Top music movies: Comedy


Given the fervent excitement surrounding the premiere of The Stone Roses: Made of Stone this week, it seems like the ideal time to reappraise the best of music-based film over the years…

Yeah so in keeping with the theme sparked off by Shane Meadows’ new rockumentary on the reformation of the Stone Roses, I thought I’d look back at a few music-themed favourites. With so many to choose from spanning so many styles within the genre itself, we’ve divided them up over five key categories – providing one top pick and four essential others. We’ve frankly slaughtered Concert Films, Documentary, Dramatisation and Artistic selections, so we finish today with Comedy. There’s a quick definition of how I’ve classified each one, so hopefully you’ll sympathise with the choices made!

If you think I’ve missed any or feel passionate about the suggestions listed then please do leave your comments below. Legitimate opinions will be approved whether in agreement or not…


Definition: Pop films what make you laff innit?? Yes indeed, it’s those screenplays of a musical theme written, directed, produced and acted with the explicit purpose of making one chortle… doesn’t one know?

Spinal Tap film shot
“Why don’t you just make ten louder?”… “These go up to eleven.”

1) This Is Spinal Tap

What can you say that hasn’t already been said about Rob Reiner’s 1984 work of pure unadulterated comedy genius? Contrary to how convincingly the movie is shot and acted, Spinal Tap were in fact a spoof rock act played by the hilarious Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer. The trio, with a revolving door of habitually expiring drummers, did eventually take the show on a stadium tour and release three real studio albums – but this is where it all began.

“The film really broke new ground for a genre of reality comedy that has really become ubiquitous over the past few years.”

It would be too tough to sum all that is great about This Is Spinal Tap to those who have never seen it. Frankly, why are you people reading this when there exists so many criminally cheap DVD copies of the movie littered across the planet? Doubtlessly inspired by the likes of Monty Python, the film really broke new ground for a genre of reality comedy that has really become ubiquitous over the past few years. What’s more it really struck at the root chord of an increasingly ludicrous and pompous heavy rock scene that inevitably traces full-circle back to our initial film selection, The Song Remains The Same. Grandiose on-stage pyrotechnics, which in this case fail spectacularly, unfeasibly long guitar solos, hideously titled albums and gravity-defying hair, all parodied to terminal effect. Let’s just say leather trouser salesmen joined talcum powder peddlers in cursing the release of this film.

With so many highlights and one-liners to choose from it’s virtually impossible to pick a finest moment. But whether it’s David St. Hubbins straining to sing Love Me Tender in the correct key at Elvis’ gravesite, Nigel “Tuffy” Tufnel explaining why his amps “go up to eleven” or just, well, Stonehenge – it’s a joy from start to finish.

Essential others:
2) 24 Hour Party People – Michael Winterbottom’s 2002 comedy drama picks up the Factory Records story with Steve Coogan superbly portraying the late Tony Wilson.
3) It’s All Gone Pete Tong – Another biopic of a fictional artist, this time drug-addled Ibiza DJ Frankie Wilde and delightfully played by Dennis Pennis’ Paul Kaye (2004).
4) Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny – Rock fools Jack Black and Kyle Gass seek the essence of guitar virtuousity in Liam Lynch’s irresistibly dumb 2006 caper.
5) Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee –Shane Meadows finally makes the list with his 2009 study of actor Paddy Considine’s improvisational skills and rarely glimpsed comedic timing.

And that’s it, that’s your lot – hope you’ve enjoyed and looking to dig out any you’ve not yet seen!

Leave a Reply