7.0/10
1,313
26 user 55 critic

Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2003)

A look at the history of fame in the world through the eyes of pop star impresario, Rodney Bingenheimer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Theory of Obscurity tells the story of the renegade sound and video collective known as The Residents. A story that spans 40 years and is clouded in mystery. Many details surrounding the ... See full summary »

Director: Don Hardy Jr.
Stars: Jerry Casale, Les Claypool, Chris Combs
Documentary | Biography | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A look at the history of the American comedy publication and production company, National Lampoon, from its beginning in the 1970s to 2010, featuring rare and never-before-seen footage.

Director: Douglas Tirola
Stars: Danny Abelson, Judd Apatow, Kevin Bacon
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.

Directors: Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Dennis Hopper, Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Daniel Johnston, manic-depressive genius singer/songwriter/artist is revealed in this portrait of madness, creativity and love.

Director: Jeff Feuerzeig
Stars: Daniel Johnston, Mabel Johnston, Bill Johnston
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew", a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby.

Director: Denny Tedesco
Stars: Denny Tedesco, Brian Wilson, Dick Clark
Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

'All Things Must Pass' is a documentary that explores the rise and fall of Tower Records, and its legacy forged by its rebellious founder, Russ Solomon.

Director: Colin Hanks
Stars: Russ Solomon, Chuck D., Chris Cornell
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A lonely shoe salesman and an eccentric performance artist struggle to connect in this unique take on contemporary life.

Director: Miranda July
Stars: John Hawkes, Miranda July, Miles Thompson
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

STEVE MCQUEEN: THE MAN and LE MANS is the story of obsession, betrayal and ultimate vindication. It is the story of how one of the most volatile, charismatic stars of his generation, who ... See full summary »

Directors: Gabriel Clarke, John McKenna
Stars: Steve McQueen, Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate
Atlantic City (1980)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In a corrupt city, a small-time gangster and the estranged wife of a pot dealer find themselves thrown together in an escapade of love, money, drugs, and danger.

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon, Kate Reid
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself
...
Herself
...
Himself
X ...
Themselves
Chris P. Carter ...
Himself - Dramarama (as Chris Carter)
...
Herself - Hole
...
Herself - No Doubt
...
Herself
Kim Fowley ...
Himself - Record Producer
...
Himself - The Beach Boys
...
Himself
...
Himself - Silverhead
...
Herself - Author, 'I'm With the Band'
Monique Powell ...
Herself
...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

Through the glitter and the grunge, from The Monkees to Coldplay, Rodney Bingenheimer--a.k.a. Rodney on the ROQ--has reigned over the Los Angeles music scene for over two decades. A constantly evolving fixture as rock fan, journalist, promoter, club owner and radio DJ on KROQ, Bingenheimer has helped advance every adventurous rock mutation--California pop, glam, punk, goth, new wave, alternative--since he first hit the Sunset Strip during its psychedelic 1960s heyday. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You Should Have Been There ... See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content/nudity, language and some drug references | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 March 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dimarhos tou Sunset Strip  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$21,722 (USA) (26 March 2004)

Gross:

$257,315 (USA) (4 June 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

After making its world premiere as the Centerpiece Film of the 2003 IFP/Los Angeles Film Festival the movie sold to First Look Media and Lakeshore Entertainment for $1.3 million, making it the second highest selling documentary of all time, next to Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine (2002). See more »

Quotes

Mackenzie Phillips: We would spend hours getting ready but we would spend hours clipping our hair, hoping that we would look like mental patients.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits, we see the conclusion of the concert by the band X that starts the movie. Then we see Rodney talking with one of X's members, who tells him that he always finds Rodney's radio show, no matter when it airs. See more »

Connections

References Jailhouse Rock (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

You Really Got Me
Written by Ray Davies
Performed by Van Halen
Used by permission
Jayboy Music Corp.
Administered by Sony/ATV Songs LLC (BMI)
Courtesy of Mayor of the Sunset Strip
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A valuable and necessary documentary on the cult of fame
29 December 2005 | by (Southern California) – See all my reviews

A few months ago, while awaiting my late-night food at *that* deli in Hollywood, I went up to a seated Rodney Bingenheimer and told him straight up: "'Mayor of the Sunset Strip' is one of the most important films I've ever seen." Emphasis on the word "important". I then explained why, and he just smiled, closed his eyes and nodded.

Less an indulgence in the overplayed phenomenon of "celebrity", this film is much more of a (rare) viewing of notoriety's seedy, cultist aspects under modern capitalism. In an age when "fame" and "celebrity" are their own forms of hard currency (E.G. invite a known celebrity to YOUR party -- whatever the occasion -- and see how many people RSVP within a matter of hours...), this is a film worth studying. The Yale-educated director, who not ironically directed "Hearts of Darkness", shrewdly turns the subject of Rodney Bingenheimer's literal 'staying power' in Hollywood into an entertaining and thought-provoking look at FAME AS A DISEASE. When the film is viewed under this poignant and increasingly relevant context, then Rodney really isn't that different from anyone else in America (or hyper-consuming Western culture in general). Nope, no one ultimately cares that you ran into Paul McCartney once in your twenties, but you'll keep mentioning it anyway...because you *matter*!!!

I watched the film on DVD (the preferred format, considering the variety of interviews in the "extras" portion) again after a yearlong lapse from my first viewing, only to further absorb its potency on the above-mentioned. A telling and strangely comforting aspect shown is the palpable discomfort on the faces of certain demonstrably lifelong insecure hyper-celebrities (Cher, Brooke Shields, Liam from Oasis) over talking about Rodney, their mercurial lives and ultimately, how they view "fame". One senses that, even if after attaining that much "acceptance", that you're still not comfortable in your own skin, then it's best not to carry as much celebrity currency in your pockets in the first place when - God Forbid -- you'd have to ever pay some of it back to those who've helped you attain it along the way.

Not all of the film's included luminaries came across in such fashion, however -- Ray Manzerick, Gwen Stefani, Nancy Sinatra, Elvis Costello, Brian Wilson and David Bowie more or less stayed clear of such forced sincerity (read: barely contained cringing) in this film. And yet, I'd be lying if I said that all of the awkward celebrity posturing wasn't the most entertaining aspect of the film – yes, even more so then simply the presence of the celebs who appear.

Brooke Shield's interview in the DVD is akin to an actual cognitive behavioral therapy session, where she relates how she's (supposedly) overcome her past nagging needs for acceptance. This caveat is telling, considering her much publicized postpartum depression (E.G. newborns don't know how to adore "celebrity" on cue, hence potentially magnifying the neuroses of past rejections felt by such otherwise "me-first" celebrities during, say, all-night baby crying sessions).

Author and 'fame expert' Leo Braudy is featured briefly commenting on the nature of fame and the public's obsession with it, concluding that he doesn't know who Rodney Bingenheimer is. I would've rather included authors Richard Schickel or Tyler Cowen (the latter an economist), who would've provided better insights without the added flippancy. Ironically (or maybe not so, considering the difference between having BEEN in the fame trenches versus simply writing about them), Rodney's darker trenches mate and alter-ego Kim Fowley actually sums up fame better than does Braudy with a nutshell synopsis of what drives people to seek fame, or the famous. Fowley accurately diagnoses Rodney and everyone else in Hollywood -- in itself worth watching the movie for, especially because Fowley illustrates the wacky, surreal and even palpably evil accumulation of frothy on-the-edges-of-fame excess that isn't limited to just the non-Wilshire Blvd. (read: corporate) entertainment industry, but sums up fame's very heart and that industry's core.

The film also shrewdly (and deservedly) shines a subtly dismissive light onto "alternative radio" juggernaut, KROQ, which is now to 'cutting edge' and 'fidelity to founding visionaries' what Alice Cooper was to 'subtlety'. KROQ DJ Jed the Fish's summing up of KROQ's essential value of Rodney Bingenheimer as more or less irrelevant to modern musical trends is tactically contrasted by the director with a brief yet accurate portrayal of KROQ's core current audience -- sweaty, tattooed, violent, soul-less subhuman Huns who urinate openly at concerts and grunt to hackneyed noise passing as their distressingly elected life anthems.

The viewer stumbles upon something: Being that "fame" has created its own marketplace, it's obvious that Rodney has a unique talent that can be shopped around (to Indy 103.1 or satellite radio, for instance)...away from a midnight to 3:00 AM slot on KROQ. Yet, because of the uniquely demonic characteristics of cut-throat, increasingly commercial yet still elusive Hollywood, one then realizes possibly why the less opportunistic 'good souls' (to quote Starsailor) like Rodney don't have agents shopping their said talents around: Despite not retaining any known instrumental or singing talents, a "radio-friendly voice" (Jed the Fish? Swedish Eagle? Adam Corolla?!?) or Teutonic good looks, still, at least Rodney is not a hack.

I'd make this film required viewing in suburban high schools as well as in college courses involving media or cultural studies, sociology, psychology, the arts and/or the humanities. Best to cork that genie in our tortured youth before 'groupie-dom' tries to compensate for their disturbingly growing lack of self-esteem...

With that said, God Bless Rodney Bingenheimer.


12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Tragic yet fascinating rexbot
Two Dimensional xtianbp
Rodney On The Roq. . . jamofsocal
Keanu in this movie? Diana Berry
WHERE'S POE?? diegarbage
Song during London scenes? steffi_krause
Discuss Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page