The List: Top 10 rock movies

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From the June 14, 2012 edition

With Tom Cruise getting all rock god for "Rock of Ages" this weekend, we're counting down the 10 rock movies that rock hardest. Rock!

10. "The Doors"

It seems like everyone has a Doors phase during, say, their freshman year of college. It's probably best to grow out of it, but Oliver Stone's band biopic gets marks for going above and beyond in recreating the band. Some points are deducted for naked dream shamans.

9. "Empire Records"

Corny and fun, we love this one just because it glorifies the only rock job that ranks below rock star: the record store clerk. Damn the man, save the Empire, indeed.

8. "Pink Floyd: The Wall"

No rock movie is more psychedelic and downright disturbing -- a hairless Bob Geldof will give anyone nightmares, drugs involved or not -- that gave life to Pink Floyd's epic allegorical opus.

7. "Hedwig & the Angry Inch"

Most of these movies tapped into our love of existing rock anthems. This gender-bending musical created its own. The soundtrack album is a great rock record, and the live performances make you feel like you're in a dingy little club. Perfect.

6. "24 Hour Party People"

The birth of Manchester, England's "Madchester" scene is documented from Joy Division to the heyday of The Happy Mondays. And it was apparently a hell of a party.

5. "Purple Rain"

It ranges from intentionally funny to unintentionally fun to sudden bursts of genuine emotion. And, let's face it, Prince rocks.

4. "The Blues Brothers"

If God would only put two miscreant musicians on a mission to get the band back together, this world would be a better place.

3. "This is Spinal Tap"

The funniest rock movie of all time succeeds in its mocking of rock star excess mainly because the excellent cast (and director Rob Reiner) does it in a way that celebrates rock star excess.

2. "A Hard Day's Night"

The music certainly isn't the Beatles' best -- early pop stuff that even Don Draper could enjoy -- but the film is a cinematic achievement that pokes fun at the band's fame with cheeky, sharp exuberance.

1. "Almost Famous"

Cameron Crowe-directed movies have always displayed his passion for music, but "Almost Famous" is the most rock-centric, and let's face it, Crowe's best film. Philip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal of infamous music critic and codeine enthusiast Lester Bangs is the standout performance among a number of great ones.