Before they became four-time Grammy Award winners, the Christian pop duo for KING & COUNTRY started out as two brothers in Australia, before moving to Nashville in the 1990s with their parents while still young children. Unsung Hero tells the inspiring true story of the real-world band’s beginnings, including all the hard work and dedication that the Smallbone family put into launching the music careers of Joel, Luke, and Rebecca St. James. This time around though, Joel steps into the shoes of his father, playing the role of David Smallbone while Diesel La Torraca plays a younger Joel. Kirrilee Berger stars as Joel and Luke’s sister, Rebecca St. James, who herself has had a successful career as a contemporary Christian singer, winning a Grammy Award for her album Pray.

Taking inspiration from U2, OneRepublic, Switchfoot, and the Goo Goo Dolls, Joel and Luke Smallbone of for KING & COUNTRY have gone on to achieve outstanding commercial success, including collaborations with Dolly Parton, Timbaland, and more. Their encouraging true story is one for the big screen, and while for KING & COUNTRY are themselves a real band that you can catch on their upcoming The Homecoming Tour, we are celebrating the film’s release by looking back at some of our favorite and iconic fictional bands in cinematic history.

The Blues Brothers from The Blues Brothers (1980)

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Did you ever think a fictitious blues and soul band could become such a classic? Well, apparently all it takes is matching black suits, black trilby hats, black sunglasses, a harmonica, a briefcase, and a 1974 Dodge Monaco. Oh, and a hilarious beginning on Saturday Night Live with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. The film became an instant hit thanks to its sketch comedy roots, along with incredible action stunts, and performances and cameos from talented musicians, including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown, Cab Calloway, and more.

The band might be fictional, but they became so beloved that they went on to really perform with the very-real Grateful Dead, and still to this day are the most successful blues revue band of all time. In fact, Dan Aykroyd, who performed as Elwood Blues in the fictional duo, went on after the film and band’s success to open the House of Blues, a chain of live music venues and restaurants across the country, letting the Blues Brothers legacy live on. 

Crucial Taunt from Wayne’s World (1992)

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Party on! Following the success of The Blues Brothers (1980), Mike Myers and Dana Carvey took their recurring Saturday Night Live sketch comedy routine “Wayne’s World” to the big screen. And the pair continue to bring the laughs as their metalhead characters Wayne (Myers) and Garth (Carvey) still to this day. While out at a nightclub, Wayne sees literal stars when he falls for Cassandra (Tia Carrere), the lead singer and bassist of rock band Crucial Taunt.

To win her heart and ensure the band’s success, Wayne and Garth pull out all the stops to get Crucial Taunt on their public-access television show in hopes of catching the eyes and ears of a record label. While the fictional rock band primarily does covers, including “Ballroom Blitz,” as made famous by The Sweet, metalheads will love Alice Cooper’s cameo appearance as himself.

Josie and the Pussycats from Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

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This fictional girl group created in the 1960s for Archie Comics has made many appearances over the years, but they’ve always been known for their leopard print outfits, cat ears, and upbeat rock and roll riffs. Which is pretty much exactly what you would expect out of the 1960s and 1970s, when the Saturday morning cartoon gave center stage to Josie, Melody, and Valerie. A live-action adaptation starring Rachael Leigh Cook, Tara Reid, and Rosario Dawson became a cult favorite, with an accompanying soundtrack for the fictional band led by the real-world Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo fame. And yes, the catchy self-titled theme song from the 1970s did indeed make the cut.

Pink Slip from Freaky Friday (2003)

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Aspiring teenage rockstar Anna (Lindsay Lohan) is forced to practice with her band, Pink Slip, in her mother Tess’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) house. The only problem is that Tess has strict rules on how late the band can practice and frequently cuts the power on their equipment when they go over. Oh, and the other problem is that the band’s big House of Blues audition is scheduled right during Tess’s wedding rehearsal. Like any mother and daughter duo, the two have constant arguments, only their arguments culminate in an unfortunate body swap, where they must learn to see things from a different perspective. Literally.

With the two in each other’s bodies during the band’s big moment, Anna is resigned to playing backstage while stuck in her mother’s body, while Tess masquerades as Anna on stage, making for a hilarious moment between Curtis and Lohan. Pink Slip’s rock songs “Ultimate” and “Take Me Away” from the film were both later released on the soundtrack. There’s more good news for fans of Pink Slip too, as Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan have both recently teased that a sequel film is in the works.

The School of Rock from School of Rock (2003)

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Struggling rocker Dewey Finn (Jack Black) is fired from his position as guitarist in No Vacancy, but it leads to his formation of a new band full of secretly talented pre-teens. Working as a substitute teacher, Dewey assembles his students and creates The School of Rock to enter the Battle of the Bands competition, teaching them the ways of classic rock and roll musicians as he helps bring out their previously untapped musical talents.

Featuring nods to rock and roll classics throughout the film – including Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Ramones, Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Stevie Nicks, The Who, Metallica, and more – Dewey helps the students learn to overcome their insecurities and stand up for what’s right through the power of music. It’s Jack Black, who also sings and plays guitar in the real-life Grammy-award winning band Tenacious D – doing what he does best – being erratic, hilarious, supportive, and comforting in the best possible ways. What’s not to like?

Sex Bob-Omb from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

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Who could forget drummer Kim’s callout of “We are Sex Bob-Omb!” during the opening credits? An unsuccessful – though cherished in our hearts – indie garage band, Sex Bob-Omb was formed where all great bands are formed: in a dingy apartment living room. Originally a graphic novel, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World takes inspiration from its source material as well as from classic video games and is a heavily visual film, with loud graphics and even louder music from every band and musical artist that competes in the battle of the bands.

While bassist Scott (Michael Cera) tries to win the heart of Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) by defeating her seven evil exes, his band competes for a record deal. Sex Bob-Omb might be fictional, but their album full of hits like “Garbage Truck” that was released alongside the film was totally real. Oh, and we couldn’t forget to mention fictional pop star Envy Adams – inspired by the real Emily Haines of the rock band Metric and played by Brie Larson, and her rendition of “Black Sheep.”

4*Town from Turning Red (2022)

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It’s the early 2000s, and you remember it well. Boy bands are all the rage, and you’re either Team Backstreet Boys or Team NSYNC, but never both. In 2002, thirteen-year-old Meilin “Mei” Lee has similar priorities. Fictional boy band 4*Town – made up of five heartthrob boys, so each fan can pick their favorite member – has captured the heart of every teenage girl, and they’re headed out on tour for those that were lucky enough to grab the coveted concert tickets. Only, Mei isn’t so lucky, as her overprotective mother has forbidden her from getting tickets to the hottest show in Toronto. Oh, and Mei’s luck is also not in her favor again, as she’s just discovered she can turn into a giant red panda, thanks to her family history.

Or maybe this new trick is a good thing after all, as Mei and her friends take advantage of her red panda form to raise money for 4*Town tickets. Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell wrote original songs for the fictional boy band for use in the film, as well as for the accompanying album. While you might not be able to catch 4*Town in concert yourself, every 4*Townie can check out the band’s real website and official merchandise to relive the 2000s era of the boy band.

Witness the inspiring true story of Grammy-award winning for KING & COUNTRY in Unsung Hero, exclusively in theaters on April 26. Get tickets now.

  • Editorial