Counterculture Shock: Recommended Watching

febrero 2, 2023



Find here the second installment of the Recommended Watching series, a section in our blog which tries to bind together whatever topic we have finished and some cool movie that somehow deals with that topic. I believe it’s the perfect way to actually soak in a language and the culture inherent to the countries speaking that language.

Topic # 5, in aiming to cover “culture and art” as a broad concept- has been heavily focused on performance arts and, especially, music, therefore I cannot but wholeheartedly recommend watching three films, each of which is a work of art in my modest opinion.

1) Let us begin with Alan Parker’s “The Commitments“, a SUPERBLY written, directed, and acted film. I guess Stephen Frear’s “High Fidelity” is the usual pick when choosing a film about music, but it cannot, in my book, hold a candle to 1991 “The Commitments”. Never was too crazy about John Cusack (you should watch 1990 The Grifters yesterday, though!), and maybe there’s a little too much focus on the guy’s romantic affairs to my liking, but I might remember wrong. Anyway, there’s enough to satisfy us music nerds, and there are great records and music introduced to curious, interested newbies. So, what the heck, watch that too!

Back to The Commitments. Reasons to watch it? Well, it is fun from beginning to end and, while showing late 80s Ireland’s tough reality, it is a film to be enjoyed by anyone who is enthusiast about both music and English and it does feature great musical performances by that motley gang, The Commitments. But, enough said, I won’t spoil the fun of watching this awesome flick by giving more details. Just watch it and tell me what you think about it. You can thrash it of course if you don’t like it, but, pleeze, just after having watched it.

2) How could I not include 1984 “This is Spinal Tap” in the list? It is a cult movie among musicphiles everywhere and I remember reading about it all the time in Rock magazines I would buy circa 1990/1991, but since it was not a film you could easily find in video stores at the time, I didn’t get to see it until the internet (and thus, the file sharing/ illegal content downloading days) era. Having read, as I said, about it, I knew about many of the gags/sketches/jokes/funny anecdotes in the film, but that didn’t prevent me from cracking up at ALL of them, as it is a hilarious film, indeed. The plot? Well, to cut a long story short, it is about a British Hard Rock/ Heavy Metal band, way past their prime, recording in and touring the US in hope of reviving their past glory and, err, kind of failing in such an attempt. It definitely makes fun of the excesses of the so-called Rock Dinosaurs of the 60s and 70s. Ever heard of the saying “too old for Rock n’ Roll”? Well, this flick is the embodiment of such a disheartening statement. But ALWAYS in a humorous tone.

Won’t try to spoil it, but one of the myriad lines which stick from the movie? “What’s wrong with being sexy?” Hahaha. You’ll get it when you watch it.

3) The third and last film I’m gonna recommend if you haven’t seen it already is a rather recent one, 2014, Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash. Wow, I downright loved this one. How can a band director be such a tyrannical monster? Regardless of whether you are interested in Jazz music at all or not, I urge you to watch this one. Great music to be found here in, but above all, a SUPERB story, awesomely performed by the lead roles. So good it feels like an insult that it didn’t get the Oscar in the 2015 Academy Awards ceremony (it went to the rather overrated “Birdman” instead).

Well, I think this can be enough for the moment. What about you? Do you know any movies about music that you could recommend to me? Eager to hear from you!