Rock Band Movies

Movies about Dysfunctional Rock and Roll Bands

There are few similarities between these films except they share a poorly coalescing, rapidly disintegrating or patently inept rock band.

Half Japanese

For the first half of this rockumentary, we figured it was a spoof. Especially since they have Penn Gillette vouch for the artistic talents of this garage band entitled Half Japanese. By the second half, it became apparent that there really is a band called Half Japanese. and we've just been out of the loop for the past 15 years. Apparently, Jad Fair and his brother, David, decided they could make music in their bedroom and get themselves heard. The fact that they were incapable of playing musical instruments was no deterrent to these guys, and they gathered a sizable cult of fans over the years. Jad has continued the band (David became an accountant or something), and he even learned to play the guitar after a while. Lack of financial and popular success have never mattered, and tenacity matched with sheer artistry drowned out their lack of musical skills. You can find some of their stuff floating around on MP3 sites and it might be worth your while to check them out. You can skip this movie, however, unless of course you already are a Half Japanese fan.


This all women's German rock band is made up of ex-convicts using music as their route to rehabilitation. They get into trouble, and then they try and get out of it. Nicht ausgezeichnet. Rated R. 110 minutes. German w/subtitles. 1997.


Rock Band Movies - This Is Spinal TapAn aged English rock band reunites against their better judgment. Essentially a Spinal Tap copy, with music by Mick Jones of Foreigner and Chris Difford of Squeeze. Very funny performances by Stephen Rea, Billy Conolly, and Juliet Aubrey. Directed by Brian Gibson. 1999. Rated R. 95 minutes.

The Commitments

This is the saga of and Irish soul band that is cobbled together from a group of tough Dublin residents. With only one professional member, they rise quickly, as no one is more qualified than a Dubliner to sing sweet soul music. In the end, success cheats them, but they weren't ready to handle it anyway. The soundtrack is superb. The best part is that many of the players were taken from an open casting call amongst Ireland's finest. The story is from the Roddy Doyle Trilogy, which also includes The Snapper and The Van, which are also on film.

This Is Spinal Tap

Rob Reiner directed this mock rockumentary about the declining luck of a British rock band. Christopher Guest is in this, and it certainly left it's mark on his film style. It makes you wonder how the Stones hung together all these years. Look for Fran Drescher as a bit player 1984. 85 minutes. Rated R.

Leningrad Cowboys Go America

This may be one of the best Finnish movies you'll ever see. You might say this film is the Russian equivalent of Spinal Tap. A very unusual Russian rock band tries their luck on the American club circuit with mixed results. Winner of the best hairdo award at the Cannes festival you can even show this one to small children, but they will probably leave the room. Directed by Aki Kaurismaki. If you like this on, try to find the second best Finnish film of all time, Ariel.


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