You love their music and envy their success, but sometimes behind all of the glamour and fame lies pain and heartbreak. Rock stars seam to have it all; money, women or men, big cars, slick duds and the grandiose personalities to go along with it. Thankfully, we the viewing public have been blessed with the opportunity to see inside the private lives of some of the most legendary (and maybe one or two pathetically comical) musicians like Tina Turner, Loretta Lynn, Jerry Lee Lewis and David Cassidy. There is a plethora of films devoted to the airing of rock star dirty laundry, but these are some of my favorites.
What’s love got to do with it?
When you’ve got talent like Tina Turner, not a whole lot. Co-written by Miss Turner and MTV’s Kurt Loder, this movie chronicles the rise of the ageless Anna Mae Bullock i.e. Tina Turner. From a church choir in the Deep South to the highest reaches of celebrity, this lady has been through it all. With nary a wrinkle or sag, she has truly earned her position on Divas Live. After being discovered by Ike Turner, who would eventually become her abusive bastard husband, Anna Mae became Tina and the group became the “Ike and Tina Turner Review.” Angela Bassett plays Turner to perfection and was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award, while Ike is portrayed by the very talented and slightly scary Lawrence Fishbourne. Finally Tina kicks Ike’s ass in the back of a limo and it’s almost impossible not to want to stand up and cheer. This is a must see whether you like Turner’s music or not.
Coal Miner’s Daughter
stars Sissy Spacek as the shy country bumpkin who becomes the country music superstar Loretta Lynn. Tommy Lee Jones plays her semi-emasculated husband Do (pronounced Doo) who can’t seem to understand why his wife can’t just stay home on the farm and have like, 10,000 of his babies. What he fails to see is that Loretta’s got a song in her heart that just can’t be stopped! This movie has one of the best country and western soundtracks around and also features Patsy Cline as Loretta’s friend and mentor. If you haven’t seen this movie, your taste is highly suspect and I certainly wouldn’t tell anyone if I were you.
Great Balls of Fire
The story of Jerry Lee Lewis is pure Jerry Springer. With his 13-year-old bride – a cousin no less – and his televangelist cousin Jimmy Swagart Lewis’ story has all the cliches of Southern life at its best. Dennis Quaid and Winona Ryder play Mr. and Mrs. Lewis to perfection. The wild piano stylings of Jerry Lee Lewis make him a great entertainer and his private life makes him just plain great entertainment.
C’mon get Happy: The David Cassidy Story
is probably not available at your local video store but if you happen to catch it on VH1, you won’t be disappointed. Cassidy wrote and directed this ego stroker and the result is hilarious. The audience is supposed to feel sympathy for David by the end of the film, but all I felt was sympathy for anyone who had to work with this asshole during his 15 minutes of fame. Poor David had to be on the “Partridge Family” instead of becoming the rock and roll star he felt he was destined to become. When he eventually falls from grace and into the throes of depression and alcoholism the movie becomes really good. His eventual rise like a Phoenix from the ashes to become the Las Vegas headliner he is today is bittersweet. I would have preferred he end up in porno like the kid from “A Christmas Story” and “The Toy.”
So, as we say at my house, “October is Rocktober,” so go out and find yourself a good bio-pick to satisfy your washed-up rocker craving.