People who are primarily musicians sometimes show up in movies as actors.
I was reminded of this when I was just listening to Seven Nation Army, and it occurred to me that Jack White was in Cold Mountain, which, if I remember correctly, I think I liked. He and Meg were, of course, also in Coffee and Cigarettes.
Here are some of my favorites.
1. Tom Waits — Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola)
When I think of musicians who rock as actors, the first thing that comes to my mind is Tom Waits as Renfield.
“Oh, yes, A KITTEN!!!!!!”
Tom Waits absolutely rules this scene with gripping groveling drama and hilarity.
2. Iggy Pop — Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch)
I think Johnny Depp and Billy Bob are the funniest in this scene, but Iggy Pop makes a hell of a pot of beans, dressed up real perdy in a dress and bonnet.
3. Cher — Mermaids (Richard Benjamin)
This is one of my favorite movies. I love it because I love coming-of-age stories of all kinds, and this one dives into the complex dynamics of mother-daughter relationships and unconventional lifestyles. Why have I never read the book?????
Well, I will.
This is definitely a two-way street: Winona Ryder is dynamite here too.
Another of my favorite movies is Moonstruck with Cher. This scene from Moonstruck has nothing to do with musicians, but it’s a hell of a performance.
(BTW, if you think Nicolas Cage is a piece of shit blockbuster hack with blinding white caps, you need to see Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Hooooooooooly shit is that a good fucking movie.)
4. Bob Dylan — Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Sam Peckinpah)
This isn’t a Cher-level performance or anything, but it’s a helluva musician and a helluva director.
5. Jim James & Calexico — I’m Not There (Todd Haynes)
Speaking of Bob Dylan, this isn’t acting, exactly. It’s a cameo. But this performance in the Dylan biopic is one of the most beautiful scenes in the entire film. Which is 135 minutes of beautiful scenes.
1 + 2 = Bonus: Pop and Waits — Coffee and Cigarettes (Jim Jarmusch)
I love this scene because it’s so hard to stay quit. I’ve said this all: “Since I quit, I feel awesome” and “I feel sorry for those fools who still smoke” and “Now that I’ve quit, I can have one.” And what Iggy says at 4:22….
I’m both forgetting and unaware of a ton. What else? Please share your favorites in the comments.
Top image by Judy van der Velden