Thursday, March 04, 2010

Post #4 10 Reasons Why Singers Should Not Act

Regardless of how self-congratulatory the movie industry is at Oscar time, gloating at their ability to create art that touches, informs, and effects the way the masses think, the bottom line is...the bottom line. Movies are made to make money. Period.

SO what better way to assure your movie will make money than by casting a singer who already has a fan base? Hollywood has had the same idea since the beginning, when they cast Al Jolson in the first talking movie, "The Jazz Singer." Spurred on by its success, this concept has become a perennial favorite, though sadly, more times than not these movies bomb.

For every "Hard Day's Night" "Lady Sings the Blues" "Eight Mile" or "Cadillac Records" which brings critical and popular acclaim , there are many more that are not just off the mark, but hysterically BAD!!!!!! Let's check out a few....

Fastest Guitar Alive
Fastest Guitar Alive stars the late great Roy Orbison, as a guy with the enviable position of having a gun built into his guitar. Who hasn't wanted one of those at one time or another! Roy, minus his trademark shades, reads his lines like a knock off Elvis. Just a very sad vehicle for one of pop music's most poignant balladeers.
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Pure Country
In my mind, a better title would have been "Pure Sh*t." George Straight has the acting range of a walking coma victim in this turkey about a successful country singer who leaves fame behind to get back to his roots. Yup, its awful.
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The Jazz Singer
There is so much wrong with this film I don't know where to start, but when Lucy Arnaz is the "hot chick" in it...whew, you know you have problems!

But as wrong as this movie is, perhaps the wrongest scene is this one, where Neil Diamond slaps on black face (in an excruciating homage to Jolson) to try and "pass" for black in a black club. That in itself is uncomfortable beyond belief, until the movie becomes even more insulting to people of color by suggesting that black audiences will beat the ever loving crap out of white performers who try to infiltrate their scene. Watch here as Diamond starts a race riot in a black club.
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Cool as Ice
In regards to my last entry, if there had ever been a time when a Black audience would have beaten the ever loving crap out of a white performer trying to infiltrate their scene, I wish it would have been with Rob Van Winkle's debut, whenever it was he first started doing his Vanilla Ice shtick. I would have paid money to see that. Perhaps that would have spared us this obnoxious abomination.
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Alice's Restaurant
Arlo Guthrie once said, "I only made one movie...because I saw it..." And that one movie would be this one, Alice's Restaurant, an awkward foray into the hippie anti-war movement of the 1960's. Like Orbison, this is a waste of Guthrie's considerable talent and humor. And I gotta say, seeing one of my heroes wandering about in his jockeys is just too unsettling, even for a free-thinking liberal like me.
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Sgt Pepper
As bad as the aforementioned movies have been, when they were over, they were forgotten, and their stars went back to their musical careers, relatively unscathed. So when a movie can sink the career of not one act but two....well that's a fustercluck of the highest magnitude! Peter Frampton and The BeeGee's were two of the most successful recording acts of the 1970's. Frampton Comes Alive and the BeeGee's soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever both broke sales records that had been set several decades before. And yet, when the dust had cleared from this gawd-awful rock opera fantasy based on Beatles classics, these guys were has-beens.

I can't tell if Frampton is crying in this clip or auditioning for a Visene commercial.
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You may be asking yourself the logical question, "if singers can't act, can actors sing?" Well not if you're Jack Nicholson and Oliver Reed! Check out this clip from Tommy, where Nicholson single-handedly ruins the Who classic, "Go To The Mirror" and Oliver Reed chimes in towards the last, just because its not awful enough hearing Nicholson screw up one of the Pete Townsehend's greatest melodies alone!
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Monster Dog
Poor Alice Cooper. Back in the 80's when this film was shot in Mexico and released directly to VHS, he couldn't get arrested. Keep in mind, he had a song in Sgt it may have been part of that curse too. Here, Alice is the title character in Monster Dog...sort of a "were-dog" story. Lon Chaney -he ain't. The only thing less convincing that the cheesy special effects, is his acting. Yet another hero gone down in flames....
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Beer for my Horses
What can I say about Toby Keith, other than the only character I can imagine him playing convincingly might be Bluto in a live action Popeye movie. Taking the same formula as most of his crappy videos, Toby stacks the deck to show he's the alpha male by hiring a Country comic, Rodney Carrington as the goofy but lovable sidekick with a gun. Its a waste of Carrington's comedic talent, and even a bigger waste of the audience's time.
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Anything with Elvis
No, "Anything with Elvis" isn't the name of a some little known movie starring the one time King of Rock and Roll, I'm talking about every movie he ever did! There I said it! Who wants to take me on? How did the man who defined rockin' coolness for generations to come turn into the greatest crapfest perpetrator of all time? The following clip is so bad, it actually makes me want to join PETA.
click here for clip