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    Battle of the Fictional Bands: The Best Bands in Film We Wish Were Real

    There are musical films like "Walk the Line" that tell the story of legendary real-life musicians, and then there are those like "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story," that, while perhaps equally legendary, bring to life new, fictionalized musical talents. In the case of one of the more well-known fictional bands of all-time, Spinal Tap from "This Is Spinal Tap," the band ended up becoming something of a reality. After making their film debut, Spinal Tap actually went on to record a few albums and even embarked on concert tours. Is the experience of Spinal Tap something of an anomaly? Has Hollywood missed out on opportunities to capitalize on a potentially successful musical acts from film that could have been something more than just fictional? If so, what bands/artists from film might have made it in the musical industry?

    • This is an exciting and intriguing topic. My favorite is "Stillwater" from Almost Famous, which is almost the prototypical 70s rock n rock band. – Sean Gadus 5 years ago
    • I sort of love this topic! I'll admit, I'm a big sucker for transmedial narratology and anything that blurs lines between fiction and reality, so this just pushes all the right buttons. Two more "anomal-ish" examples that come to mind are The Monkees and Hannah Montana, although they operated as almost an inverse of Spinal Tap, being conceived from the outset as both TV characters AND actual pseudonymous touring musicians, as opposed to Spinal Tap having (as you mentioned) only beginning to tour in response to the success of the film. Honestly, I think leaning into the anomalies might make for a more fruitful and thought-provoking discussion than what might otherwise read a bit like a Buzzfeed-esque list of micro fan-fictions about "what if Dewey Cox/Conrad Birdie/Llewyn Davis/Stacee Jax/School of Rock/Hedwig and the Angry Inch/Stillwater/Chum Bukkit/Mouse Rat/etc were real." Anyway, just some food for thought. Looking forward to reading the finished article! – ProtoCanon 5 years ago
    • I’m not going to lie, I don’t think I’ve ever genuinely thought about this topic. But I would have loved to see school of rock tear it up as a kid, Jack Black is something else. – ShaniaRachelle 4 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    Nice exploration of these characters, and good choices. Reading through this article got me thinking about some of my favorite fictional teachers.

    One that came to mind for the “good teacher” category: Prez from HBO’s The Wire. He’s the kind of teacher who has no truck with “teaching to the test,” and who goes the extra mile with his students, stimulating their learning by building the class curriculum around his students’ unique interests.

    For “In Between”: Dewey Finn from School of Rock. Definitely a shady character who lies his way into a lucrative teaching job that should belong to his friend, and which he is grossly unqualified for. However, like Mr. Keating, he ends up providing his students with a unique and rewarding creative outlet that was otherwise lacking in their lives before he showed up. Even if his motives and execution were selfish and questionable, I still think he did more good than harm.

    For “Bad Teacher”: Kenny Powers from HBO’s Eastbound & Down. This rude, crude, ex-major-league-baseball-player-turned- PE Teacher basically has zero redeeming qualities when it comes to teaching. His methods are as horrifying as they are hilarious.

    Lessons from Our Favorite and Least Favorite Fictional Teachers

    Generally couldn’t agree more with your arguments. Star Wars has always been better at keeping the stakes high in comparison to the MCU, right from the very beginning with the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi at the hand of Darth Vader. Although I’d say there’s aspects to be admired in both franchises, this reason probably plays a significant part in my own relatively higher level of excitement for a new Star Wars movie over a new MCU movie (in addition to the fact that Star Wars Episodes are fewer and farther between than MCU entries).

    Interesting that you should mention Lost though among these other offenders. Despite the fact that it ended with a pseudo-dream sequence, alternate reality re-set, or whatever the heck was going on there, it seemed like big characters were constantly getting killed off by that dang island throughout the run of the series. This uncertainty in regards to the safety of the main characters was something that I thought the series did pretty well, and one of the many things that kept me tuning in from week to week. Although I may be in the minority here, I didn’t feel cheated by Lost overall.

    Cheating Audiences with Fake Sacrifices

    Cool analysis. Big fan of the mumblecore genre in general as well as most of the directors and movies mentioned in the article. I appreciated the insights here.

    One thing I was surprised by was the mention of “Tiny Furniture” and the flack it got for its inclusion in the Criterion Collection. I didn’t know it had this kind of reputation. I vaguely remember watching it quite a few years back and thinking it was decent enough. As I can’t exactly remember a whole lot about the movie though, a re-watch may be in order. My curiosity is certainly piqued in regards to the fuss it appears to have stirred up.

    Mumblecore's Place in Cinematic Realism