(‘Cause Entertainment Weekly‘s Top 5 list this week was fictional rock bands. I thought: why not do them one better? I make no claims to some of these fictional musicians’ greatness, but anyway, here goes.)
10. Sex Bob-Omb (Stephen Stills [Mark Webber], Kim Pine [Alison Pill], first Scott Pilgrim [Michael Cera], and later Neil Nordegraf [Johnny Simmons], Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World)
So far down on the list because Entertainment Weekly actually included these guys, as they rightly should: they’re awesome. They’re such perfect… whatever it is they are. And I realize they’re supposed to be somewhat mediocre, but I rock out to “Summertime” and “Garbage Truck” harder than I do to a lot of allegedly popular music nowadays. (I’d include Michael Cera’s other fake rock band, the Jerk-Offs or whatever they’re going by of Nick & Norah, but I don’t feel like we got enough of their music to really judge, and that would just be my latent “aw Michael Cera” at play. Besides, they don’t have a proper name, so.)
9. The Clash at Demonhead (Todd Ingram [Brandon Routh], Envy Adams [Brie Larson], and Lynette Guycott [Tennessee Thomas], Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World)
And these guys are supposed to be the too-cool sellouts, but I mention them for the following reasons: I am trying to be inclusive in my pet canons, I do heart Brie Larson, I love Tennessee Thomas as per she is the RL drummer for The Like (and does other awesome things), and I will admit, as I have many times before, that “Black Sheep” is my jam.
8. (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, Once)
They don’t have character names in canon. They don’t have a band name in canon. Their canon is gloriously proper-nameless, and I don’t care, because damned if they don’t make the most beautiful music that there could be. And damned if it’s not still something that punches me in the heart. And they get to count because they actually cut a recording. (And make music IRL.)
7. Robin Sparkles (Robin Scherbatsky [Cobie Smulders], How I Met Your Mother)
Aside from Barney’s (Neil Patrick Harris) suit song, Robin Sparkles was one of the first things I saw of How I Met Your Mother. I still haven’t seen it all (it’s become a thing to turn a random episode on using Netflix Instant when there’s twenty minutes to kill, but that’s a process) but I’ve seen all of the glory of Robin Sparkles and her awful Canadian teen pop. Hilarious, ridiculous. Exactly what it needs to be.
6. Blind Mag (Magdalene DeFoe [Sarah Brightman], Repo! The Genetic Opera)
It’s hard to draw the lines with sung through canons sometimes, but Blind Mag is completely a pop star. And I love that in the semi-apocalyptic-but-not future, opera is like pop music. Even if it’s bastardized, ridiculous opera. I just think that’s awesome. Blind Mag is my girl, really, and I feel like I would be into weird industrial opera-rock-pop-what-the-hell even outside of a rock opera canon, so that’s neat.
5. Dingoes Ate My Baby (Oz Osbourne [Seth Green], Devon MacLeish [Jason Hall], two other guys, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
And here, we have another gloriously, intentionally mediocre rock band. These guys were really just around to provide Oz banter and a soundtrack for the Bronze, but they provided the best soundtrack for the Bronze that there could possibly have been. Perfect late-90s semi-garagey rock, oh yes.
4. Du Jour (Travis [Seth Green], Les [Alex Martin], DJ [Donald Faison], and Marco [Breckin Meyer], Josie and the Pussycats)
I would not listen to these guys IRL. I was never into boy bands, period. But they are just so perfectly ridiculously what they are supposed to be. They’re perfect for a movie boy band.
3. Josie and the Pussycats (Josie McCoy [Rachael Leigh Cook], Melody Valentine [Tara Reid], and Valerie Brown [Rosario Dawson], Josie and the Pussycats)
I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time to mention to you all how much these guys were my fifth-sixth grades jam. I had friends who had divvied them out between us (I was Mel, which… I’m not sure why, in retrospect, but I did “ditz” occasionally in grade school casting, probably because they were so ridiculous they were nice by default and I’ve been the Nice One a lot; looking back, I’m really more of a Val, but hey) and we were even them for Halloween. My mom made us ears and tails. These tunes are still just insanely addictive in a weird way, and I still know them way better than I ought to.
2. The Wonders (Jimmy Mattingly [Johnathon Schaech], Lenny Haise [Steve Zahn], Guy Patterson [Tom Everett Scott], and, ah, T. B. Player [Ethan Embry], That Thing You Do!)
Again, perfect at being what they’re supposed to be, as is the movie itself. And “That Thing You Do” is a damn catchy tune.
1. Stillwater (Russell Hammond [Billy Crudup], Jeff Bebe [Jason Lee], Larry Fellows [Mark Kozelek], and Ed Vallencourt [John Fedevich], Almost Famous)
How else to top this list? As they are the most perfect fake rock band of my soul, in my most loved movie of forever. My friends and I wanted to be their Band-Aides so bad when we were thirteen. We’d turn the 6-track Stillwater album on repeat in the backyard and drink diet Coke out of plastic martini glasses all night and just… be. Because good fake musicians are entertaining within their context, but great fake musicians are ones you actually listen to just for fun.
–your fangirl heroine.