Music Journalists In Film
Miles Ahead tells the story of Miles Davis, one of the greatest jazz musicians who ever lived, and explores the relationship between fictional Rolling Stone journalist Dave Brill (Ewan McGregor). This type of relationship and depiction of music reporters in film has graced the screen before in diverse and interesting ways; so look no further, we’ve rounded up a few of the most memorable ones!
Director Cameron Crowe was inspired by his own exploits as a teenage writer for Rolling Stone when he wrote the script for his 2000 film, Almost Famous. The story centres on a 15 year old William Miller (Patrick Fugit), his adventure on the road with fictional rock band Stillwater, and his budding friendship with their number one groupie Penny Lane (Kate Hudson). The story is simple, sweet and full of thrills but what really resounds with the audience is how exciting this world is through the young boy’s eyes as he grows up in this unique way.
Most of us won’t ever tour with a rock band or be a groupie, but we can sing Elton John’s Tiny Dancer with our eyes closed and pretend we’re on the tour bus with them.
Rock of Ages
Based on the hit musical of the same name, the story revolves around a young aspiring rock star Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough), who moves to LA to make her dreams come true.
Enter a young bartender, Drew (Diego Boneta), who helps her find her footing, a job in the club where he works and an introduction to a slew of wacky and memorable characters such as the two club owners (Alec Baldwin and Russel Brand), and a conservative bigot (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who leads a protest to oppose the club’s upcoming Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) concert.
Cruise’s performance as an iconic rock star is itself iconic, and it’s his scenes with Rolling Stone writer Constance Sack (Malin Akerman) which stand out as she confronts him backstage and accuses him of being a pale version of his former self. There’s sparks that fly and music that plays and it’s a whole lot of fun.
This is a bit of a weird one. In 1991 Val Kilmer was directed by Oliver Stone in a biopic of the seminal band led by Jim Morrison. Aside from the ups and downs, the drugs and the love he and Pamela Courson (Meg Ryan) shared, the film delves into the occult. Yes, you read that right. Morrison and music journalist Patricia Kennealy met for an interview in 1969 after which they became lovers and subsequently married in a Celtic Pagan ceremony.
The film does take some liberties with the portrayal of these events, portraying more wiccan ceremonies than actually took place, but nonetheless theirs was a relationship that stemmed further away from the usual reporter-subject one. The real life Kennealy-Morrison served as a consultant during the film’s production and even has a small cameo as the woman who marries the two in the film.
This 2009 drama stars Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal as has-been country music star Otis “Bad” Blake and up and coming music journalist Jean Craddock, who meet and strike up a relationship. Crazy Heart once again draws on that intriguing trend of a writer’s fascination with his or her subject.
Blake deals with his alcohol addiction and strives to turn his life around in light of his newfound reason to better himself.
Christian Bale plays Arthur Stuart, a young journalist sent to expose the truth behind the disappearance of 70s famed glam rock star Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) following a staged death at one of his concerts 10 years prior. In his quest he talks to various important figures in Slade’s life, his wife Mandy (Toni Collette) and insane American rocker Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor).
The film delves into sexuality and the glam rock scene of the 70s with Stuart acting as our way into the world, becoming obsessed with uncovering the truth and his own infatuation with Slade coming to light.
Adapted from the Nick Hornby novel of the same name, High Fidelity tells the tale of Rob Gordon (John Cusack). He owns a record store, he can’t seem to fully commit to one woman for long but is distraught after his girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) breaks things off with him. He manages to win her back, but once again proves he’s just not a nice guy, and starts up a fling with a music columnist.
A cult classic, this film has an incredible soundtrack and is quite a tenuous link to the music journalist world, but definitely worth a watch!
Miles Ahead is out in UK cinemas April 22nd