After watching an awful movie last night called The Rocker, I began to think about some of the truly fantastic movies that incorporate the culture of hard rock and heavy metal, while utilizing the culture to create interesting characters and themes. Here are 10 Hollywood movies that exhibit these qualities.
Factors included in the rating schematic: a main character must be in a rock band or obsessed with the rock culture, a non-documentary, and if it is on television you just can’t change the channel no matter how hard you try.
1. This Is Spinal Tap  Obviously, this has to top the list given the aforementioned criteria. I think it is a sin to place this movie any lower. Every parody, joke, or mocking of heavy metal has its roots in this Rob Reiner classic. [amazon.com]
2. Wayne’s World  I forced my parents to take me to the movie theater at least 4 times for this one. Michael Myers is a genius for creating this concept and it puts Austin Powers to complete shame (don’t get me started on The Love Guru). The timid and awkward character of Garth Algar by Dana Carvey is brilliant as well.
3. Almost Famous  This is an excellent film and is one of two non-comedies on the list. The music is good (“Fever Dog”), the acting is great (Jason Lee), and the lines are classic (“I am a golden god…I’m on drugs”).
4. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure  Before Keanu Reeves was a big dumb ass, he was a little dumb ass in this amazing movie. I love how it combines a history project with Iron Maiden and Van Halen references. Bonus feature: George Carlin!
5. Airheads  I think I have seen this movie more than any other movie (aside from Three Amigos). Brendan Fraser, Steve Buschemi, Adam Sandler, the writing, and directing are all highly mediocre in this flick, but it has that bit of rock magic to make it a classic…there is a cameo by Lemmy in addition to Dio and Van Halen references.
6. School of Rock  The main reason I dig this flick is because it combines learning with hard rock music and as a social studies teacher, that is something I can appreciate. “Cel-lo, you’ve got a bass.”
7. Beavis and Butthead Do America  I drop about 40 IQ points every time I watch these characters or think to respond to someone in real life with a Butthead laugh or an “I am Cornholio” impression.
8. Rock Star  Not a great movie, but it does feature the hard rock culture rather well. After all, the movie does feature Zakk Wylde, Jason Bonham, and Jeff Pilson.
9. Rock N’ Roll High School  I never appreciated this movie until I was in high school and began to understand the power of punk rock led by icons The Ramones. The principal in this flick still gives me nightmares for some reason.
10. Detroit Rock City  This movie flat out sucks but I can’t help but watch when it appears on the movie channels, as long as I have nothing else to do of importance. I would never ever physically put a DVD of this movie into my player because that would be too much work, but at the same time I am uncomfortably drawn to this Kiss tale.
Movies that didn’t quite make the list include: Little Nicky , High Fidelity , and Dazed and Confused .