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Fascinating Obscure Film Performances by Famous Musicians

Occasionally, we get into conversations here at Flavorpill central about truly pop-culture geeky things — like, for instance, the best obscure films featuring performances from well-known musicians. The catalyst for this particular discussion was our own Judy Berman’s recent viewing of Copkiller, a straight-to-video Italian B-movie starring none other than Johnny Rotten (and Harvey Keitel, bless him). The sorry spectacle got us thinking about similar performances — either films you’ve never heard of featuring musicians you have, or films you’ve heard of that you never knew your favorite musician was in! We’ve rounded up our favorites, and welcome your suggestions in the comments.

Straight to Hell

Star turn: Joe Strummer

By Strummer’s own admission, the decade or so that followed the implosion of the Clash were wilderness years — he deputized for Shane MacGowan in the Pogues and also tried his hand at acting. He did a decent job of it, too — he was perfectly competent in Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train, but we’ve always particularly enjoyed his performance as a hitman in this enjoyably surreal Western from UK director Alex Cox (which also features, amongst others, a young Courtney Love). The film’s shambolic appeal is perhaps explained by the fact that it was made to give a bunch of musicians — Strummer included — something to keep them busy after their tour of Nicaragua was cancelled, stranding them in Spain with nothing to do.

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