With the public’s enthusiasm for the new Damien Chazelle epic Babylonthe director opened up to GameSpot when asked where to start in his catalog and how Babylon summarizes all of his past filmography: “I would either do chronologically or I would jump in and start with Babylon, ignore the previous ones. ‘Cause they’re all in Babylon anyway, so you get three for one”.
Between Whiplash and La La Land, Chazelle shows that not all films have to stick so strictly to one genre. This rings especially true with movies about music, and when it comes to Whiplash or movies like walk the line or school of rock, their timeliness may allude to their theatrical and musical nature. That doesn’t have to be the case, and many music movies aren’t musicals at all, instead focusing on other genres.
“Walking the Line” (2005)
The 2005 biopic walk the line chronicles the success and struggles of an acclaimed country and blues singer Johnny Cashfrom humble beginnings to stardom and complicated relationship with june carter.
Featuring some of Johnny Cash’s biggest hits, such as ‘Ring of Fire’, ‘Jackson’ and the title track ‘I Walk the Line’, the approach to the genre is more about drama and relationship dynamics. between its two protagonists, played with respect by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Like the best cinematic romances, their chemistry is electrifying, and the story handles its serious moments with strong emotional intensity.
‘8 miles’ (2002)
In Eminemis the only main role in the cinema, 8 miles follows a mostly autobiographical story of an up-and-coming rapper in Detroit as he struggles to make a name for himself as an artist and break down the barriers of predisposed expectations in hip-hop.
It seems that after more than 20 years since its release, the legacy of 8 miles was beaten by the universal success of the single that came from it, “Lose Yourself”. However, the film behind the song is not a musical by design and still keeps its narrative personal and serious.
“School of Rock” (2003)
Jack Black stars in school of rock as guitarist Dewey Finn when he works his way into a “gig” as a fifth-grade substitute teacher, where he secretly teaches his students about rock music instead of math or science. Even though it features a funny concert at the end, most of the movie shows Dewey in different humorous situations trying to navigate the difficulties he’s gotten himself into and appease everyone around him.
school of rock is such a blast. With some of the most endearing children’s performances of the decade and filled to the brim with great moments, acclaimed director Richard Linklater retains his signature heartwarming style in this 2003 outing with heartfelt comedy.
Captivating, thrilling and heartbreaking, the documentary Amy follows the rise and eventual fall of the talented Amy Winehouse from his ambitious teenage years to his discovery of success. This results in a tragic downward spiral into alcoholism and drug use.
Filled with rare and hard-hitting footage and footage from the late star, this musical documentary tastefully captivates. Winehouse’s career progression is an emotional roller coaster, presented with profound beauty: the passion and respect for all who knew Winehouse is clear.
“Inside Llewyn Davis” (2013)
Introspective and thoughtful, Inside Llewyn Davis is a methodical reflection of the artist’s restlessness. Oscar Isaac plays the titular character in 1960s New York as a struggling folksinger navigating his hopeful perseverance in the face of the harsh realities of his situation. With excellent original music, this 2013 period drama shines a light on melancholy grounds for creative pursuits.
Joel and Ethan Coen are directors known for their versatility and eclecticism, which is why Inside Llewyn Davis stands out so much in their catalog: the film’s soft, empathetic appeal shines as Isaac gives one of his best performances.
“A Mighty Wind” (2003)
A mighty wind is the spiritual successor of the seditious Christopher Guest mockumentary Best of Show and follows a group of 60s folk musicians who reunite on stage for one last concert at New York’s Town Hall.
being above all a comedy, A mighty wind is dedicated to its characters and setting, sometimes even forgoing jokes to instead focus on the atmosphere of 1960s folk music. Thankfully, the performances are fantastic and pull in audiences to make up for the lack of consecutive laughs.
Amedee is a perfect symphony of explosive performances, intricate storytelling and naturally incredible music. An intense one-sided rivalry between composers Antoine Salieri and Wolfgang AmadeusMozart is at the heart of this engrossing dramatic biopic as Salieri recounts how his outlandish young adversary managed to change the world of music.
An unconventional “biopic” in the sense that it largely depicts fictionalized depictions of history, Amedee creates a caricature of his subjects to enhance their myth. Salieri’s jealous rage and Mozart’s persistent eccentricity collide beyond reality to shed light on the meaning of artistic legacy.
“Almost Famous” (2000)
Although having now been made into a Broadway musical, the original comedy-drama almost known is rather the story of an ambitious 15-year-old whose love for rock music paves the way for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with Rolling Stone magazine to interview and tour with a promising new band.
Be a staple favorite of Cameron Crowe for many, the semi-autobiographical picture is valued for its grounded characters and the precision of the coming-of-age experience. patrick runs away, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudsonand many more give authentic and inspired performances.
“It’s Spinal Tap” (1984)
One of the most famous mockumentaries of all time, It’s Spinal Tap is a perfectly satirized showcase of ’80s rock culture, depicting the fictional British heavy metal band “Spinal Tap” touring for a year with hilarious results. It really plays almost the opposite of a traditional musical, with constant biting jabs at the music world.
Being an improv parody can be risky, but luckily the core group of Christopher Guest, Michael McKeanand Harry Shearer turn their up to 11 years of comedy experience into absurd scene after scene of witty quotes and jokes.
Before Babylon came Damien Chazelle’s feature debut, and arguably his best. Whiplash lives up to his title when shy drummer Andrew Nieman finds himself lucky enough to attend a prestigious jazz academy, only to have his humanity shattered by the destructive teaching methods of his instructor Terence Fletcher.
The pairing of Miles Teller as a determined drummer and JK Simmons because the ruthless mentor is captivating. Their intensity is unmatched and has earned Chazelle a reputation for directing what many consider to be one of the greatest “artist-obsessed” films of all time.
KEEP READING: Stingin’ in the Rain: 10 of the Darkest Musicals of All Time