Classic Rock Stars in Movies: And the Winner Is...

You would think with all their experience on stage and touring and meeting all kinds of people, that rock stars would be more-than-likely to give it up good on the big screen, but alas, it's a fact: Rock star film acting, for the most part, really sucks. Now look, we love The Who. We love Roger Daltrey. But we have to ask what the heck was going on with that performance in "Tommy"? Couldn't they have hired some high school theatre director to help him out with his lines? And we're afraid, very afraid, to get into what Gene Simmons was all about in the 1984 sci-fi/Tom Selleck bomb "Runaway". Cringe-worthy doesn't even begin to describe...

There is some good stuff out there though, and here are the five best.

5.) Huey Lewis as the teacher with the bullhorn in "Back To The Future". When Michael J. Fox and his band audition for the dance, Huey cuts him off mid-song with a curt-but-almost-sympathetic "You're just too darn loud." We know: it's only a cameo, but perfectly delivered.

 

 

4.) The Ramones in "Rock 'n' Roll High School". You're gonna say "Hey, they didn't really do any acting." We say, "Thank God!". Still, it's a fact: if there's any group in the world capable of inducing nuclear-blasting levels of pure, dumb fun, it's The Ramones. We'll take 'em any day of the week.

 

3.) Prince in "Purple Rain". Mysterious, struggling, carefree, demanding, magnetic, ruthless, charming, insecure. It's his sheer God-given and gotta-put-it-out-there talent that takes (let's face it) a Grade B film and elevates it to legendary immortal status because...well, he's Prince. At the top of his game, too!

 

2.) George Harrison in "A Hard Day's Night". OK, again, is he acting? What's the difference. George's timing and line deliveries are absolutely the best of all of The Beatles in their movie debut, most notably the scene where a commercial casting director tells George he can be replaced. Without missing a heartbeat, George drolly responds "I don't care", which pretty much sums up teenage angst no matter what century you're living in.

 

1.) David Bowie in "The Hunger". Finally, a rock star that can actually act! You even forget who you're watching during this superb creep-fest, as Bowie's rapidly aging vampire character gets desperate to stay in the game. *** Spoiler Alert***: The scene where he slashes a young girl to death while she's playing violin for him, ranks as one of the most frightening (as well as disheartening) in modern movie history. Even weirder, you feel sorry for him afterward as he slowly dies off. No other rock star's done that on-screen, proving (once again!) that Bowie was always the amongst the most brave.

 

'Til next time, "Action!"