To Silver Lake regulars of last decade, there was no coulda-woulda-shoulda rock ’n’ roll story more heartbreaking than the Movies.Â Blessed with a distinctive post-punk/New Wave sound, deliciously subversive songs and an incendiary live show, the Movies were also cursed with band drama, much of it revolving around enigmatic, volatile frontman Timothy James. They did their Silver Lake apprenticeship around the same time as their pals Silversun Pickups, released three albums between 2003 and ’09 and then broke up, eventually being featured in a documentary that appropriated a Movies song title for its own, “Pass the Music.”
Now comes the scripted Web series – based loosely on the travails of the Movies – has made its debut on Maker.tv. The series is a joint venture between the online video content provider Maker Studios and fashion brand NYLON, and it’s billed as “the young, beautiful, carefree and messy of Eastside LA.” The cast includes Francesca Eastwood (Clint’s daughter) as a scene blogger; Sarah Dumont as her fashion designer best friend;Â Tui Asau as a singer-songwriter; and Matthew Grathwol, Alexander Nifong, Julian De La Celle and Kyle Leatherberry as the aspiring rock quartet We Are the Royals.
- ||| Watch: All the episodes here.
The 10-episode series, with its oh-so-pretty cast and mind-numbing fashion focus, is (for better or worse) very 2014. But the music is legit – in fact, the DNA of last era’s scene runs throughout “Oh, You Pretty Things!” The series’ co-executive
||| Stream: “Missed Opportunities” (ftr. Matthew Grathwol)
||| Stream: The Movies, ‘Missed Opportunities’ (2005 original)
producer is Jessica Gelt, the ex-Movies bassist and current Los Angeles Times staff writer who now plays bass in Wet & Reckless. It was created and written Brian Canning (Irving, Afternoons) and Christian Casucci and scored by Tom Biller (the producer who has worked with Karen O, Kate Nash, Warpaint and who now also plays bass in EFG.
A soundtrack will be released on iTunes on Monday. It includes the epic Movies original “Rock in the Slingshot,” and another Movies song, “Missed Opportunities,” remade with Grathwol doing yeoman’s work on lead vocals (and Biller on guitar, Gelt on bass and EFG’s Josh Garza on drums). There are two Wet & Reckless songs, along with Canning’s compositions that include, for instance, the startlingly evocative ballad “Bridges,” which features the actor Asau (who apparently had scant experience singing) on lead vocals. Canning is joined by Sarah Rayne of the local quintet Babes on another acoustic gem, “Don’t You Want Love.”
As is true with anything based on a true story, “Oh, You Pretty Things!” is probably better if you weren’t there. But if you hang around bands long enough, you can relate to the cafÃ© scene in which Silversun Pickups cameo. And the dramatized show scene at the Echo? Well done. If we remember right, Timothy James broke a lot of stuff that night.