Top 5 music movies of all time

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Top 5 music movies of all time

What are the top 5 music movies of all time? Photo courtesy of

What are the top 5 music movies of all time? Photo courtesy of "Rolling Stone."

What are the top 5 music movies of all time? Photo courtesy of "Rolling Stone."

What are the top 5 music movies of all time? Photo courtesy of "Rolling Stone."

Benji Grossman, Contributing Writer

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Music. We all love it. Whether it’s screaming guitars, powerful lyrics or an inspiring rock ‘n’ roll film full of timeless classics, music-inspired movies are beloved by many. With the spike in the genre, which includes Academy Award nominees, “A Star Is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” along with the anticipated release of movies such as “Rocket Man,” the biopic of Elton John, music-inspired movies are all over movie theaters and home theaters alike. So, strap on your guitar, plug in your amp and blast your stereo as loud as possible for the top five music-inspired movies of all time.

  1. “8 Mile”

The movie poster for “8 Mile.”

The gritty, inspiring story rapper, Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith (Eminem) is one of poverty, defeat, hard-work and finding oneself. With a cast full of well-known names in the rap world such as Eminem, Nas, Proof and Obie Trice, the film is a pop-culture fueled depiction of an against-all-odds musician and is loosely inspired by events experienced by Eminem himself. The story takes place in poverty-stricken Detroit, MI where Jimmy lives in the titular 8 Mile Trailer Park (a real road in Detroit and a mobile home park). Jimmy, who has a toxic home life and a dead-end job, aspires to be rapper while also support his mother and sister. The film eloquently shows the hard-nosed underground rap-culture, exhibiting the difficulty of rising to the top of the music-game. Along with a powerful storyline, the movie includes a world-class soundtrack that sold 3.2 million copies that includes titles such as, “8 Mile,” “Lose Yourself” (won the Oscar for Best Original Song) and “Wanksta” are notable listens for any rap fan. The only thing keeping this movie from advancing to a higher spot on this list is that overall, the acting chops of the leads don’t quite stack up to those ranked higher.

  1. “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The story of British legends, Queen, was a hit movie this past year and racked up a total of 33 award wins and 61 award nominations, including four Oscar victories and one nomination (for Best Picture, nonetheless). Notably, lead actor Rami Malek, who portrayed the timeless Freddie Mercury, received an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Bohemian Rhapsody makes great use of emotion and is at-times heavy, humorous, powerful and nostalgic. The movie can be enjoyed equally by hardcore fans of Queen, as well as people who’ve never even heard of Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees. The movie especially focuses in on Mercury and his journey to find his identity as an artist and person, while also depicting the formation and rise of one of the biggest rock bands of all time. Be sure to pay extra attention to the Live Aid Concert scene, as it is a near-flawless recreation of the ever-famous 1985 supershow. The movie features a soundtrack full of… you guessed it: Queen’s greatest hits, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing along to Freddie Mercury’s immortal vocals while viewing. Notable titles: honestly, all of them. You can’t go wrong. The reason this film doesn’t rank higher: although Malek’s performance was superb, the rest of the acting wasn’t quite at the same level. Additionally, the movie did take some creative liberties regarding Mercury’s HIV/AIDS diagnosis that many hardcore Queen fans were critical of.

  1. “Ray”

The movie poster for “Ray.”

A massively underappreciated movie, Ray brings the story of R&B legend Ray Charles to the screen. Many aren’t aware of the turmoil and troubles Charles had to face, including losing his sight at seven years-old, losing his brother to liver disease, dealing with racism and his ongoing battle with drug addiction. Through all this, Charles is known as one of the most enduring and polarizing artists/performers of all time, penning some of the greatest R&B hits to hit airwaves. Additionally, Jamie Foxx earned an Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, Awards Circuit Community Award and BET award (just to name a few) for best actor. Foxx gets every single one of Charles’s inflections perfect in this masterpiece of a film, which even led to him singing a virtually indiscernible version of Charles “I Got a Woman” on Kanye West’s hit song “Gold Digger.” Just like Bohemian Rhapsody, every track is a winner, however some of the best include: “I Got a Woman,” “Hallelujah I Love Her So,” “What’d I’d Say” and “Georgia on My Mind.”

  1. “A Star is Born” (2018)

A movie that’s been incredibly well-received by the public and critics alike, this film racked up a total of 226 award

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in “A Star is Born.”

nominations, along with 65 wins. The movie depicts the story of Ally, a young singer played by the immortal Lady Gaga, who meets and subsequently falls in love with rockstar Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper). While Maine helps Ally to reach her potential and get over her fears and reservations regarding her music career, Maine must deal with his own personal problems with drugs and alcohol. The movie is a symphony of love and heartbreak as well as triumph and loss, taking the viewer on an intensely emotional ride. One of the brightest points of an already shining film is the 100% original soundtrack, which was partially written by both Cooper and Gaga. Some of the best selections include: “Shallow,” “Maybe it’s Time” and “Out of Time.”

  1. “Almost Famous”

The movie poster for “Almost Famous.”

This Cameron Crowe directed, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale is about an aspiring teenage journalist who schemes his way on tour with fictional rock ‘n’ roll band, Stillwater (potentially based off of The Allman Brothers Band). With an all-star cast including Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Zooey Deschanel, Jason Lee and Jimmy Fallon. This rock ‘n’ roll epic is one of the most fun watches a moviegoer could have, and is 100 percent period appropriate (about as 70’s as The Eagles, bell bottoms and Led Zeppelin). Containing motifs of rebellion, teenage angst, finding true identity and pursuing what one loves, this movie can be enjoyed by anybody of any age, and literally anyone can get a valuable lesson out of it including following one’s dreams, doing what makes you happy, staying true to oneself and getting out of your comfort zone. Also, the soundtrack is a tremendous tribute to 70’s music immortality with songs by The Who, Simon and Garfunkel, David Bowie, The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. However, no title on the soundtrack is as notable as the ever-famous feature of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,”  which was released in 1973 and sent back onto the charts 27 years later after being featured in the movie. Simply put, if you want to feel like a rockstar for two hours and forty-two minutes (don’t worry, it doesn’t feel nearly this long), watch “Almost Famous.” Actually, even if you don’t want to feel like a rockstar, watch it anyways.

When push comes to shove, you can’t go wrong with any of these films. All five represent the gold standard when it comes to music movies, and have received a hundreds of total nominations and awards. Additionally, as the plots of all five are so good, even someone who isn’t a music lover will enjoy watching these movies. Finally, all five movies are available on iTunes, Youtube, Google Play and Amazon Prime for purchase. Also, 8 Mile is available on Netflix.

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