost Famous, perhaps? It's about a teen hoping to become a music writer, accompanying a struggling band on a tour. 's quite good, for a slightly Disney-esque family film.
posted by Dysk at 3:30 AM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Xanadu. I loved it as a kid. Showed it to my wife a year back, she loved it too. I don't know anyone who's watched it without either hating or loving it ;-) (But, yes, it can be hate..)
posted by wackybrit at 5:31 AM on October 3, 2010

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players - Off & On Broadway (it's a documentary, but very quirky and kid-relevant)
FLCL (if you/they are open to anime)
Wild Zero (very high with the rock and the wackiness, though you might want to screen the Japanese violence first)
posted by marco_nj at 6:59 AM on October 3, 2010


I thought it was weird and fun.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:53 AM on October 3, 2010

Urgh! A Music War
posted by timsteil at 7:54 AM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Almost Famous and Empire Records were mentioned above - I don't think either of them fit the "quirky" you are going for. Then again, they are very teen-appropriate especially for kids who are into music!
posted by radioamy at 8:15 AM on October 3, 2010

Purple Rain, but probably not Graffiti Bridge.
posted by NoraCharles at 8:20 AM on October 3, 2010

In the same vein as Spinal Tap, there is Fubar.
posted by thatdawnperson at 9:02 AM on October 3, 2010

People tend to either love it or hate it, but I thought I'd throw Across the Universe in the mix.
posted by sigmagalator at 9:06 AM on October 3, 2010

Scott Pilgrim
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:41 AM on October 3, 2010

Wayne's World?
posted by Wild_Eep at 11:44 AM on October 3, 2010

Wild Zero
posted by cazoo at 11:50 AM on October 3, 2010

posted by sophist at 12:33 PM on October 3, 2010

I really like a documentary called Off the Charts, which is about those "we'll set your poems to music!" ads in the back of magazines -- it covers both the people who send in their poems and the people who make songs out of them. (You end up with stuff like this.)
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 4:01 PM on October 3, 2010

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