Pop music has a large impact in society and many people, so much so that it has been a subject in various films. These films show how a band or musician has risen to fame, the story of their struggles and their triumphs. Many of the general public show a large interest in pop music culture, as evidenced by the large amount of exposure of celebrity and music in magazines, newspapers, radio, television and internet. The film could be about fictional band or a real life band, a true story, partially based on a true story or completely fictional.
Old bands from the past reforming to making new records and concerts happens quite often, with bands returning like Take That, New Kids On the Block, Spice Girls and Boyzone. These are usually old favourites who come back for their old fans and also to gain some new fans. The film Still Crazy follows the plight of former members of fictional rock band ‘Strange Fruit’ trying to reform and organise a comeback reunion concert at the last venue they had played at. The lives of the members have changed a lot following the original disbanding, being in ordinary jobs and living in various places. As Strange Fruit journey together on their road to becoming a band again, they learn that things can never be the same again, but they still manage to pull through and play their gig.
Almost Famous is a film about a teenage boy who follows a rock band as part of a journalism assignment for Rolling Stone magazine. It is a semi-autobiographical film based on director Cameron Crowe’s own experience as teenage journalist. William Miller is the character in the film, who is sent to report on a Black Sabbath concert, but instead ends up travelling with another group called ‘Stillwater’, where he gets a hand-on insight into the world of groupies, drugs, sex and all the dark side to rock music fame. He becomes close to one particular groupie, nicknamed Penny Lane, who is the leader of ‘Band-Aides’, yet she soon becomes troubled with her lifestyle and attempts to kill herself at one point, but is rescued by William.
The film Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny shows a fictional story in which Jack Black escapes his highly religious family in the pursuit of becoming a rockstar. He meets Kyle Gass, who pretends to be a famous rockstar, but when Jack finds out the truth that he is actually poor, bald and unemployed, they decide to work together as a band. They then find themselves searching for the mystical and secret ‘Pick of Destiny,’ which they believe will help them become the greatest rockstars, as well as having a musical duel with Satan. This film is quite light-hearted and comedic, and although it may not be entirely realistic, it shows the great lengths that some people will go for their musical fame.
S Club’s Seeing Double is a sci-fi look at how people can use other’s people’s talents and fame to their own selfish advantage, as an evil scientist clones many celebrities, including S Club themselves, to make much money. Dreamgirls is an example of how sex and looks can sometimes be seen as more important in the selling of music, as the boss of the girl band replaces stout but strong singer Effie for the more attractive and slimmer Deena Jones as lead singer. Idlewild, set in the 1930s, has the story of Percival, a piano player and singer, who originally works in a morgue, and manages to pull through many trials and tribulations, including the death of his fellow singer girlfriend who was caught up in a shooting accident. In the end Percival leaves his hometown Idlewild to pursue his musical dream.
These films and many others with the same themes of representing pop music, help give viewers have some sort of insight into what goes on behind the scenes with musicians and their lives. Whether completely realistic or containing a fantasy or sci-fi element, they do well to portray the issues in pop music, whether good or bad.