Rock and Roll Movies
* Recommended Titles
Includes musicals, concert films, documentaries, biographies and fictional subject matter (where singers and groups appear as musical interludes.)
* 25 x 5: Continuing Adventures of the Rolling Stones (1990)… Excellent documentary on the history of the Stones covers their beginnings, their drug busts, touring and the deaths of Brian Jones and Ian Stewart. Includes archival concert and television footage (Hollywood Palace, Shindig, Ed Sullivan Show, Top of the Pops) plus videos and interviews with the group at various stages in their career. Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters, who were two of their biggest influences, have cameos. First song played on the Sullivan Show: Time is on My Side.
* The Story of the Beach Boys: Summer Dreams (1990)… Bruce Greenwood, Greg Kean, Casey Sander, Bo Foxworth, Arlen Dean Snyder, Laura Lee Hughes, Wendy Kaplan. TV-movie of the group concentrates mostly on Brian Wilson, the enigmatic leader, and Dennis Wilson, the wild man of the band. Good performances throughout and based on Steven Gaines' unauthorized biography.
The Wall: Live in Berlin (1990)… Roger Waters, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Levon Helm, Sinead O' Connor, Cindi Lauper, Albert Finney, Marianne Faithfull, Tim Curry, Bryan Adams, Thomas Dolby. TV-movie of the concert that celebrated the destruction of the Berlin Wall under the direction of former Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters. Jerry Hall plays the part of the party girl.
Long Time Comin (1990)… One hour history of Crosby, Still & Nash. Lots of old, rare footage through 1988including Neil Young and Buffalo Springfield. The Byrds and Joni Mitchell also appear as well as archive footage of Grace Slick, Roger McGuinn, Richie Furay, Alan Clarke, Tony Hicks and Dick Cavett.
Cry-Baby (1990)… Johnny Depp, Amy Locane, Susan Tyrrell, Polly Bergen, Iggy Pop, Ricki Lake, Traci Lords. Typically campy John Waters film featuring Depp as a delinquent rocker (Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker) in love with a beautiful rich girl. Waters goes for the updated '50s exploitation angle but comes up short at times. Still, a lot of fun in a kind of a Rocky Horror High School kind of way. Cameos by Joe Dallesandro, Troy Donohue, Patricia Hearst, Joey Heatherton, David Nelson and Mink Stole add to the one-of-a-kind cast. Catch it if you can. "High school hell cats -- we love bein' bad 'cause it sure feels good!"
* The Doors (1991)… Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Kathleen Quinlan, Frank Whaley, Kevin Dillon, Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Wincott, Billy Idol, Dennis Burkley, Josh Evans, Michael Madsen, John Densmore, Will Jordan, Mimi Rogers, Paul Williams, Crispin Glover. Oliver Stone's vivid biography of ill-fated poet rocker Jim Morrison's rise to fame. Well casted with excellent performances and good period music. Jordan again reprises his Sullivan role. Densmore, who appears at the beginning and the end of the movie, was the original Doors drummer. Stone has a cameo as a UCLA film professor as do Eric Burdon as the backstage manager, Bill Graham as the New Haven promoter, Bonnie Bramlett as a bartender and Billy Vera as the Miami promoter.
* Johnny Suede (1991)… Brad Pitt, Calvin Levels, Alison Moir, Catherine Keener, Tina Louise, Nick Cave, Samuel L. Jackson. Pitt is entertaining and believable (even if his pompadour is not) as Johnny Suede, an average rock and roller in the 90s who wants to be like his idol, Ricky Nelson from the 50s. A sleeper of a film and well casted and acted with an excellent soundtrack by veteran rocker Link Wray. Filmed on location in Brooklyn NY. Check it out. [Louise played Ginger on TV's Gilligan's Island.]
* The Commitments (1991)… Robert Atkins, Michael Aherne, Johnny Murphy, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle. Foreign-made film about young Irishmen forming a soul band in Dublin. They cover hits like Mustang Sally, Too Many Fish in the Sea, Show Me, Chain of Fools, Midnight Hour. They have their moments (all of the actors performed the music) and is worth seeing but film lacks direction and a cohesive script. Filmed on location in Ireland. Look for the classic performance of James Brown singing Please, Please, Please.
Rolling Stones Live at the Max (1991)… Documentary filmed in IMAX during the Steel Wheels Tour in Europe in 1990. It was one of the first attempts at presenting entertainment in the IMAX format.
The Hours and Times (1991)… David Angus, Ian Hart, Stephanie Pack, Robin McDonald. From IMDB: A fictionalized account of what may have happened when John Lennon and Brian Epstein went on holiday together to Spain in 1963. [Hart would again play Lennon in the film Backbeat.]
Peefeeyatko (1991)… Frank Zappa, Diva Zappa, John Cage, Pierre Boulez, Matt Groening, Ray Wallis, Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen. From IMDB: An intimate music portrait of Frank Zappa after he turned away from Rock and Roll and began working on new, contemporary, orchestral electronic music; in solitude and beyond any commercial conventions or commitments. It is the first time that Zappa has allowed a film crew to study him during compositional work, actually filming the first moments of a new compositional process. By contrast, in a staged interview Zappa gives comments on music. This film seeks to reveal the sensitivities of (his) personality and character also beyond narrative content.
Shout (1991)… John Travolta, James Walters, Heather Graham, Richard Jordan, Linda Fiorentino, Scott Coffey, Glenn Quinn, Frank von Zerneck, Michael Bacall. The premise is good. Interesting concept of hip music teacher Jack Cabe introducing rock and roll to a bunch of young band members on a farm for delinquent boys in the mid-50s has promise. Unfortunately, the film misses due to a poor script, silly dialog and a boring romantic subplot involving one of the boys and the warden's daughter. Also missing is a legitimate feel for the period – especially the music. Only one original song from the era (I was a Fool by Elmore James) was used. Robbie Robertson wrote and performed a couple of the others.
Truth or Dare (1991)… A look and Madonna -- onstage and off -- with energetic performances during her Blond Ambition tour. Features a cameo by then boyfriend Warren Beatty. Other cameos include Antonio Banderas, Sandra Bernhard and Kevin Costner. A must for fans and worth seeing for the curious.
The Five Heartbeats (1991)… Robert Townsend, Michael Wright, Leon, Harry J. Lennox. Average saga of a 1960s R&B group's rise to fame. Townsend also directs the story, which was loosely based on the singing group, The Dells. Townsend and Keenan Ivory Wayans wrote the script.
Rock ‘n’ Roll High School Forever (1991)… Corey Feldman, Larry Linville, Mary Woronov, Evan Richards. A sequel to the 1978 movie about Feldman’s attempt to save the Ronald Reagon High prom from a terrible band. Good fun.
Jacksons: An American Dream (1992)… Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs, Angela Bassett, Holly Robinson Peete, Billy Dee Williams, Jason Weaver. TV-movie about the Jackson rise to fame from Indiana childhood to super stardom is pretty good and a must for fans. Worth seeing once. Jermaine Jackson II portrayed his father aged 13-17.
Spinal Tap Reunion (1992)… Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Bob Geldof, Robert Bauer, June Chadwick, Graham Nash, Rob Reiner, Kenny Rogers, Paul Shaffer, Martin Short, Mel Tormé, Fred Willard, Danny Woodburn. Ok reunion concert filmed mostly onstage in London. TV-movie.
Just My Imagination (1992)… Jean Smart, Tom Wopat, Richard Gilliland, Mary Kay Place, Audra Lindley, Gilbert Lewis, Lynn Milgrim, Ernie Sabella, Orson Bean, Pat Carroll. A small town teacher loses her job when a famous rock star and former high school classmate writes a suggestive song about her called Whompin' Pally Thompson. Average TV-movie.
James Brown: The Man, the Message, the Music (1992)… Documentary on James Brown
* Backbeat (1993)… Stephen Dorff, Sheryl Lee, Ian Hart, Gary Bakewell. Engrossing account of the John Lennon's relationship with original Beatles bass player Stu Sutcliffe. Most of the action takes place in Hamburg, Germany where the Beatles twice had long-running gigs before they became famous. The film recreates the period very well not to mention the excellent soundtrack.
Elvis and the Colonel: The Untold Story (1993)… Beau Bridges, Rob Youngblood, Scott Wilson. TV-movie about the relationship of Elvis Presley and his manager Colonel Tom Parker suffers from uneven script but picks up steam in the second half. Youngblood looks like Ricky Nelson early on but sounds like Elvis throughout, and is more convincing when drugs take control of the King's life.
Buddy's Song (1993)… Roger Daltry, Chesny Hawkes, Sharon Duce, Michael Elphick, Douglas Hodge. British film about a father's relationship with his musical son and estranged wife. Some good moments, especially when the energetic Daltry (former lead singer of the Who) is on screen, but script fails to hold one's interest and the original music is drab.
What's Love Got to Do With It (1993)… Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Jenifer Lewis, Rae'ven Kelly, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Chi, Khandi Alexander, Penny Johnson, Robert Guy Miranda, Pamela Tyson. Examines the career of Tina Turner in a no-holds-barred energyfest. Basset and Fishburne play Ike and Tina to the hilt and make the films worth watching once.
Heaven Tonight (1993)… John Waters, Guy Pierce, Rebecca Gilling, Kim Gyngoil, Sean Scully. British film about an aging rocker Johnny Dysart who cannot accept his career is over – or that his son's is just beginning. Good performances all around but music is just average. Waters wrote and performed most of the songs.
Airheads (1994)… Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, Adam Sandler, Joe Mantegna, Chris Farley, Michael McKean, Amy Locane, Michael Richards, Harold Ramis. Desperate heavy metal rock band (The Lone Rangers) armed with squirt guns loaded with hot pepper sauce holds radio station KPPX (Rebel Radio) hostage and makes them play their demo tape. You know you’re in trouble when Beavis and Butthead’s call to the station is the highlight. Many cameos by several semi-famous people.
Hail Caesar (1994)… Anthony Michael Hall, Bobbie Phillips, Leslie Danon, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr. Caesar is a struggling lead singer in his band. To make ends meet, he works at a pencil eraser factory and falls in love with the owner's daughter.
Shake, Rattle and Rock! (1994)… Renee Zellweger, Howie Mandel, Patricia Childress, Max Perlich, Two young girls start a band and open a nightclub, but have trouble with the local townspeople. TV-movie.
Road Racers (1994)… David Arquette, Salma Hayek, John Hawkes. A rock musician and his girlfriend are harassed by townspeople back in the ‘50s. TV-movie.
Empire Records (1995)… Anthony LaPaglia, Maxwell Caulfield, Debi Mazar, Rory Cochrane, Johnny Whitworth, Robin Tunney, Renée Zellweger, Ethan Embry, Coyote Shivers, Brendan Sexton III, Liv Tyler. From IMDB: “Empire Records is an independent music store in danger of being sold to a large chain. To raise money, they stage a wild party and in the process, come to terms with who they are and who they want to be. It's a tale of love, personal tragedy, and finding ones true self with the added splash of a little rock and roll.” Worth seeing.
You Can't Do That! The Making of A Hard Day's Night (1995)… Narration by Phil Collins with appearances by its producer, director, writer and others including the Beatles, Mickey Dolenz, Peter Noone, Roger McGuinn and Roger Ebert.
The Reggae Movie (1995)… Dean Fraser, Shaggy, Rayvon, Buju Banton, Wayne Wonder, Luciano, Garnett Silk, Inner Circle, Shinehead, Mystic Revealers, Winston Rodney, Beresford Hammond, Carlene Davis, Freddie McGregor, Ziggy Marley, Sandra Bernhard, Chaka Demus, Dennis Brown, Apache Indian, Yami Bolo, Maxi Priest. A celebration of all styles of Reggae music.
A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Annette Funicello Story (1995)… Annette Funicello, Eva LaRue Callahan, Linda Lavin, David Lipper, Frankie Avalon, Len Cariou, Andrea Nemeth, Shelley Fabares. Annette’s story from the Mickey Mouse Club through her Beach Party movies and short pop singer career up to the day she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Red Hot (1995)… Balthazar Getty, Carla Gugino, Jan Niklas, Donald Sutherland. A rebellious classical music student starts ill-fated rock and roll band in 1959 communist Russia. Interesting subject matter and the cast tries hard to make it work but the script drags in too many places.
Soul Survivors (1995)… Ian McShane, Isaac Hayes, Taurean Blaque, Derrick O'Connor, Al Matthews, Antonio Fargas, Margi Clarke, Patty Mack, Scott Wilson. After losing his job, Otis Cooke, a British soul music DJ in Liverpool, travels to the U.S. to convince The Tallahassees to reunite for a reunion tour of the U.K. TV-movie.
Tie-Died (1995)… Tries to capture the feel of the Dead Heads at a Grateful Dead concert. Filmed during the Dead's ‘94 summer tour, it will appeal mostly to the fans that follow the band around the country. This is an ok movie except for the fact that the Dead do not appear nor is their music heard because licensing was denied at the last minute. A decent band, Solar Circus, filled in to salvage the project.
Vibrations (1995)… James Marshall, Christina Applegate, Faye Grant, Paige Turco, Scott Cohen, Bruce Altman, David Burke, Steven Keats, Virginia Sandifur. On the way to a hot audition, promising rock star T.J. Cray gets into a car wreck and loses the use of his hands. He starts drinking but meets Anamika who, with the help of her weird friends and artificial hands, becomes a superstar known as Cyberstorm. Not very good.
* That Thing You Do (1996)… Tom Hanks, Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Jonathon Schaech, Steve Zahn. Struggling band rides the wave of one hit single and then breaks up circa 1964. Everything Hanks does is quality. Hanks wrote or co-wrote most of the music. [Tyler is the daughter of Aerosmith's lead singer Stephen Tyler.]
* The Beatles Anthology (1996)… Made-for-TV documentary of the most popular recording group in musical history. Includes never before seen footage and two new Beatles songs. The 8-tape video set is twice the length of the ABC broadcast. The DVD set includes additional footage. All of them include concert footage, interviews, backstage clips, press conferences, home movies and studio cuts – lots of rarely seen material.
MasterCard Masters of Music Concert for the Prince's Trust (1996)… Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Alanis Morissette with Al Kooper, Ron Wood, David Gilmour, Gary Glitter and Zak Starkey. British TV benefit concert includes a performance of The Who’s Quadrophenia. Filmed at Hyde Park, London.
Shake, Rattle and Rock! (1996)… Renee Zellweger, Latanyia Baldwin, Max Perlich, Howie Mandel. TV-movie about two 1950s teenage girls who want to be rock and roll singers and open a nightclub against their parents wishes. Not bad. Paul Anka has a cameo.
Freebird: The Movie (1996)… Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Steve Gaines, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson, Artimus Pyle, Judy Van Zant Jenness, Cassie Gaines, Teresa Gaines. Interviews, home movies and concert footage profile Lynyrd Skynyrd, the ill-fated rock band who rose quickly to fame but met their fate in an airplane accident.
* Grace of my Heart (1997)… Illeana Douglas, Matt Dillon, Eric Stoltz, John Turturro. Follows the singing career of the fictional Edna Buxton, aka Denise Waverly, from her rise as a writer for singing groups in the late 50s on through the torrid 70s. Shades of Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Don Kirshner and Brian Wilson. Good acting and production values make this film worth seeing but script drags at times. Bridgett Fonda has a cameo and Peter Fonda is the voice of the guru.
* Message To Love: The Isle of Wight Festival (1997)… A documentary of the legendary concert in August of 1970, from the all-star performances to the backstage bickering. This was the final performance of Jimi Hendrix. Also appearing were Jethro Tull, Ten Years After, The Doors, Moody Blues, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Free, Taste, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Tiny Tim, Leonard Cohen, Miles Davis, Donovan, Kris Kristofferson.
* The Life and Times of the Red Dog Saloon (1996)… Documentary of the legendary music hall in Virginia City, NV in 1965 where bands like The Charlatans and Big Brother and the Holding Company honed their skills just before the San Francisco psychedelic ballroom scene broke loose. Filmmaker Mary Works, who was employed at the Red Dog back then, interviews many of the club's original employees, customers and band members. She also found footage of some of the groups as well as rehearsal footage of The Charlatans.
Telling Lies in America (1997)… Kevin Bacon, Brad Renfro, Maximilian Schell, Calista Flockhart, Paul Dooley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Luke Wilson. Coming of age story about an immigrant teen who starts lying to appear cool to be like Disc jockey Billy Magic in 1960s Cleveland. His poor Hungarian father helps him see the error of his ways. [Fast-talking Cleveland DJ Johnny Holliday, who was one of WHK's most popular jocks from 1959-64, was the inspiration for script writer Joe Eszterhas, who grew up in Cleveland. Holliday wrote a book about his career, "From Rock to Jock" in 2002. … Kevin Bacon met with Philadelphia radio legend Jerry Blavat to study his delivery on the air, including how to "shuffle" 45 rpm records.]
Year of the Horse (1997)… Documentary of the 1996 concert tour of Neil Young and Crazy Horse (Frank 'Pancho' Sampedro, Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina). Director Jim Jarmusch interviews the band as well as showing backstage footage from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Also appearing are Larry Cragg (master guitar tech), Elliot Roberts (manager), Keith Wissmar (lighting) and Scott Young (Neil’s father).
In Search of the English Folk Song (1997)... Director ken Russell travels the English countryside interviewing performers who were involved at one time or another in the movie title’s theme. Included are Donovan, Fairport Convention, Osibisa, Eliza Carthy, So What, Edward II and The Albion Band among others.
Elvis Meets Nixon (1997)… Rick Peters, Bob Gunton, Alyson Court, Denny Doherty, Jackie Burroughs, Curtis Armstrong, Gabriel Hogan. Decent TV effort. Alexander Butterfield, Dick Cavett, Tony Curtis, Kevin McCarthy, Graham Nash, Edwin Newman, Wayne Newton have cameos.
* The Temptations (1998)… Charles Malik Whitfield, D.B. Woodside, Christian Payton, Terron Brooks, Leon, Alan Rosenberg, Tina Lifford, Jenifer Lewis, Gina Ravera, Obba Babatundé. Quality NBC mini-series about the legendary Motown group. The drama follows their rise to fame, their decline and all of the trials and tragedies in between. Quality casting, script and music all the way.
* Rock & Roll Invaders: The AM Radio DJ's (1998)… Documentary featuring the pioneer disc jockeys from the early days of rock. Included are legends such as Alan Freed, Wolfman Jack and Joe Finan. Included are discussions of early R&B influences, black DJ's and payola scandals.
* Meeting People Is Easy (1998)… A rockumentary by Grant Gee about Radiohead’s world tour following the release of their big hit album OK Computer. Only includes interviews and concert footage – from Barcelona to Radio City Music Hall – along with the occasional TV clip.
The Brian Epstein Story (1998)… Paul McCartney, George Martin, Gerry Marsden, Billy J. Kramer, Stella Epstein, Peter Brown, Robert Stigwood, Johnny Gustafson, Bryan Barrett, Lionel Bart, Simon Napier-Bell, Joanne Petersen, Alistair Taylor, Lonnie Trimble. A fine documentary about the man who discovered the Beatles and other Liverpool bands like Gerry and the Pacemakers and Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. Included are many interviews and rare archival footage. A must for Beatles fans.
Blues Brother 2000 (1998)… Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, Joe Morton, J. Evan Bonifant, Steve Cropper, Donald 'Duck' Dunn, Murphy Dunne, Willie Hall, Lou Marini, Tom Malone, Alan Rubin, Matt Murphy, Aretha Franklin, James Brown. Not as good as the first effort but, if you ignore the plot and dialog, the music will get you through. B.B. King, Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks, Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, Taj Mahal, Steve Lawrence, Paul Shaffer, Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Sam Moore, Gary US Bonds, Clarence Clemons, Grover Washington, Steve Winwood, Lou Rawls, Billy Preston, Bo Diddley, Isaac Hayes, Travis Tritt and Charlie Musselwhite also appear.
Kurt & Courtney (1998)… Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Nick Broomfield, El Duce, Tom Grant, David Grohl, Hank Harrison, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear. A documentary on the life of Kurt Cobain and his relationship with Courtney Love.
Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998)… Halle Berry, Vivica A. Fox, Lela Rochon, Larenz Tate, Ben Vereen, Little Richard. The story of three women out to claim royalties from 50's pop singer Frankie Lyman, all claiming to be his widow. Worth checking out.
Velvet Goldmine (1998)… Ewan McGregor, Jonathon Rhys Meyers, Christian Bale, Toni Collette, Eddie Izzard, Emily Woof, Michael Feast. A David Bowie-like rock star named Brian Slade (Meyers) vanishes after faking his own death onstage and a reporter (Bale) sets out to uncover the truth ten years later. McGregor plays rock star Curt Wild. Well-done British effort set in 1984 with decent soundtrack.
The Decline of Western Civilization Part III (1998)… Flea. Director Penelope Spheeris interviews some of the homeless punks in LA – some touching, some embarrassing.
* Mr. Rock 'N' Roll: The Allan Freed Story (1999)… Judd Nelson, Madchen Amick, Paula Abdul, Leon, Bobby Rydell, Fabian. Glossed-over NBC-movie about the life of the 1950s Cleveland DJ who coined the phrase. Freed eventually was framed in the payola scandal which took a serious toll on his life. Filmed in Toronto. Leon played the title role in the Little Richard movie, David Ruffin in the Temptations mini-series and plays Jackie Wilson here. Rydell and Fabian play a couple of angry fathers who hate the music. American Hot Wax (1978) was the first attempt at an Alan Freed story.
Like so many TV-bios, the facts get distorted for reasons of brevity, dramatics or ignorance. Freed originally got his idea of playing R&B while working at WAKR in Akron. He met Cleveland record store owner Leo Mintz of Record Rendezvous who told him the teens were buying R&B. In July 11, 1951, he joined WJW radio in Cleveland on a midnight radio program sponsored by Main Line, the RCA Distributor and Record Rendezvous. That is when Freed started playing R&B and talking a more hip language on his "Moondog" show. He then became known as "The King of the Moondoggers" using an instrumental called "Moondog Symphony" that had been recorded by New York street musician Louis T. Hardin as his theme song. Later that year, he promoted his first dance (along with local concert promoter Lew Platt), The Moondog Coronation Ball, on March 21, 1952 at the Cleveland Arena – generally accepted as the first rock and roll concert. Overflow crowds caused a riot outside and the concert was shut down right after the first act by fire marshals. Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams has just completed his set when the power was turned off. Screaming Jay Hawkins began his set with no amplification but the show was then stopped. In 1954, Freed moved to WINS in New York City.
Still Crazy (1999)… Stephen Rea, Billy Connolly, Jimmy Nail, Timothy Spall, Bill Nighy, Juliet Aubrey, Helena Bergström, Bruce Robinson, Hans Matheson, Phil Daniels. Strange Fruit, a fictional band of the 70s, reunites 20 years later for more sex and drugs and rock & roll. Kind of a serious British remake of This Is Spinal Tap. Director Brian Gibson also did What’s Love got To Do With It. The songs were co-written by Foreigner's Mick Jones and Chris Difford of Squeeze. [Connolly, who plays Hughie the roadie, is one of the top stand-up comics in England … Nail was in a couple of real bands playing guitar.]
Ricky Nelson: Original Teen Idol (1999)… Gregory Calpakis, Jamey Sheridan, Sara Botsford, Anthony Lemke. The story of Ricky Nelson's rise (on his father's TV show), decline and rise again. Reportedly, the producers took some liberties with Ozzie Nelson, portraying him as more of a tyrant than he really was, although he was very controlling. For instance Ozzie did not allow his son to sing on American Bandstand, The Ed Sullivan Show or any show except his own. Jamey Sheridan was very good as Ozzie. But the other actors are miscast; none of them look like or have the same spirit of the people they are portraying. They also barely mention Ricky’s most controversial song, “Garden Party.” And it would’ve been nice if they’d have recreated the Madison Square Garden concert when he was booed off the stage for singing current songs, especially since no real footage exists from the show. A VH1 made-for-TV movie. Written by Arlene Sarner based on Joel Selvin's unauthorized biography. The book has all the information, but it is written by a critic, not necessarily a fan, so there is more dirt. If you want a more compassionate read, then check out "The Complete Biography of Rick Nelson" by Philip Basche. Rick Nelson’s last days were similar to Elvis. Elvis turned to drugs after his mother died. Rick did the same after his father died. They both became a recluse with a woman who used them. They both died at about the same age.
And The Beat Goes On: The Sonny and Cher Story (1999)… Jay Underwood, Renee Faia, Christian Leffler. TV-movie spans their overnight rise to fame and eventual breakup during their CBS TV show. Cher is not always presented in a positive light as the story was based on Sonny's autobiography of the same name. Average script and production values but still entertaining for fans of the era. Faia does a great job as Cher. Jess Harnell and Kelly van Hoose Smith do the actual singing. Sonny appears as himself at the end.
British Rock Symphony (1999)… Roger Daltrey, Alice Cooper, Gary Brooker, Zak Starkey, Darlene Love. Concert featuring the music of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who and others. Filmed at Ragley Hall in Devon, England. Brooker was a member of Procul Harum. Starkey is Ringo’s son.
Sweetwater: A True Rock Story (1999)… Amy Jo Johnson, Michelle Phillips, Frederick Forrest, Kelli Williams, Adam Ant. A fictional reporter decides to track the band that opened the 1969 Woodstock festival to find the lead singer -- Nancy Nevins. Shortly after the Woodstock performance, Nevins was hit by a car and suffered damage to her vocal cords. She eventually rejoined the band in the mid-80s. A VH1 made-for-TV movie.
Shake, Rattle & Roll: An American Love Story (1999)… Bonnie Somerville, Brad Hawkins, Samaria Graham, Travis Fine, Kai Lennox, Dana Delany, James Coburn, Kathy Baker, Frank Whaley, Gerald McRaney, Troy Donahue, Elinor Donahue. Story about young musicians and racial tension in the 50s-60s music industry.
Detroit Rock City (1999)… Edward Furlong, Giuseppe Andrews, James DeBello, Sam Huntington, Natasha Lyorne, Lin Shaye. Gene Simmons produced film about four kids from Ohio trying to make it to a Kiss concert in the mid-70s. Features a performance by the band – Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss. Pass.
Sugar Town (1999)… Jade Gordon, John Taylor, Michael Des Barres, Martin Kemp, Larry Klein, John Doe, Ally Sheedy, Rosanna Arquette, Beverly D’Angelo. Washed-up LA rock band tries to deal with their decline. The three leads are played by real musicians who are pretty good actors as well. Not bad but a little more character development would have made it very good. The band is played by Des Barres (lead singer - Power Station), Taylor (base player - Duran Duran) and Kemp (bass player - Spandau Ballet).
The Suburbans (1999)… Craig Bierko, Amy Brenneman, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Will Ferrell, Tony Guma, Robert Loggia, Donal Lardner Ward, Ben Stiller, Jerry Stiller, Bridgette Wilson. An 1980's one-hit wonder band is given a chance at a comeback. A comedy–drama that misses the mark.