This weekend brings the sequel Pitch Perfect 2 to theaters, featuring a wonderful showcase of music created by Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld and more. Their group The Barden Bellas trots around the globe in an effort to win the world championships of a cappella. Their slick mash-ups and catchy harmonies have made them a sensation on the big screen, and Kendrick even turned into a radio hitmaker with her cute song “Cups.”
But The Barden Bellas aren’t the only musical groups on film that know how to jam. There are plenty of other fictional bands from cinema that give us a toner (a musical boner). Below, I’ve rounded up my picks for the Top 15 Best Bands in Movies. Did your favorite big screen musical group make the cut? Find out after the jump!
Before we begin, understand that this is only a countdown of musical groups. Therefore you won’t find solo artists like Bad Blake from Crazy Heart, Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Dewey Cox from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Breathless Mahoney from Dick Tracy, Alpa Chino from Tropic Thunder or Djay from Hustle & Flow. Also keep in mind that this is completely subjective, so you’ll have to sound off in the comments when you inevitably disagree with my picks. With all that out of the way, here we go!
#15. The Barden Bellas & The Treblemakers from Pitch Perfect
Key Members: Barden Bellas – Beca (Anna Kendrick), Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), Chloe (Brittany Snow), Aubrey (Anna Camp), Cynthia Rose (Ester Dean), Stacie (Alexis Knapp), Lilly (Hana Mae Lee); The Treblemakers – Bumper (Adam DeVine), Jesse (Skylar Astin), Benji (Ben Platt), Donald (Utkarsh Ambudkar)
Their Best Song: Bellas – Price Tag/Don’t You (Forget About Me)/Give Me Everything; Treblemakers – Bright Lights Bigger City/Magic
The list just has to begin with these two battling a cappella groups. I couldn’t choose just one of them since they both bring incredible mash-ups to the stage. The rosters for each of the groups get changed up a bit for the sequel, with Hailee Steinfeld being the biggest addition to the Bellas, and Bumper still being estranged from The Treblemakers, but they still deliver plenty of aca-awesome tunes, even if the sequel as a whole doesn’t measure up to the quality of the first film. At the very least, these groups can run circles around those kids from Glee.
#14. The Folksmen from A Mighty Wind
Key Members: Alan Barrows (Christopher Guest), Jerry Palter (Michael McKean) and Mark Shubb (Harry Shearer)
Their Best Song: Old St. Joe’s Place
Though you may know The Folksmen best from their appearance in A Mighty Wind, the folk trio actually originated on Saturday Night Live in 1984. They also popped up in The Return of Spinal Tap, the documentary chronicling a real concert put on by another fictional band you might see elsewhere on this list. What’s great about The Folksmen is that they’ve become such an incredible parody of real folk groups like as Peter, Paul & Mary and The Kingston Trio that they ended up being invited to a genuine folk festival held at UCLA in Los Angeles. That’s just awesome.
#13. Steel Dragon from Rock Star
Key Members: Chris “Izzy” Cole (Mark Wahlberg), Kirk Cuddy (Dominic West), A.C. (Jason Bonham), Ghode (Zakk Wylde), Jörgen (Jeff Pilson)
Their Best Song: Stand Up and Shout
Before Mark Wahlberg found a Transformer, he found a gig leading an 80s metal rock band in the 2001 film Rock Star, and the fake band he joined was made up of an actor (Dominic West) and three guys with a long history on real stages (Jason Bonham, Zakk Wylde, and Jeff Pilson). The story is actually based in part on the real life story of of Tim “Ripper” Owens, the lead singer in a Judas Priest tribute band who was actually chosen to replace singer Rob Halford when he left the real Judas Priest. Wahlberg doesn’t do his own singing, but this band rocks pretty hard, leather, long hair and all.
#12. The School of Rock from School of Rock
Key Members: Dewey Finn (Jack Black), Zack Mooneyham (Joey Gaydos Jr.), Katie (Rebecca Brown), Lawrence (Robert Tsai), Freddy Jones (Kevin Clarke) and Tomika (Maryam Hassan)
Their Best Song: The School of Rock (Zach’s Song)
Dewey Finn (Jack Black) may have illegally posed as a substitute teacher to round up this group of musically talented kids, but we’re pretty glad he did. Thankfully they didn’t go with their original band name, The Bumblebees, because this group teaches one hell of a lesson in jamming as The School of Rock. All the kids in the band played their own instruments and did their own singing, which makes this band that much cooler. Plus, they even had a little 10-year reunion concert back in 2013, which should make you feel pretty old.
#11. Wyld Stallyns from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Key Members: Ted Theodore Logan (Keanu Reeves), Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter)
Their Best Song: Unknown
Not many bands from the big screen can say that they assembled in order to save the world, but that’s exactly what happened with Wyld Stallyns, all after a time traveling adventure through history. What started as a hopeless dream for these lazy teens Bill and Ted turned into a legacy that made them heroes. Death even ended up joining the band at one point! Even though we haven’t heard any of the band’s music from the future, Rufus reassures everyone during their first real concert, “They do get better.” Be excellent to each other, dudes and dudettes.