Remembering That Weird Film Where David Bowie Hooks up with Vanessa Hudgens Through MySpace

Bowie was still using MySpace in 2009.


When I heard the tragic news that David Bowie had died on Monday morning, I obviously tearfully thought of all classic albums, and his famous film performances, and his contributions to worlds or art, fashion and technology. But my mind also turned to my very favourite Bowie moment, and in a way one of the weirdest things he ever did: his cameo in the 2009 Vanessa Hudgens vehicle Bandslam.

Bowie’s screen career is almost on par with his musical one. He worked with the likes of Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, David Lynch Nicolas Roeg, and Jim Henson—some of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Already being a megastar in another field meant that he could choose to only do things worthy of David Bowie. Not everything film did is a masterpiece, but even his lesser works are fascinating. Extended cameos as larger than life characters like Andy Warhol or Nikola Tesla. Style over substance German art dramas, and strange rock & roll musicals. Doing a voice on Spongebob Squarepants back when it was still subversive. Hell, even the Zoolander cameo shows good taste.

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So what the hell is he doing in a Vanessa Hudgens teen musical? I have no fucking clue why. But I’m so glad he did.  Let’s be clear here, I’m not hating on Bandslam. I actually quite like it, it’s enjoyable piece of teen movie crap. It dropped a year after High School Musical 3, and was basically just another teen musical intended to keep Hudgen’s tween brand rolling on a while longer. It’s a standard ‘battle of the bands’ movie, with Hudgens and her friends entering in a local music contest, and it plays out totally as it you’d expect it to. It goes for the Rocky 1 ending, where they don’t win the competition, but they learn something about themselves, and isn’t that the true victory? So far, so standard, right?

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