The Best Of A Bad Idea: Aging Actors Playing Aging Rock Stars, Ranked

With Ricki and the Flash set to pound our eye and ear holes I thought it would be a good time to look back at other aging rockers – LIST MODE – because that’s what I do. It’s not just shopping lists for me, sometimes it’s also “people to kill” or “drugs that still need trying.” If you think about it, a list is both a great way to compile information AND a way to avoid the pesky segue problems that can come with only writing in your diary.

It’s often been said that all actors want to be rockers while all of those who rock also want to act. There’s been plenty of crossover too, from Jack Black to Joaquin, and then back again to Jeff Bridges. Heck fire, even Taylor Swift has acted, and no one rocks harder than that sweet thing. So consider acting and rocking to be branches from the same tree and let me take you on a little journey … a little journey of imagination.

UNRANKED: Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll

I haven’t seen it because that’s around the worst title for a show I’ve ever seen, and I include Mike and Molly in that hot take. Regardless, Denis “Who misplaced the other S” Leary plays a guy called “Johnny Rock.” Okay, this seems impossible. Was this one an Internet meme I wasn’t privy to?

UNRANKED: This Must Be The Place
Take it away, Wikipedia!

This Must Be the Place is a 2011 European drama film directed by Paolo Sorrentino, written by Sorrentino and Umberto Contarello (it) and released in the U.S. in late 2012. It stars Sean Penn and Frances McDormand. The film deals with a middle-aged wealthy rock star who becomes bored in his retirement and takes on the quest of finding his father’s tormentor, a Nazi war criminal who is a refugee in the United States.

Hmmm. Odd that didn’t totally work.

10. Jersey Boys
This film tells the story of The Four Seasons with all the ham-fisted eloquence of a paper plane in mid-flight being set on fire by a flamethrower. To say Director Clint Eastwood has lost his fastball is probably a step too far – can he even see the plate anymore? When he filmed this he was 106 years old, and it features The Four Seasons aging throughout, until, in the climatic scene, they wander out on stage to eat their pudding. You should see this film, it’s pretty solid, I think you’d dig it.

9. Almost Famous
The haters out there will be saying, “But yeah, Bill(y) Crudup was only 32 when this came out. What gives?” I’ll tell you what gives, Vince’s mom, but there’s also a lot more going on under the surface here. First off, Crudup is knocking off a 20-year-old Kate Hudson in this, so he’s cheating on his cinema wife (not pictured). Then, only three years later, Crudup jettisoned his real-life, SEVEN MONTHS pregnant wife Mary-Louise Parker, age 39, for Claire “Homeland” Danes, who was 24. You keeping track of those numbers at home? 12 years older than Hudson in the movie, then 12 years older than Danes IRL. Life imitates art and imitation is the highest form of flattery! Now if that’s not an old-man Hefner style of rocker move I don’t know what is. So anyway, I’m including him. Deal with it.

8. The Runaways
Michael Shannon plays Kim Fowley, a fella who might have been a rapist. They also play that song “Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb” around 18,000 times. Only Michael Shannon is old here, but he’s aged enough for the entire cast.

7. School of Rock / High Fidelity
Wait, Jack black is an “aging rocker?” Yes, in comparison to the class he’s teaching. It’s all relative, right? Got you on a technicality. I’m only including High Fidelity because I wanted to mention the band Sonic Death Monkey, easily the greatest cinematic band name ever. 2nd place is “Jem and the Holograms.”

6. Great Balls of Fire
Dennis Quaid as Jerry Lee Lewis! We all know about the cousin-banging, sure, but did you also know the below happened:

Yup. I do that dance every morning before I take my BM.

5. This is Spinal Tap

How does one comment on a film that is purposefully ironical and silly? Easy. One doesn’t.

4. 24 hour party people

Steve Coogan is music exec Tony Wilson here, but the film has versions of The Sex Pistols and Joy Division here too. Plus, no one here has seen this movie so I can pretty much say whatever I want. It’s a goodie though, an oldie but also a goodie.

3. Walk the Line

Joaquin! Joaquin in Memphis! This was an ACADEMY-AWARD-WINNING performance so you know it was pretty serious. As cynical as our current political climate has gotten, sometimes I think we need to remember that Phoenix did a pretty nice Johnny Cash. Plus, he eventually admitted I’m Still Here was a horrid idea. Scoreboard.

2. Rock of Ages
Tom Cruise is the ultimate rocker deity here, bedding down with Constance Sack, a name that literally translates to “Always balls.” I’ve always felt this was a pretty dead-on Axl Rose impression, but then again my favorite GnR song is “November Rain” so I may not be the best judge. You almost want to knock the musical aspect here before you realize that Alex Baldwin and Russell Brand would make an excellent couple.

1. Love Actually
This is what an aging rocker role should be. Bill Nighy was a sturdy 54 when this was released, or around 19 years younger than Mick Jagger. He’s irreverent, admitting of selling out, dismissive of boy bands, and finally, in the end, he bros out with his longtime manager. A tour de force of Old-Man rocking. If it gets better than this, then we’ve already bagged and tagged it in the wild.

I’ve probably missed a couple thousand films, including What a Girl Wants, The Doors, Josie and the Pussycats, and Bloody Mary 3D, so feel free to just get very intense in the comment section, y’all!

Laremy loves rock, but more the southern kind, like R-A-W-K.