A look at some of the worst rock films ever

August 18, 2013 

For a few months now, the indie rock-loving world has been nervously anticipating "CBGB," the upcoming movie about the Bowery dive where American rock 'n' roll was reinvented.

The casting made a lot of people anxious. Rupert Grint as Cheetah Chrome? Sting's gorgeous daughter Mickey Sumner as Patti Smith? I don't think so. Even Alan Rickman as CBGB owner Hilly Kristal seemed like an odd choice.

The trailer was released last week, and it hasn't quelled my apprehension. Even a two-minute trailer makes the film look trite and boring. Legs McNeil, the co-founder of Punk magazine (which is where the musical genre got its name) and an integral member of the CBGB scene, posted an article on his website that called "CBGB" "The worst movie ever made."

Even allowing for hyperbole, that's a pretty outrageous statement, especially because McNeil had only seen the trailer. Even if it's only vying for the title of the worst rock 'n' roll movie ever made, "CBGB" would have a lot of tough competition.

Here's my list of all-time worst rock films. In October, we'll see where "CBGB" ranks.

10. "Phantom of the Ritz." Filmed largely at the Ritz Theatre in Tampa and featuring a lot of local actors (plus Peter Bergman of Firesign Theatre) this could be the least-scary horror movie ever. It's about strange goings-on at a theater that hosts shows by people like the Coasters.

9. "Can't Stop the Music." You wouldn't expect a movie directed by Nancy Walker and starring the Village People and Bruce Jenner to be any good. But still ...

8. "Satisfaction." Justine Bateman got top billing over Liam Neeson, Julia Roberts, Deborah Harry and Steve Cropper in a cliche-riddled tale of a teenage band trying to make the big time.

7. "Stay Away, Joe." Elvis made a lot of mediocre movies and handful of really good ones. Only a couple were truly awful, and this may be his worst. The King plays a Native American rodeo champ. Social commentary mixed with slapstick and some mediocre songs.

6. "Suck." Alice Cooper, Moby, Alex Lifeson and even Iggy Pop can't save this dismal and aptly titled film about

a rock band that turns to vampirism to make it big.

5. "Light of Day." Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett play siblings, which is pretty far-fetched in itself. They want to get out of their industrial hometown by making it big with their rock band. Mom disapproves and wants them to get real jobs. We've never seen that plot before, have we?

4. "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini." The "Beach Party" movie franchise had worn out its welcome long before this last entry. Even Buster Keaton is terrible in this one.

3. "Hold On!" Lots of British invasion bands tried to make their own "A Hard Day's Night." This was Herman's Hermits' attempt. Let's just say it wasn't as good as "A Hard Day's Night."

2. "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park." Laughable made-for-TV drivel that gave the Kiss boys superpowers.

1. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." If "CBGB" is going to win the title of the worst movie ever made, this would be its biggest hurdle. Tons of talent (Peter Frampton, the Bee Gees, Steve Martin, Aerosmith, Earth, Wind and Fire, etc.), great songs, of course, and a embarrassing experience for cast and audience.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.

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