With nostalgia at an all-time high, these are the old-school flicks that inspired pipe dreams of starting a band.
by Gabby Sgherri
During the last year, we’ve all had a sense of nostalgia for simpler times. One way we’ve satiated those nostalgic hunger pangs is to time-travel from the comfort of our own home and watch movies from our youth. It always brings back that fuzzy déjà-vu feeling. And what’s better than the golden age for music, film, and fashion: the 2000s? It was the era of girl and boy bands—Spice Girls, Blink 182, and Green Day was in heavy rotation on our walkmans. It wasn’t just the music industry obsessed with bands though, movies during that time inspired teens everywhere to start their own band. If Josie and The Pussycats could do it, why couldn’t you?
We dug through the DVDs we used to rent back in the day and curated a list of the movies that made you want to start a band. Grab some popcorn, and cue the nostalgia.
Rock Star is loosely based on the true story of Tim Owens, who was the lead singer of Judas Priest. Mark Wahlberg stars as Chris Coles, an office supply salesman who idolizes the rock band Steel Dragon and plays in his own tribute band. In true Hollywood fashion, Coles’ wildest dream comes true and he replaces the lead singer of Steel Dragon. Watching Rock Star brings back the nostalgia of motorcycle jackets, leather pants, bedhead hair, and black eyeliner that dominated rock’n’roll at the time. This was also peak Jennifer Aniston era, who plays Coles’ girlfriend, for any Friends fans.
Rachael Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson, and Tara Reid star as normal teenage girls playing in a local girl band. They’re frustrated with the limitations of living in a small town until their luck changes and a pop music executive offers them a record deal. Our teenage selves are living for all the cultural references in this movie—box TVs, MTV Total Request Live, low-rise jeans, and frosted lip gloss. For two hours, it feels like we’re back in the early 2000s rooting for these small-town girls and debating if we can pull off cat ears. The movie was ahead of its time with the plot being a social commentary on the commoditization of celebrity personas and bands. Cook, Dawson, and Reid recently reunited to discuss all things Pussycats—including the social commentary and fashion—for the film’s 20th anniversary.
Anna Kendrick plays as lead character Beca Mitchell who heads off to college uninterested in a degree. She’s musically inclined, thinking she wants to become a producer but ends up in the schools all-female a capella group. The theatrics of a 5+ girl band are in full force with some comedic relief as they battle it out against other a capella groups. One of the most memorable moments from this movie was Mitchell’s a capella version of “When I’m Gone” with a plastic cup. The song became so popular it hit #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts.
Set in 1973, 15-year-old William Miller is an avid rock fan with dreams of becoming a music journalist. His life takes a turn when he befriends veteran groupie Penny (Drew Barrymore), scores an assignment for Rolling Stone Magazine and goes on tour with a rock band. The nostalgia of rock bands is real with tour busses, groupies, parties, and sold-out stadiums in full force. While Miller may not be in a band himself, Almost Famous is a cult classic that makes you want to live the rockstar life.
The Spice Girls were the ultimate pop it-girl band of the ‘90s and naturally, this means they had to have their own feature film. Victoria Beckham, Mel B, Emma Bunton, Geri Halliwell, and Mel C star as themselves preparing for the biggest gig of their career at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Shot in the VHS days, the film is full of bright colors, platform boots, and original Spice Girl Music. From the fashion and to the dyed hairstyles, this movie will no doubt take you back in time to the ‘90s.
The Rocker takes a comedic approach to band life, following failed ‘80s drummer Robert Fishman, played by Rainn Wilson. Fishman gets a second chance when he joins his nephew’s high school band. A drumming practice in the nude leads to Fishman having a viral internet moment—pre-TikTok days—and signing a record deal. While he might not be the Travis Barker of Blink 182, Fishman will have you laughing as he lives out his drummer dreams in headbands and leather pants.
Any Lindsay Lohan fan will remember Freaky Friday because it was one of her best movies. She stars as Anna Coleman, an angsty teenager who only cares about her band, her friends, and boys. A heated argument between Coleman and her mother at a Chinese restaurant leads to the duo waking up in each other’s bodies the next day. Nothing says 2000s like chokers, highlighted hair, and black nail polish. Lindsay Lohan served as a style and music inspiration as she lived out her band dreams and navigated her tumultuous relationship with her mother. Relatable.