Music and movies are two things that have always helped people get through hard times. Here are the top ten movies about real-life musicians that you can stream right now:
10. Get On Up (2014)
It is impossible to look away from The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, during his performances because you just don’t know what is going to happen next. The film Get On Up captures this essence perfectly, thanks to the writing, directing, and a powerhouse performance by Chadwick Boseman. The film takes you through Brown’s extremely difficult past, filled with poverty and abuse, all the way to his rise to stardom. After finishing this movie, you will have multiple songs stuck in your head for days. This goes to show why James Brown is one of the most influential musicians of all time.
Stream: MAX Go, Cinemax
Rent: Youtube, Redbox, Amazon, Google
9. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
Something that makes legendary musicians so interesting to follow and root for is how unique they each are. Well, Queen is no different. The British rock band pushed limits and broke barriers that nobody else could even see, and that is what this film brilliantly portrays. The film follows their lead singer, Freddie Mercury, through the ins and outs of his musical life, as well as his personal life. The film builds tension and drama all leading up to Queen’s unforgettable performance at Live Aid in 1985.
8. Walk the Line (2005)
This film is about the life story of the legendary country music star Johnny Cash. There are very few actors that disappear so far into their roles that you completely forget you are watching a movie. Joaquin Phoenix is one of them. The film walks you through his rise to stardom and takes you all the way to him recording alongside some of the world’s most iconic musicians. One thing the film does especially well is detailing how and why Johnny Cash was able to connect to so many people through his music.
Rent: Redbox, Amazon, Youtube
7. Selena (1997)
Selena is about the tragic life story of the Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez. This film travels through Selena’s musical beginnings to the very tragic early ending to her life. Instead of focusing too much on the tragedy of her death, this film emphasizes the incredible life she lived and the enormous impact she made. Selena is brilliantly played by Jennifer Lopez, who does a great job at showing how Selena lived every day to the fullest and was always true to herself.
Rent: Amazon, Youtube, Fandango
6. Straight Outta Compton (2015)
This film is about the rise and fall of the rap group NWA. The group was composed of 3 legends of hip-hop: Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, and Icecube. The film shows the 3 artists’ struggles growing up in Compton, California and how their music not only changed hip-hop forever but changed the world. O’Shea Jackson, better known as Icecube, is portrayed by his real-life son, O’Shea Jackson Jr, who looks and sounds very much like his father. This movie is highly entertaining and makes it very enjoyable to root for these 3 hip-hop legends.
Stream: FX NOW
Rent: Amazon, Youtube, Google, Apple
5. Love and Mercy (2014)
Love and Mercy is a deep dive into the incredible mind of Brian Wilson, the lead singer of The Beach Boys. The film takes place in two segments of his life: a younger Wilson that takes place in the 60s and a middle-aged Wilson that takes place in the 80s. Both timelines interweave and complement each other wonderfully. The film highlights Wilson’s struggle with mental illness but also explores the abuse he suffered from his malevolent therapist. The main takeaway I got from this film is that Wilson’s brain is unlike anyone else’s in the world, and because of it, we all get to experience the wonderful music of The Beach Boys.
Stream: Amazon, Hulu, Direct TV, Epix
Rent: Redbox, Youtube, Google, Apple
4. 8 Mile (2002)
8-Mile is based on real-life experiences of rapper Eminem, who also stars in the film. There are scenes in this film that no matter how many times I watch them, I still get chills. The film highlights the game within the game of trying to become a respected rapper while also having to deal with endless family struggles. This film highlights one of Eminem’s iconic songs “Lose Yourself”, which won best original song at the Academy Awards in 2003.
Stream: STARZ, Direct TV
Rent: Redbox, Amazon, Youtube
3. What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993)
This film feels like two parallel roads that both have tons of traffic, potholes, and construction but if you can make it to the end then success, stardom, and freedom are waiting for you. This film highlights Tina Turner’s hard upbringing, abusive marriage, and her ability to overcome challenges to come out on top and become a star. This film is headlined by two Oscar-worthy performances by Angela Bassett (Tina Turner) and Laurence Fishburne (Ike Turner) who drive this film to the next level.
Rent: Amazon, Youtube, Google
2. Rocketman (2019)
This film is a behind the scenes look at the rise of the one and only Elton Hercules John. The film is flashy, colorful, and exciting while having all of Elton John’s legendary music sprinkled in. The film also dives into the darker parts of Elton’s past including abuse, drugs, and loneliness. Rocketman has some of the greatest musical numbers ever filmed with help from incredible special effects and editing. Topped off with an incredible acting performance from Taron Edgerton, this is a perfect film to encapsulate all that is Elton John.
Rent: AMC on Demand, Direct TV
1. Almost Famous (2000)
This film is a partially autobiographical story of Cameron Crowe, a 15-year journalist for rolling stone. He explains the experience he had going on tour with the fictional band Stillwater. This band is based on the real tour experiences of bands such as Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Eagles. This film takes you for a 2-hour journey right into the world of the 1970’s Rock n Roll lifestyle. When thinking about the many memorable performances of this film, the first one that always comes to mind is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of the quirky music journalist Lester Bangs. This film is a blend of multiple genres: drama, comedy, and adventure, all wrapped up in an unforgettable coming-of-age story.
Stream: Direct TV
Rent: Amazon, Youtube, Google, Fandango