When a musical artist first comes onto the scene, their first thought is on their music. How can I make it better, how can I keep people turned on to it? After a few years (and in some cases instantly) that seductive lure of Hollywood raps on their chamber door like a wretchedly annoying raven hellbent on driving you down to Crazytown in a limousine made of powdered sugar and pixie sticks…yes, that was an obvious drug reference! Music has now taken a backseat to their more ambitious dream of rocking out on the silver screen. Now sometimes a musician really does make a very good actor (I know! It is hard to believe but it can happen) and sometimes they can’t seem to get into the groove.
This happens for many different reasons.
1. The musician/actor wants a cameo impromptu song that he/she performs sometime in the film
2. They insist on doing the soundtrack which could and most likely will do better than the movie itself.
3. They are often stereotyped from the instant their film careers begin as ie singers, ect.
4. They might just appear in a few minutes of film yet headline the movie posters.
What I’m focusing on are some of the best, worst, and minimally viewed musicians who made that big step onto the big screen, made millions, and fooled us all…but most importantly survived!
15. Lemmy from Motorhead
If you guys didn’t think he could act, well…he did do some Shakespeare. I mean, he did a rendition of the opening lines from a particularly bastardized version of Shakespeare. I actually wouldn’t even call it Shakespeare since it left me with little more than a yearning to swallow glass. The film was Tromeo and Juliet, a Troma movie productions known for it’s cheesy acting and graphic…graphic situations. Want to be damaged so badly you’ll be afraid your unborn young will be affected, check this movie out. If anything it’s worth it for Lemmy.
14. David Bowie
Oh yes! David! He is one of those rare musical icons who was so theatrical in his stage shows to actually pull off being an actor! Almost everyone remembers his brilliant performance in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, but for me it was The Hunger that proved that their was a bite behind his odd and sometimes mind-twisting bark. One of his more memorable performances was in Zoolander in which I thought he looked the best!
13. B-Rain or Rain
Even if you have no idea who this guy is, you have seen him somewhere! He’s been in a few American made movies that are kinda lame but totally worth watching for Rain! For those that don’t know, Rain is a Korean R&B singer who crossed over to English a few times and sometimes that’s all it takes! The first movie outside Korea I saw him in was Speed Racer (you know, that movie with Christina Ricci) which showed off his…English? Then their was the deep philosophical thriller that was Ninja Assassin! Guys, if you went to see this movie for something other than spectacularly violent blood splatter or kick-ass martial arts that involve decapitation…that was really stupid!
12. Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers
Flea is one of those actor types that doesn’t headline nor does he have very large rolls…but they’re ones you remember…you know, once you sit there and say “Shit! That was Flea from The Chili Peppers!” I had that moment when watching Back to the Future Part 2 & 3 and saying to myself “Dammit! Who is that guy playing the douchebag! I’ve seen him before!” That’s because you did! He was the “boss” in the future scene of the 2nd movie and the asshole truck driver in the 3rd! I was also informed he was in The Chase with Charlie Sheen as…wait for it….a truck driver!
I know that a lot of people start laughing when they see Meatloaf’s name in the title of anything but the man has a really interesting theatrical past! At least he plays more than just a singer…even though he normally plays in music related movies. One that is his most memorable, his most infamous, a staple in the cult classic genre…Rocky Horror Picture Show! That’s right! He played Eddie, a “failed” experiment of Dr. Frank-N-Furter who pops out of the freezer and sings Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul (one of the best songs in my opinion). Later in the 90’s he plays the Spice Girls’ bus driver in the girl bands adoration to themselves Spice World (it’s even sadder that Alan Cummings was in that too) but the man was born to do theatrics! Just check out I Would Do Anything For Love!
10. Will Smith
This is one of exceptionally rare artists who did way, way better as an actor! Even though his music career was nothing to sneeze at, his movie career is by far superior! This early days rapper started out in TV and then went North from there. Blockbuster after blockbuster and he contributes only a song or two to soundtracks. After the Fresh Prince battled aliens…three times now?…and he dodged about out west in Wild, Wild, West (a, dare I say, Steampunk inspired movie!) he went to pursue really dramatic stuff like Hancock, Bad Boys II, and Hitch to name a few (I’m being sarcastic, please people) but then he threw in some wonders like Ali and I, Robot. Yeah, the kids doing alright for himself.
9. Mark Wahlberg
This is actually a dual presentation. This is for the Wahlberg brothers Mark and Donnie. That’s right! Marky Mark and a New Kid On The Block! They’re brothers, they used to sing, and they both can act! Or one acts more than the other since time and age were not kind to both. Donnie got a great big break (and a “Who the Fuck?” moment from me) as a psychologically twisted paranormally haunted patient of Bruce Willis. Mark has had a far more successful career staring in hit movies such as Planet of the Apes and The Italian Job. Let’s just all be thankful they keep most of their clothes on when walking down the street even though there is nothing wrong with it…clothes are made for a reason…just saying.
8. Whitney Houston
Pre “Whitney” days, believe it or not this 80’s pop belting mega diva made a pretty decent actress when she tried. Everyone knows of The Bodyguard, that movie about a singer, and then the Preacher’s Wife, that movie about a singer. Oh! And then there was that movie where she played Cinderella’s fairy godmother in the eclectic cast of Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. In every case Whitney sings, but she also acts a little but it’s her singing that always gets the attention. And we are going to give props to our next singer for writing the greatest ballad of all time for which Whitney sang in The Bodyguard…Dolly Parton!
7. Dolly Parton
I can not and will not make fun of this woman. She is so fabulous that she tips the awesome scale to 11! She has been performing since she was a child and she always puts on a great show! Her first chops in acting was the hit 9 To 5…which, yes, she did sing the title song…and made a fortune! She also played a hair stylist in Steel Magnolias in which she doesn’t sing! Recently she acts alongside another musician turned actor, Queen Latifa who unfortunately did not make this list this time but is just as awesome! Even though Dolly has been getting up in age, I hope she continues to rock our world for many more years!
Police frontman Sting started venturing his yoga karma abilities into film early on. One of his more fleeting but very powerful performances was Feyd in Dune (if you ever want to see Sting young and fit in a “hot tub” steam thingy…it’s in this movie for like 10 seconds) and then there was The Bride. He plays Dr. Frankenstein which is a very epic performance and one of his best. His also one of the few actors in general who can do full nudity (The Grotesque) and that is so rock and roll!!
Most people can get into Cher movies since she actually tries unlike Britney Spears or Mariah Carey..and I mean that! Her first movie attempt was Chastity (a movie for which her daughter…son was named) but it was Face that bookmarked her in Hollywood’s little black book. Some of her more entertaining movies were Mermaids and The Witches of Eastwick in which she only sang in one soundtrack. Her television work is not so bad either but I’m glad she kept with her music until her…3rd farewell tour?
4. Reba McEntire
Yes, another country music star who mixed her music and movies/TV work together and made it work! She jumped into the lasso (so to speak) with TV movies and series. She’s powerful, she’s dramatic and she’s funny as hell! She’s so good that she got her own TV show ironically named Reba cause she’s awesome! Never discredit country music stars. I know they get a bad rap sometimes, but they some of the best entertainers on earth!
I don’t care if you can’t pronounce it, I don’t care if you can’t understand him…he is my everything! Gackt is a Japanese musician (so this should tell you that his acting is not perfect and mostly cheesy…but I don’t care!!) who has been made into a video game character, he is a voice actor, and has had acting roles written just for him. One of his earlier projects was Moon Child a vampire based movie with another popular Japanese singer Hyde. He then acted in a popular Japanese TV series and has been offered a role in theater. His concert DVD’s are enough though…and there worth the international shipping!
2. Frank Sinatra
Ol’ Blue Eyes was one of the first singers to ever start acting. One of his best which won him an Academy Award…AN ACADEMY AWARD people…very few people actually get those anyways…was From Here To Eternity…oh, and a Golden Globe…A GOLDEN GLOBE! Mostly his other nominations came from his musical performances and soundtracks such as his hit “All The Way” from The Joker is Wild…which won! With earlier movies, you just had to take the performance at face value since most of his movies happened before method acting (grimace), but Sinatra was awesome! One thing I miss about old school actor/musicians was the way Sinatra did it…his way!
Okay, I’m sorry to have to tell this to everyone…Elvis is amazing and awesome and I don’t have to explain that or prove! No matter what he did, no matter what he sang…it was special and…just incredible! He might not have one any awards for his movies but we all know at least one. My favorite is Blue Hawaii since I went to Hawaii and I love that drink and I love you Elvis. Rock and roll!