Every music nerd has their top favorite music movies. Since the only people who work at Baeble are music nerds, we thought we'd pass on a few music movies from Netflix that you might not have found on your own...ya know, so you have something to watch over the long holidays. Some good, some bad, some just flat out embarrassing, but all about music.
I was way too excited when I saw there was a movie about CBGB. I've learned about it in my music classes, seen photos of it throughout the many documentaries about artists I've watched. Now, I could watch a movie about it? Hell yeah. The only downfall is, the movie is actually pretty terrible, but I still loved it because, c'mon, it's about CBGB! Keep an eye out for some big names in the movie, there are some pleasant surprises with the familiar faces you might find. (Professor Snape plays Hilly Kristal, and Ron Weasley plays Cheetah Chrome from the Dead Boys!)
Blondie's New York
As one of the biggest bands to come out of CBGB, it only makes sense to include a documentary about Blondie in this list. This documentary is full of interviews from the band and a gives a super in-depth glance of the behind the scenes of the band that would go from the CBGB stage, to selling 20 million copies of their breakthrough album, Parallel Lines.
The most influential professor I've ever had introduced me to Fela Kuti. It was Vivien Goldman, known as the "punk professor." She spent most of her career writing about Bob Marley, and she always spoke of him like an old friend. On the anniversary of his death, she played one of his first televised performances to honor him, and she started crying when talking about her days with him in Jamaica in the wake of political tensions. Along with Bob, as she called him, she spent time in Africa with Fela Kuti. You simply cannot call yourself a music nerd if you don't learn about everything you possibly can about the most influential musicians, and as a leader in creating Afrobeat, the story of Fela Kuti is a must-see.
Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams
So I think just about everyone loves Fleetwood Mac, and it's safe to say "Landslide" has made just about everyone tear up at some point in their lifetime. The celebrated singer Stevie Nicks even had a contributing role in FX's American Horror Story: Coven, and her music helped define one of the main characters. If she's impacted you as much as the rest of American culture, then you'd love this documentary that she produced. She's described as "one of the most iconic voices of the 21st century" in the film's introduction, so if you're the music nerd you say you are, this is definitely something worth checking out.
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me
When I first heard Big Star, it was Elliot Smith's cover of "Thirteen." I heard it again done by the Brooklyn synthpop band, The Point, when I realized that the song was a cover at all, or that Big Star was behind it. Although the 70s band was celebrated by rock critics at the time, they only gained a cult following, never hitting the mainstream. This would explain why I didn't know "Thirteen" was a cover, but I know now that they're a band to know about, and what better way to learn more other than sitting on my couch watching a movie about them on Netflix.
The Punk Singer
The Punk Singer is the story of Bikini Kill's lead singer Kathleen Hanna and co-founder of the 90's feminist riot grrrl movement. The film shows Hanna telling her story about her life and how she began writing writing and performing, and as a huge inspiration for female musicians everywhere, any music nerd should thank Netflix for throwing this film in their library.
The Wedding Singer
Wow, when Adam Sandler was good! Though this movie isn't the nerdiest of the collection, any musician or music lover with a sense of humor has got to love The Wedding Singer. It's a classic, and who doesn't love to see the poor artist get the girl over the rich businessman? Thanks, Netflix, we appreciate it.
Rhyme & Reason
I was first exposed to this film in a cultural music class taught by ex-CEO Val Azzoli. After showing the class clips from the movie, he continued to tell us how he signed Suge Knight, who told Val to give him thousands of dollars and he'd take care of all the dirty work, like finding and signing talent. What Val didn't expect him to do was use that money for most of his gang related activity, which Val discovered the hard way. Val told us stories about getting flown out to California for court when N.W.A, signed to Suge Knight's Death Row records, was being charged for their violent anti-police lyrics, and my middle-aged, curly-haired white professor seemed more to know more about hip-hop than I'd ever imagined. This documentary is unbelievably important to see in order to have an understanding of race, class, gender, and law enforcement in our society, and music nerd or not, you just have to watch it.
I'm sure this one's unexpected, but Coyote Ugly is one of my favorite movies, ever. I can't deny this cliche story of the wide-eyed songwriter, naively showing up to record companies with her mixtape. Of course she's got a an irrational fear of performing live, and it only makes sense that she overcomes this fear by just discovering how hot she is and dancing at the coolest bar in the city.
Keith Richards: Under the Influence
It's always interesting to me to see the biggest rock stars in history, wrinkled and silver-haired, chain smoking and listening to the same music that inspired them in the first place. I've seen it in so many different music documentaries, I can't say I was surprised to see Keith Richards living that way as well. The Rolling Stones are one of the most important bands in the history of music, whether you think they're good or not. In this documentary we get to sit back and have a conversation with the legendary guitarist, who is a great reminder that age really is but a number.
I've lost count of how many times I've watched this movie, but I'll probably watch it a million more times without getting tired of it. This semi-autobiographical story of music journalist Cameron Crowe is the perfect coming of age story that any music nerd loves, and as an aspiring music writer, I can't help but be jealous of the teenager who lands a job with Rolling Stone and follows a bunch of rock stars across the country.