By the way, I’m leaving Country Strong out of this list, since I haven’t seen it yet:
Number One: Coal Miner’s Daughter
Number Two: Sweet Dreams
Before her premature death, poor Patsy Cline worried about an early demise, and when she was badly injured in a car crash shortly after releasing her song I Fall to Pieces she joked about what might happen to her following her next single – Crazy. Jessica Lange was Oscar-nominated for her role in this biopic.
Number Three: Walk the Line
Number Four: Crazy Heart
Number Five: Nashville
This drama is all very Robert Altman – episodal, with multiple storylines and an improvised feel, providing a window on a place and an era (the 1970s to be precise).
It depicts the country music industry and also presents a picture of US politics at the time.
Number Six: Shut Up and Sing
When Natalie Maines from Texan trio The Dixie Chicks spoke out against George Bush at a gig in London’s Shepherd’s Bush a few years ago, she received death threats from people in certain US states. This documentary charts the band’s emotional journey through this difficult phase in their career.
And how can I mention the Dixie Chicks without mentioning the hilarious video for their song Goodbye Earl – which stars Jane Krakowski, Lauren Holly, Michael Deloise and Adrian Pasdar. So cheeky, so controversial. Check it out.
Number Seven: Down From the Mountain
This Bluegrass band documentary was inspired by the Coen brothers’ film O Brother, Where Art Thou. The musicians who recorded songs for the film’s soundtrack are filmed rehearsing for and performing in a Nashville concert, and it features performances from country greats such as Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss.
Number Eight: Honkytonk Man
Clint Eastwood stars as a hard-drinking 1930s country musician travelling with his admiring young nephew to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. Eastwood also directed.
Number Nine: Love Can Build a Bridge
Number Ten: Rhinestone
A country and western star bets that she can turn a loud-mouthed Brooklyn cab driver into a singer in two weeks. It doesn’t matter that it’s not the greatest film in the world – it stars Dolly Parton so belongs in my Top ten. Sly Stallone co-stars.