When music meets movies: Ten Great Hollywood Decisions
All right, a few weeks ago we offered up our take on the ten worst moments of crossover disaster, ill-advised efforts to mate movies with music. Now it's time to look at the flip side of the coin, the ten movies in which music and Hollywood made great bedfellows, outstanding cinematic turns that were win-win in terms of elevating the film and being a boon to the artist in question. Follow the jump for the full list.
10. The Big Lebowski, featuring Flea
Flea's been in a number of movies and been surprisingly decent in some and merely meh in others. In The Big Lebowski, although Flea admittedly has a bit part, he plays it well enough to make us forget that he's Flea, the ferociously talented four stringer. Instead, we see him here as one of the nihilists, the doofuses who barge in on the Dude as he's soaking in the tub and drop a marmot in with him and then threaten to "stomp on" and "squish" his johnson in that wonky faux German accent. Clearly this one isn't an academy award winner or anything, but it's not cringe worthy either.
Although this movie now feels seriously dated, at the time it seemed relevant, albiet calculating, with cameos from various members of Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam, whose Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard and Eddie Vedder served as members of Citizen Dick, Matt Dillon's faux grunge band. Although the guys had limited speaking parts, in hindsight, it was an excellent call on the part of Cameron Crowe, who used Seattle as the backdrop of the movie, to cast actual members of that city's scene to be in the movie -- nice window dressing even if none of them can act.
08. Spun, featuring Jason Schwartzman, Deborah Harry, Rob Halford and Billy Corgan
Hands down, Spun is the creepiest film of the bunch here. Jason Schwartzman stars as a completely believable meth head named Ross that links up with a bunch of fellow tweekers and ends up shuttling around a hotplate chemist played by Mickey Rourke and his equally spun girlfriend. Thanks to fast-motion cinematography that recalls Requiem for a Dream, by the end of the film -- which also features cameos from Deborah Harry, who plays Ross's butch neighbor, Rob Halford, who plays a clerk in a porn shop, and Billy Corgan, who also contributed numerous songs to the soundtrack -- you feel so bugged out and skeezy you'll immediately want to brush your teeth and exfoliate your skin.
07. Sling Blade, featuring Dwight Yoakam
Dwight Yoakam, who's damn near unrecognizable in this movie, gives Billy Bob Thornton, who plays the lead role of Karl Childers, a genuine run for his money. As the abrasive, hard-drinking Doyle Hargraves, Yoakam succeeds in creating such an utterly loathesome character that it feels downright vindicating when he ultimately meets his fate at the hands of Childers at the end of the movie.
06. Hi-Fidelity, featuring Jack Black, with a cameo by Bruce Springsteen
Of all the roles that Jack Black has played over the years, with perhaps the exception of himself in Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, this is probably the most believable. The epitome of smug record store clerks, Black absolutely steals the show from John Cusack, who plays a pained record store owner reflecting upon his past breakups, exhuming previous failed relationships in an effort to reconcile with his estranged girlfriend. Black's witty retorts are half the draw here. The other half? His absolutely killer rendition of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" at the end of the movie. Bonus points for a daydream sequence featuring the Boss giving Cusack's character the lowdown on love.