At the height of Spice Girls-mania, Spice World, a Hard Day's Night-esque film released weeks after the UK girl group's breakthrough second album of the same name, attempted to help the British group invade America. Never mind the 29% on Rotten Tomatoes; the film took in more than $100 million worldwide and solidified the fivesome as one of the biggest groups of the decade.
The film follows the Girls around London as they prepare for their first live performance at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall. Refreshingly, the girls are usually in self-deprecating mode, aware of their acting skills (or lack thereof). Craziest part: Cameos by Elton John, Elvis Costello and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? detective Bob Hoskins.
Metallica: Through the Never is two films for the price of one (extremely expensive 3D IMAX) ticket. Half of the movie is a 3D concert of Metallica running through their greatest hits, while the other stars Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines) as Trip, a skateboarding roadie who goes on a quest for a mysterious bag the metal icons desperately need.
Trip navigates an urban wasteland (think Escape From New York) filled with riot police and scrappy protesters dressed up like Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. For some reason, Trip's setbacks affect the band while they're on stage. So when he's menaced by an evil dude in a gas mask on a horse, things start to go wrong for the band—James Hetfield's mic goes out, the stage falls apart and a stagehand goes up in flames.
Why? Don't ask. And don't expect to find out what's in the bag. While the plot to this film doesn't make much sense, it will undoubtedly blow your mind if you are Otto the Bus Driver from The Simpsons.
The screenplay (written by McCartney himself) finds the film's hero—Paul McCartney as Paul McCartney—searching for the missing master tapes to his new album, which may or may not have been stolen by a shady employee. For some reason, if McCartney can't find them before midnight, his entire multi-million-dollar operation gets handed over to evil corporate suits.
But instead of searching for them, Macca spends most of the movie playing music and having a fever dream set in Victorian England that involves picnicking and Ringo. It adds up to nothing, and the flimsy plot becomes supremely stupid with a "big" reveal at the end—the shady employee didn't steal the tapes, he merely locked himself in a closet. This movie should have remained locked in a closet at well.
In 2003, following the success of American Idol's first season, producers had a brilliant (no, really) idea: Take the show's winner (Kelly Clarkson) and the runner-up (Justin Guarini), put them together in Florida during spring break, and let the two popular singers belt out musical numbers. It didn't quite pan out. The film became one of the biggest bombs of the decade and shorthand code for American Idols trying, and failing, to step out past the TV soundstage.
The plot, if you can call it that, finds Clarkson as a singing waitress who falls for college student Guarini). Hijinks, as tend to happen in these sort of films, ensue. Thankfully, Clarkson would go on to a sustained singing career, while Guarini pursued a career in theatre.
The perfect case both for and against watching movies while on drugs, the Monkees' 1968 avant-garde cult film Head was the pop group's attempt to free themselves from their branding as cute, saccharine pop stars. Enlisting Jack Nicholson as a co-writer, the film has no plot, relying instead on slight gags, inside jokes and various satires. It bombed when it was first released, but has since become a favorite for underground film nerds everywhere.
The Who's 1975 companion film to their 1969 album gives one of the first-ever rock operas its proper due visual. In other words, this sh-t is crazy. Somehow, the plot of the Tommy movie is harder to follow than the story told in the already inscrutable album. Frontman Roger Daltrey stars as Tommy, a "deaf, dumb and blind kid" who beats Elton John at pinball and then becomes the center of a religious cult.
Tommy's attempt to make his followers like him backfires sensationally—for some reason, no one else wants to be forcibly deprived of their sight, voice and hearing—and he narrowly escapes a flame-fueled riot. And yeah, that's basically it. Watch Jack Nicholson as the singing eye doctor above.
The Beatles' 1967 release Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is an experimental, psychedelic masterpiece and continues to make countless Best Albums of All Time lists. The 1978 movie of the same name met with considerably less critical acclaim. Fine, it is widely regarded as one of the worst films of all time.
Starring the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton as members of the reformed Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (and, it should be noted, starring ZERO actual Beatles), the film uses the album's music as a springboard for, well, a terrible plot about magical instruments and evil music tycoons. Not even Beatles producer George Martin, who served as musical director and producer of the film's soundtrack, could save this one.
Magical Mystery Tour is a 180-degree turn from the Beatles' earlier films like Help! and A Hard Day's Night. Where once we found four mop-tops jovially running around London warding off girls and constantly smiling, Magical Mystery Tour is a time capsule into the group's acid-ingesting years. The film reflects this, as the band hops into a psychedelic bus and just films whatever happens. Some of it is mind-crushingly boring; other parts are trippy and bizarre. A brilliantly weird film.
There's a reason the title of this made-for-TV movie brings to mind Scooby-Doo Meets [Fill in the Blank]. Hanna-Barbera produced this live-action film and unsurprisingly, it plays like a dashed-off cartoon.
After a villainous engineer gets fired from an amusement park (because all amusement parks hire mad scientists, right?), he creates evil robot versions of Kiss to discredit the band while he holds the real members imprisoned underground.
His end goal? Send Evil Robot Kiss on stage and have them perform a version of "Hotter Than Hell" with vaguely anarchic lyrics in hopes the crowd will tear the park apart. Unfortunately for him, the real Kiss use their powers of telekinesis (just… don't ask), escape prison and battle their sinister doppelgangers in a fight scene that makes the '60s Batman TV show look like a Bourne movie. Enjoying this film requires either 1) Being four years old or 2) An insatiable fetish for horrendous acting, filmmaking and kitsch.
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