10 Reasons Most Musician Biopics Are Soulless (And Thus Pointless)

Movie stars make lousy rock stars. Whether it’s Tom Hiddleston crooning like a mortally wounded Hank Williams or Dennis Quaid pretending to fall in love with his underage cousin as Jerry Lee Lewis, musician biopics always sing the same tune: a unique life reduced to a cheesy three-act plot arc. Cartoonish depictions of substance abuse compete in cringyness with the off-key singing of actors in wigs.

When rock legend David Bowie died in 2016, millions if not billions of fans around the world mourned. Barely had the stardust settled on his coffin when preproduction on a biopic started. Like a committee of vultures, studios and labels were quick to capitalize on our real grief with a movie providing commercialized nostalgia. Despite ample reels of footage depicting actual rock gods slaying on stage, viewers are continually subjected to actors doing greenscreen karaoke. Here are 10 reasons why some biopics, especially ones where movie stars play musicians, don’t have as much soul as they could…except for Almost Famous.

Photo: Orion Pictures

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