FILMxFIVE: The Top Five Children-led Bands in Movies!
by Tom Fuchs, Digital Media Manager
With this Friday’s arrival of Sofa Cinema title We Are Little Zombies, it’s time to celebrate the time-honored tradition of kids forming a musical outfit in cinema. There are few more joyous expressions of the human condition than music, and when combined with the mathematical formula that adding children to a movie makes things 12.75x more adorable, you’ve got a recipe for movie magic!
1. Linda Linda Linda
(dir. Nobuhiro Yamashita | Japan | 2005)
If you had to put money on either the heat death of the universe or me ceasing to go hard in the paint for Linda Linda Linda, put the house on the former. Difficult to obtain in the US (*whispers* that’s the entire film embedded above), this story of a group of Japanese school girls (and the Korean exchange student who suddenly is enlisted to be their lead vocalist) preparing to perform at their school’s cultural festival is cinematic serotonin!
Available on YouTube (see above).
2. We Are the Best!
(dir. Lukas Moodysson | Sweden/Denmark | 2013)
One of my favorites from the Milwaukee Film Festival’s past (the 2014 vintage, to be precise), Lukas Moodysson’s adaptation of his wife’s graphic novel is filled with all the energy and empathy one would hope for from a story of a teenage trio forming a punk rock outfit in 1980’s Stockholm.
Streaming now on Hoopla and various other platforms.
3. Bugsy Malone
(dir. Alan Parker | UK/USA |1976)
Question: has their ever been a better idea in the nearly century and a half of cinema’s existence than a lavish movie musical about gangsters in the Prohibition era where the cast is entirely comprised of children? It helps when your music is all crafted by the genius that is Paul Williams (Phantom of the Paradise, The Muppet Christmas Carol*). Put modern day Scott Baio out of your mind, and enjoy this deeply entertaining (and deeply, deeply odd) musical now that it is readily available in the US!
*The best cinematic adaptation of the Dickens classic, FWIW.
Streaming now on Amazon Prime, Pluto TV, and various other platforms.
4. Sing Street
(dir. John Carney | Ireland/USA/UK | 2016)
How do you top crafting a tender musical released to almost universal acclaim that won the Best Original Song Oscar? If you’re Once director John Carney, you swap out the stirring soul-searching of adulthood for the yearning/horny/angry that is young adulthood and fill it to the brim with absolute knock-out pop songs. Will I ever come to terms with Sing Street being shut out of the Best Original Song category? *Scowls in the direction of La La Land* Unlikely.
Streaming now on Tubi, the Roku Channel, and various other platforms.
5. School of Rock
(dir. Richard Linklater | USA | 2003)
If you allow me the technicality of the band’s leader being an adult in a state of arrested development instead of a literal child, it would be impossible to leave Richard Linklater’s winning comedy off this list. A lovely marriage of Linklater’s indie instincts with a mainstream sensibility, it’s no wonder that this movie was the smash success it was, spawning a stage musical and Nickelodeon TV spinoff. Lovably gruff adult lead surrounded by cherubic, talented tots is a time-tested formula for cinematic success!
Streaming now via HBO and various other platforms.