10 fantastic music biopics that you may not know

Films you might have missed but need to see.
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Fresh out of Brown University, and pursuing his Masters at Bard College, Todd Haynes got this odd notion. He would chronicle the life and tragic death of pop superstar Karen Carpenter in a short film, and he would use Barbie dolls to portray the characters. Now, part of this was purely practical. After all, who are you going to get to portray Karen Carpenter? But the gimmick suited the story to a tee.

Karen, as you may know, was a drummer. She preferred sitting hidden behind her kit. She didn’t necessarily object to singing, but she was never comfortable standing out in front. That was not permissible in the 1970s (and it still may not be today), so she was effectively forced to be something she was not. The parallels to the way Barbie was force-fed into the culture are apparent.

To this day, it remains difficult to see Haynes’ 43-minute movie. The Carpenter family didn’t like it. Haynes didn’t bother with music releases. (Music releases, by the way, are the single most complicated legal issue in any movie. If you ever hear of a film’s release being delayed, the culprit is invariably music releases.) It keeps popping up on YouTube and then being pulled. If you do come across it, watch it. It is well worth the 43 minutes.