Rock on Film--Fred Goodman's breezy, opinionated and affectionate salute to the ever-expanding sensibilities, attitudes, ethos and excitement of rock music in motion pictures--is a lavishly illustrated coffee-table book, showcasing both crowd-pleasers and buried treasures. Although he profiles 50 films, twice as many are introduced, given that each entry is paired with a brief write-up of another film in a "Make it a double feature" sidebar. Elvis Presley's Jailhouse Rock is paired with Hustle & Flow; American Graffiti with That Thing You Do!; and the James Brown biopic Get on Up with Tina Turner's What's Love Got to Do with It.
Goodman (Why Lhasa de Sela Matters) expertly blends backstage tales of how the films were made with commentary on how they resonate with him. Jam-packed with beautiful, full-color photos, this guide also includes Goodman's excellent interviews with five film directors. Taylor Hackford recalls firing Phil Spector from The Idolmaker; Jim Jarmusch explains why he casts so many rockers in acting roles; Cameron Crowe discusses directing Almost Famous and Singles; Penelope Spheeris talks about her punk documentary trilogy, The Decline of Western Civilization; and John Waters chats about the music of his films.
Profiled films include tongue-in-cheek treasures (This Is Spinal Tap, Rock 'n' Roll High School, Hairspray, The Blues Brothers, The Rocky Horror Picture Show); outstanding documentaries (The Black Godfather, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, 20 Feet from Stardom); concert films (Stop Making Sense, Woodstock, The Last Waltz); and films that are merely set in the music world. Rock on Film is a delightful and illuminating photography book. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant