The best and worst movie popstars | Virgin Media
Movie popstars

The best and worst movie popstars


Get the guitar…Brent is back. As Ricky Gervais takes his band on tour in David Brent: Life On The Road (available now on Virgin Movies), we salute movie rock stars - of all abilities.


1. Val Kilmer in The Doors (1991)


They don’t get much more iconic than Jim Morrison, and Val Kilmer’s version was an extraordinary match for the singer’s charisma, movement and voice. He embodied the tragic Doors singer in this involving biopic, and it’s probably still his finest role to date. It's also worth seeing for a brilliant performance from a young Meg Ryan.


2. Jack Black in School Of Rock (2003)

The inspirational teacher got the classroom rockin’ in this witty, charming film about a supply teacher who forms a band with his delightful young students. Richard Linklater’s film is a rare thing: a subversive comedy with family appeal. And Jack Black sure knows how to rock - this man has genuine skills.


3. Meryl Streep in Ricki and the Flash (2015)


Streep’s character might have been hanging onto past glories, but she still had the rock chick look and attitude down to a tee in this nostalgic comedy-drama penned by Diablo Cody (Juno, 2007)). Streep also sang and played the guitar live in numerous scenes. Fact: her onscreen daughter was played by her own daughter, Maime Gummer. And jolly good she was too. 


4. Billy Crudup in Almost Famous (2000)


Cameron Crowe’s charming coming-of-age drama saw a young writer (Patrick Fugit) befriend a rock band on tour. Luke Wilson may have played the lead singer but it was Billy Crudup’s Russell who stole the stage - especially at the parties. ‘I am a Golden God’! he cried, while threatening to jump off a roof and into a pool. Classic.


5. Julianne Moore in What Maisie Knew (2012)


Here’s a gem that’s well worth checking out. Moore played a singer who was warring with her ex (Steve Coogan) over the custody of their kid - and she showed no signs of slowing down on the partying front. Moore is great in the stage scenes, and it's terrific to see another woman cast in the role of a rock star - we need more of these!


6.  Christopher Guest in This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

Surely the ultimate deluded, talentless heavy metal star, Guest’s Nigel is a cult comedy hero. Following a hapless fictional British band as they go on tour, the original ‘mockumentary’ shows just how much we love a musical loser. Turn it up to 11!

7.  Ricky Gervais in David Brent: Life On The Road (2016)

There's something both touching and tragic about The Office character's journey in this witty film. Cashing in his pension to fund a tour of Berkshire, David revives his band with new members who have little time for his madcap ideas and terrible lyrics. When Brent gets it wrong, he gets it spectacularly wrong - and his pop star foray is no exception.

Find David Brent: Life On The Road in On Demand > Movies > Virgin Movies


8.  Russell Brand in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

A vain rock star holidaying in the same place as his girlfriend’s ex (Jason Segel) Brand's Aldous Snow was as funny as he is weird, and the character's musical talents were debatable at best. His moronic rock star behaviour was showcased in a spin-off, Get Him To The Greek (2010), co-starring Jonah Hill.


9.  Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) 

Streep can sing badly, too - and it's really, really awful in this comical drama about the real life socialite who fancied herself as an opera singer, while nobody had the guts to tell her she sounded like a bag of cats. Opera was popular music in those days, so chronologically, this may be one of the original examples of a truly terrible pop star.


10.  Alec Baldwin in Rock Of Ages (2012)

Rock Of Ages is a joyously fun, cheesy jukebox musical starring Tom Cruise, and it's a good job Alec Baldwin's warbling character is technically meant to be a club manager, because his singing is no great shakes. This cult classic also features Russell Brand in a comical, slightly cheesy romantic duet with Baldwin, which you certainly won't forget in a hurry.