Music in Movies: Best Soundtracks
Images synchronized to music create a perfectly balanced symphony of visual and aural delight. Musicals are great literal interpretations of this concept, but movies about music are a whole different story. It’s truly an art to engineer a brilliant film with a killer soundtrack. For Movie Madness Month, we count down the top five movies about music. And good news, you can find these classics and their soundtracks in your neighborhood Bookmans’ Music and Movie Department.
5. High Fidelity
Based on the novel by Nick Hornby, High Fidelity follows the brooding protagonist, Rob Gordon, through failed past relationships, compulsive “top five” lists and an awesome record collection. Rob’s taste in music proves to be more palatable than his interactions with others. Hornby was reportedly happy with the portrayal of Rob, saying, “At times, it appears to be a film in which John Cusack reads my book.”
4. School of Rock
Directed by Richard Linklater and starring Jack Black, School of Rock is a recipe for comedic genius. Dewey Finn’s love for classic rock lends itself perfectly to this power-packed soundtrack. His dishonestly acquired fifth-grade prep school students are excellent rock and rollers themselves. Their band adds a few original tunes that rival even the great Glimmer Twins.
3. The Commitments
Based on the novel by Roddy Doyle, The Commitments tells a story of working class Dubliners who form a soul band. Directed by Alan Parker, this film has some of the greatest covers of classic American soul standards. Featuring an egotistical manager, an ill-tempered drummer, some sassy back up singers, a mysterious music guru and a slob with a voice like Wilson Pickett, The Commitments’ fleeting existence is inevitable. But they sure did record some great tunes while it lasted.
2. The Last Waltz
Everyone who’s anyone played with The Band during the 1960s and 70s. The Last Waltz, their farewell concert, included the likes of Paul Butterfield, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Neil Diamond, Bobby Charles, The Staple Singers and Eric Clapton. Director Martin Scorsese was on hand to film the classic documentary of the same name.
1. The Blues Brothers
Comedians John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd created Jake and Elwood Blues as part of a musical sketch on Saturday Night Live. The pair were surprisingly talented on lead vocals (Belushi) and harmonica/backing vocals (Aykroyd). Incorporating musical artists such as Donald “Duck” Dunn and “Blue Lou” Marini, the band took on a life beyond television. The Blues Brothers released the album Briefcase Full of Blues, and the Hollywood film The Blues Brothers. Their renditions of soul-standards live on, but their Stand By Your Man cover in a country bar can’t be beat.
It’s impossible to incorporate all the marvelous films involving great music into one list. If you have your own favorites, tell us in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you!
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