WHEN ROCK STARS MAKE MOVIES
THE GOOD, THE BAD, and the JUST PLAIN UNWATCHABLE

VOLUME ONE

As bad as it is when actors torture us with their singing (Jennifer Love Hewitt, David Hasselhoff, and even Robert Mitchum), it's even worse when music stars think they can act.  With only very few exceptions do rockers who act work out in any kind of way that produces a watchable experience.  


THE ALLNIGHTER starring Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles

Sure, you knew from the incredible depth Hoffs displayed when singing "Walk Like An Egyptian" that a movie career was unavoidable.  This film was so badly received, I recall one major critic focusing on how small her breasts were instead of the movie itself.  At least Joan Cusack was in it to give the film something halfway decent.


BUSTER starring Phil Collins

Not too bad of a film to watch on video, as Phil stars as a thief who pulls off a great train robbery, but the audiences decided to avoid this one like the plague, as it grossed an embarrassing $540,000 back in 1988.  Thankfully the Mike and The Mechanics movie idea was scrapped shortly after Phil tanked with this one.


BRIMSTONE and TREACLE  starring Sting

It'd be easy to nail Sting for DUNE or THE BRIDE, but his intelligent charm comes off well in the right films like Brimstone and Treacle.  Sting plays a con-man who worms his way into a strangers house and has sex with their invalid daughter.  A wickedly twisted role that Sting did a fantastic job with. Check it out on video if you can find it.

 
BOYZ N THE HOOD starring Ice Cube

Ice Cube's role in BOYZ IN THE HOOD marked one of many successful films he's stole the show in, including FRIDAY.  His brooding performance added much needed street cred to balance out Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s presence.

 
UNDER THE CHERRY MOON starring Prince

Purple Rain was a fantastic "film" with amazing concert footage featuring Prince and Morris Day in their prime.  So he threw it all away with a follow up that apparently had no demographic whatsoever.  This amazingly dull "20s style" drama/"comedy" was an exercise in boredom.  Prince went back to his roots and made another concert film, SIGN O' THE TIMES, which was well received, but then fucked it all up again in 1990 with the Purple Rain "sequel" GRAFFITI BRIDGE.  Thankfully, he's stayed away from film ever since.


COOL AS ICE starring Vanilla Ice

After his blazing hot cameo in TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES 2: THE SECRET OF THE OOZE, why not give Vanilla his own starring vehicle?  Horribly miscast as a sort of James Dean with Down's Syndrome, Ice turns out one of the most pathetic movie performances since...well since The Allnighter at least.  Matt from X-E wrote a great review of this film with pictures you can READ HERE.


DISORDERLIES starring THE FAT BOYS

It was just like The Three Stooges, only with black guys that weren't funny.  You know a film is bad when Shemp would have been a better actor!  One of the Fat Boys ended up getting in trouble later on for videotaping a rape, which was only slightly more traumatic of an experience than watching this mess.


MONSTER DOG starring ALICE COOPER

There could not have been a more appropriate title for this beast.  This barely budgeted "horror" film uses a bad vampire dog puppet as the antagonist.  Alice has been in some other films, and was effective as Freddy Krueger's dad in an installment of the Elm St. saga, but this movie is about as gratifying as a monster dog humping your leg.


RUMBLEFISH with Tom Waits

Sure, it's just a cameo, but Tom Waits was great as a pool hall owner in this under appreciated gem that also stars Mickey Rourke and Matt Dillon.  The whole film is shot in black and white, save for a scene with a fish, which is a nifty trick, too.  Waits was also fantastic as Renfield in BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA.  


VIBES starring Cyndi Lauper

Ugh!  A film featuring 3 hours of graphic butt sex between Carrot Top and Jm. J Bullock would have more chemistry than this monstrosity. Jeff Goldblum, who's about 8 feet taller than Lauper seems to be waiting for a paycheck as he rattles off his lines while Lauper's high pitched cartoony voice makes your ears bleed.


LABYRINTH with David Bowie

There's some diehard fans out there that absolutely love this movie, but I'm not one of them.  But that's no fault of David Bowie, who's creepy personality make him an excellent choice as The Goblin King, as well as other movies like THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, THE HUNGER, and THE MAN WITH THE FREAKY 2 COLORED EYES.  Sadly, Bowie turned down an offer to star in the porno version, LABIARINTH.


POETIC JUSTICE starring Janet Jackson

Though she gained some weight and got a kickin' great ass for the movie, John Singleton's follow up to BOYZ N THE HOOD was a complete fiasco.  Every member of the Jackson family just has an inexplicable creepiness that doesn't translate well to the screen (see Michael Jackson in THE WIZ).  Janet actually found fame as an actress, first, as a bit player in "Good Times" and "Diff'rent Strokes" (as Todd Bridges girlfriend), and it's her strength in comedy roles that made her watchable in the NUTTY PROFESSOR 2.


GLITTER starring Mariah Carey

Only Mariah Carey could play herself in a movie and fuck it up.  The film and soundtrack's failure prompted Sony to buy out her contract and send her packing.  


SHANGHAI SURPRISE starring Madonna

I could devote an entire article to the bad films of Madonna, but SHANGHAI SURPRISE is definitely the worst.  Film made by or co-starred with real life couples always tend to suck.  But a Madonna film with no nudity is like watching an Ozzy concert with no blood.  George Harrison produced this mess, and even sang the title song, to because he was apparently jealous of all the shitty movies Ringo got to make.


THE RIGHT CONNECTIONS starring MC HAMMER

What better way to bounce back from bankruptcy than to star in a direct to video movie about a guy who helps 3 annoying white kids become rap stars!  I haven't seen the film, but I hear that he has sex with Melissa Joan Hart 4 different times, including a scene with butter and a pineapple that has to be seen to be believed!  (OK, Vestron Video just paid me $100 to say that so they can recoup their losses with increased rentals).


FREEJACK starring MICK JAGGER

As if having Emilio Estevez in the film wasn't already the kiss of death, someone figured it'd be cool to have Mick Jagger as a futuristic hit man.  Sure, he's just like The Terminator, only as a skeletal 80 year old British guy!  You can see that Mick even gets billing above Rene Russo, who's not even mentioned on the poster art!


VIDEODROME with Debbie Harry

Debbie is great as a super kinky video vixen that seduces James Woods in this David Cronenberg classic.  This has to be the best film with a woman putting a cigarette out on her tit, since the rare 1984 movie, SHIRLEY HEMPHILL PUTS A CIGARETTE OUT ON HER TIT.  



GRIDLOCK'D starring TUPAC SHAKUR

We'll end this article with an exceptionally good film starring Tupac Shakur that few people have seen.  Tupac's acting skill was showcased wonderfully as he and Tim Roth (who's chemistry is remarkable) play two heroin junkies who decide to quit and go to a detox program, but encounter about every obstacle imaginable.  It's one of those movies with hilarious shocking scenes like PULP FICTION that works very well.  

Come to think of it, it seems that of all the music star types that give movies a try, the rappers seem to do it better than anyone.  Ice Cube, Ice T, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and of course, Wil Smith have done fantastic jobs with the movies they've done, with only few exceptions.  

Now if we could only keep Jennifer Love Hewitt from recording another album, the world would be a perfect place.

COMING SOON!  ROCK STARS IN MOVIES VOLUME TWO featuring Cher, Jon Bon Jovi, Elvis, Fabian, Dee Snider, Meat Loaf, and Ringo Star!

-Robert
webmaster@retrocrush.com