Feb 032014


In honor of the great (and now stupidly frustratingly dead) Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose Instant Offense acting chops managed to raise even Almost Famous, one of the most grating, ass-kissing movies I’ve ever had the displeasure of sitting through, let us celebrate music critics, as portrayed on film.

Both real and fictional music critics appearing as characters in movies are eligible. Real critics playing themselves are eligible, but they must appear in a dramatic film, not as talking heads in an actual rock documentary. Critics appearing as themselves as talking heads in mockumentaries, however, are eligible for inclusion.

Since this is likely to be one of our more exclusive Last Man Standing competitions, multiple portrayals of the same critic are eligible, provided you specify a new film.

Got that? So, Lester Bangs, as portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman in Almost Famous is OFF the board, but I can think of at least 3 other critics who appear as movie characters. I’m sure you’ll think of more!

[NOTE: I dug up the 2009 interview Hoffman did with Terry Gross on Fresh Air that’s stuck with me through the years. Click here to listen. At the 20:30 mark, Hoffman starts talking about sports then addiction. I wanted to high five that guy at that point and still wish I could.]


  10 Responses to “Last Man Standing: Music Critics on Film”

  1. misterioso

    No fan of Lester Bangs. But a fan of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Very sad, and a real shame.

  2. Ben Fong Torres in Almost Famous.

  3. Could this be my dream of the shortest Last Man Standing ever? We’ll see. To help prime the pump, if there’s anything more left in the tank, I give you Jann Wenner, playing Rolling Stone editor-in-chief Mark Roth in Perfect, a movie he produced:


    I can’t actually allow this entry, because this Mark Roth character is not acting as a music critic in the movie, but as the magazine’s editor-in-chief urging John Travolta’s character to pursue a hard-hitting piece on fitness clubs, with the movie-going audience’s expectations of a full-on investigation of the women’s shower. The audience’s expectations were not fulfilled, but you get the idea. I don’t recall if Ben Fong Torres actually appears as himself in Perfect, but it’s possible he or another writer from that period does show up in the film.

  4. ladymisskirroyale

    How about Steve Coogan as Tony Wilson? Maybe he wasn’t just a music critic, but he certainly did a lot to discuss, produce and basically launch many a band.

  5. Agree that Almost Famous is a massive suck-up, but it is nowhere near the self-satisfied smug wankfest The Boat That Rocked. What a pile of slop.

  6. Actually, it probably is. Both are dreadful.

  7. Ah, yes! That movie was released as Pirate Radio in the US, and it did give me a similar kiss-up vibe!

  8. Yes, he was an entertainment journalist and talk-show host. Good one!

  9. Ben Fong Torres was the one other music writer on film I had in mind. The other one is still sitting out there unclaimed, from one of the most important rock movies in RTH history. Come on, andyr, this one’s right up your alley!

  10. Suburban kid

    I was going to say Rob Reiner. Spinal Tap. LMS. But he was more film director than rock critic. But according to the credits, at least one character fitting the description was in the movie:

    Zane Buzby – Rolling Stone Reporter

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