Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The (1985) (2021 re-release)

May 24, 2022

In 1985, Makoto Tezuka, a twenty-two-year-old film student, directed a zany tribute to films where bands play themselves in fictional situations á la the Beatles’ Help!The Legend of the Stardust Brothers wasn’t seen by anybody outside of Japan until 2018, when it was finally translated and re-released in theaters and eventually on home video.

The titular Stardust Brothers are a manufactured band pulling Kan, the frontman of a leather-clad punk band, and Shingo, the singer from a doo-wop pop group into one marketable duo. They wear loud outfits and shake their little butts all over the charts. The boys fall into all the tropes of stardom—ego, substance abuse, weird dreams where people’s faces come off revealing them to be ghouls—you know, the usual? Until Kaworu, a Morrissey-like crooner shows up squashing their sales and stealing their fanbase. The Stardust Brothers sink into despair and even get outshined by their personal assistant, Marimo. When the brothers (spoiler alert—it turns out they’re actually brothers) decide to take on Kaworu and eventually discover the music industry is run by one of the most evil men in the earth’s history.

So, that’s basically the plot of the movie. But there are multiple musical interludes with wild imagery and cartoon-like shenanigans. At one point the duo are being chased by some baddies who are running too fast and tumble into each other, causing them to snowball into a giant boulder of humans. It’s that kind of insanity you’ll miss if you look away from the movie for a second. It’s fun, bouncy, nonsensical, and the music is catchy as hell. If you dig the satire of the Josie and the Pussycats movie (and you should), you will dig this. –Rick V. (thirdwindowfilms.com)