Gee, wasn't our annual music fest nifty? All that strutting and fretting to ensure the 300 unknown bands who played this year's North by Northwest (NXNW) will quickly become 300 unknown bands who played last year's NXNW. We're so jazzed, we're straight to scarf an eye 'n' earload on this quartet of unfairly unknown music-movie treats:
Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying All Those Terrible Things About Me? (1971)--The ever-keen Ula Grosbard (Straight Time, True Confessions) directs Dusty Hoffman as a neurotic singer-songwriter losing his marbles in a Manhattan penthouse. Terrific tunes by Shel Silverstein. Kinda like Great Jones Street meets Citizen Kane.
Candy Mountain (1987)--Ultra-wiggy Rudy Wurlitzer (whose grandad birthed that noisy fuckin' jukebox) penned this cult honey, wherein nerdy, would-be rocker goes looking for the world's greatest guitar maker. A "road movie," strewn with odd-ball cameos by Leon Redbone, Joe Strummer, Tom Waits, and others at whom the sonically hip will gladly peep.
Privilege (1967)--Peter Watkins made this icy, mod period piece about an Iggy Pop-like star reduced to dyspeptic pawn by the Government. Cool sounds, and Antonioni-like headliners Paul (Manfred Mann band) Jones, and super-model Jean Shrimpton. Presaged the silly US rock flick Wild in the Streets, and the Orwellian motherlode of A Clockwork Orange.
Payday (1973)--Rip Torn's best ever. He's a latter-day Hank Williams wannabe on the inevitable downward slide. Super sharp script by Don Carpenter, with ace direction by the underrated Daryl Duke.
Chase these with Potter's Lipstick on Your Collar, DePalma's Phantom of the Paradise, and Dr. Seuss's The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, then get thee back to band practice.