In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, our hero (Michael Cera) and his fictional band Sex Bob-omb must do battle with Scott’s girlfriend’s seven evil exes, both on and off the stage. With so many different band scenes, writer/director Edgar Wright wanted to make sure the music was worthy of Toronto rock city. “Nigel Godrich [and I] were both very critical about fictional bands in films,” Wright tells Paste, “so we wanted to make sure we get the right people for the job. We basically cast bands like actors. We cast different artists to play the different fictional bands, and Beck was really up for doing the Sex Bob-omb songs. I think he saw it like a fun exercise to play a part rather than writing Beck songs. What’s sort of cool is that he channeled some of the more fuzzier, kind of punkier stuff of his first demos. He did something like 22 songs in 72 hours. It was incredible.”
So where does Sex Bob-omb stack up among the countless fictional bands to grace movie screens, TV shows and books over the years? We decided we’d rank celebrate the 50 best. Some of the songs are awesome and some are just awesomely bad. A few weren’t even based on The Beatles. Tell us who we missed in the comments section below.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
Notable member: Buckaroo Bonzai (Peter Weller)
Songwriters: Bones Howe, Michael Boddicker (original music)
W.D. Richter packed 50 years and deep if not always developed mythology into his 1984 cult film. He also packed it with some terribly wanky guitar shredding.
Notable member: Timmy
The Lords of the Underworld were OK metal, but something was missing…TIMMY!!!
Eddie and the Cruisers
Notable member: Eddie Wilson (Michael Paré)
Hit: “On the Dark Side”
Songwriter: John Cafferty
The movie was a critical and commercial flop, but the soundtrack was a surprise hit, selling four million copies when “On the Dark Side” became a #1 song.
Back to the Future
Hit: “Earth Angel”
Marty McFly joined the band to save the dance—and his siblings—playing a rendition of “Johnny B. Goode” that the crowd wouldn’t quite get. But their kids are gonna love it.
Member: Otis “Bad” Blake (Jeff Bridges)
Hit Song: “The Weary Kind”
Songwriters: Ryan Bingham, T Bone Burnett
OK, so Bad Blake was a solo artist and not a band, but this is one of the unironically greatest songs on the list.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Members: Daniel ‘Oz’ Osbourne (Seth Green), Devon MacLeish (Jason Hall)
Songwriters: Four Star Mary
When not slaying vampires, Buffy and her friends would hang out at The Bronze, where Willow’s high-school boyfriend Oz (Seth Green) played in the band Dingoes Ate My Baby.
Members: Ghode (Zakk Wylde), Jörgen (Jeff Pilson), A.C. (Jason Bonham), Bobby Beers (Jason Flemyng), Chris “Izzy” Cole (Mark Wahlberg), Kirk Cuddy (Dominic West)
With musicians from Dokken, Foreigner, Journey and Ozzy Osbourne’s band, Steel Dragon’s hair-rock, I mean hard-rock credentials are unassailable.
Notable members: Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan)
Hit: “You All Everybody”
Lost may be over, but you can still play “You All Everybody” on Rock Band.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Hit Song: “Let’s Duet”
Members: Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly), Darlene Madison (Jenna Fischer)
Songwriters: Dan Bern and Mike Viola (of the Candy Butchers) wrote most of the film’s songs
The musical biopic to parody all musical biopics. Angela Correa sings vocals for Jenna Fischer.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains
Notable members: Corinne Burns (Diane Lane), Jessica McNeil (Laura Dern)
Hit: “Join the Professionals”
This 1982 cult film about a teenage punk band was a precursor of the riot grrrl movement.
Notable member: Jesse Katsopolis (John Stamos)
Jesse and the Rippers’ lasting legacy can be seen in the number of t-shirt designs for sale.
Get Him To the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Notable member: Aldous Snow (Russel Brand)
Hit: “Inside of You”
After stealing the show in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Brand got a whole movie for his earnest rock band Infant Sorrow.
Brothers of the Head
Members: Tom Howe (Harry Treadway), Barry Howe (Luke Treadway), Nick Sidney (Sean Harris), Paul Day (Bryan Dick)
Songwriter: Alan Winstanley
Three of the four actors played on the soundtrack to this mockumentary about conjoined twins fronting a punk band.
Members: Lane Kim (Keiko Agena), Dave Rygalski (Adam Brody), Zach Van Gerbig (Todd Lowe), Brian Fuller (John Cabrera)
Hit: “The Greatest American Hero”
Gilmore Girls was full of great music thanks to Sam Phillips. And at one point, Sebastian Bach played guitar in the band.
Notable member: Kevin Malone (Brian Baumgartner)
Hit: “Roxanne” with Kevin singing lead vocals
Kevin’s Police cover band is awesome, but the life of rock ‘n’ roll may just be too much.
Notable members: Zooey Deschanel, Jill Iva, Bex, Lay Lay
Songwriters: Zooey Deschanel and Von Iva
San Fransisco band Von Iva served as the back up to Zooey Deschanel’s character in this otherwise skip-able Jim Carrey film.
Hedwig & the Angry Inch
Members: Hedwig Robinson (John Cameron Mitchell), Skszp (Stephen Trask), Yitzak (Miriam Shor), Jacek (Theodore Liscinski)
Hit: “Angry Inch”
Songwriter: Stephen Trask
Originally an off-Broadway musical about an East German transgendered singer written by John Cameron Mitchell with music and lyrics by Stephen Trask. The duo adapted it into a 2001 film, which became the most successful film about an East German transgendered singer of all time.
Saved By the Bell
Members: Zack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), Screech (Dustin Diamond), Slater (Mario Lopez), Lisa (Lark Voorhies), Kelly (Tiffani Thiessen).
Even Casey Kasum loves these guys…
Hit: “Teenage Suicide”
Members: Don Dixon, Mitch Easter, Angie Carlson and Marti Jones
Songwriter: Don Dixon
Big Fun’s single “Teenage Suicide” (performed by members of Let’s Active) was used by J.D. (Christian Slater) in a plot to collect signatures on a mass suicide note.
Members: Nathan Explosion, Skwisgaar Skwigelf, Pickles The Drummer, William Murderface, and Toki Wartooth
Songwriter: Brendon Small
It’s hard to believe that little, neurotic auteur Brendon Small from Home Movies has grown up to become the biggest death metal band of all-time (and the seventh largest economy in the world) in the realm of Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse.
Members: “Wild” Bill Catt, Hodge-Podge, Opus Croakus, Steve Dallas
Hit: “I’m a Boinger”
The Bloom County book Billy and the Boingers Bootleg actually came with a vinyl LP containing “I’m A Boinger” and “U Stink But I (Heart) U.” Fun fact: they were originally called Deathtöngue.
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Notable member: Craig Manning (Jake Epstein)
Hit: “Dust (What I Know)”
This Canadian teen drama franchise was full of fictional bands—Gourmet Scum, Paige Michalchuk and the Sexkittens (PMS), The Zits, Hell Hath No Fury, Janie & The Studs, Kid Elrick and The Three Tenners. But only Downtown Sasquatch featured Drake!
O, Brother, Where Art Thou?
Members: Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), Delmar O’Donnell (Tim Blake Nelson), Pete (John Turturro)
Hit: “Man of Constant Sorrow”
Songwriter: Dick Burnett first recorded—and may have written—the song.
Alison Krauss’ bandmate Dan Tyminski, who sings vocals on this song, has a great story about telling his wife that in the movie, she’d see George Clooney but hear Dan singing. That’s what I’ve always dreamed about, she said.
Hit: “Feed the Childrens”
Talk about meta. Limozeen was a fictional band in a cartoon that aired within the fictional cartoon world of Homestar Runner. Sadly, the galaxy-traveling metalheads were knocked off the charts by an alternative rock band. “But their bassist is a girl.” “And the drummer’s got short hair.” “And the lead singer wears glasses.” Limozeen has actually played live in Atlanta with a roster made up of the band Y-O-U plus Homestar’s Matt Chapman on lead vocals.
Members: Trent Lane (Alvaro J. Gonzalez), Jesse Moreno, Nick Campbell, Max Tyler
Hit: “Every Dog Has His Day”
Writer/creators: Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn
Rumor has it, they’re thinking of changing their name. But with lyrics like “You put me on a short leash and threw away my hydrant / You ate up all my kibble, now my coat’s no longer vibrant,” we know they’re destined for greatness.