Retro Review: Rock Star

A rock myth created by Hollywood producers who never understood or appreciated the music that is being depicted. This isn’t “Behind the Music” by far.

Mark Wahlberg stars as Chris Cole, a twenty-something who dreams of being the front man for his favorite rock n’roll band, “Steel Dragon”. Chris believes in his dream so much that he has brought together a band, emulated his favorite band’s look and even performs at tribute concerts. Chris is obsessed with his dream and it’s his dream that fuels the motion picture, “Rock Star”.

Unbeknownst to Chris, “Steel Dragon” is looking for a new front man and the band’s lead bassist discovers Chris’ powerful voice. Before Chris knows it, he is on his way to LA with his manager-girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston) and they become sucked down into the world of heavy metal.

As I sit here in my faded “Def Leppard: Hysteria” tour shirt and look back on my fondness for 1980 metal, I begin to realize how much of a disappointment “Rock Star” is and what it’s going to mean to all the metal-heads who jammed to metal music in the 80s. Sure we idolized the guys and their lifestyle but today wouldn’t we rather know more about the real world these guys lived in than laugh and poke fun at them. This was the core problem I had with this film.

The film doesn’t take the material seriously and really analyze the magic these kinds of rockers have established for over 2 decades. Come on there has to be something alluring about this kind of music if there are still bands performing this kind of music today. From Aerosmith to AC_DC to KISS, these rockers continue to make our blood burn with just one skull-shocking guitar solo.

The filmmakers create comedy through clouding the sexual orientations of these rockers, the clothing, the hair and the makeup. But probably the worst of all is how women are treated in the film. One scene depicts a stripper who needs to sleep with the rockstar before 12 so she can make it to work. This is supposed to be comedic instead it just comes off as pathetic.

When I went into “Rock Star”, I was looking for a film that would embrace the subject matter and show the glamour, horror and realism of being one of these larger than life men. I was looking for “Almost Famous” for the 80s generation. What is uncanny is that the film did emulate the comedy from “Famous” but without Cameron Crowe’s influence the comedic writing left a lot to be desired.

What the film is a poor comedy music film that suffers from many identity crises. One identity is the humor (which is often in bad taste), next you have the poorly executed love-story and finally you have the music story.

The film does show some signs of life in the music identity. That identity does try to explore the real side of the rock business but before we really can appreciate it a sugarcoated Hollywood ending is being jet-packed down your throat.

The ending is ridiculous and yet again we see Hollywood can’t right a proper film ending. All I can say about the ending is “c’mon” and “as if”.

I liked Wahlberg and some of the films anthems as well as the club-drug-induced scene but that’s about all.

I feel for Gene Simmons and other fellow rockers who attended this film’s Hollywood premiere. This isn’t a way to remember their contribution to rock. C’mon Hollywood we need a film about this kind of music directed by P.T Anderson or James Mangold. Now that I believe would be a metal film to cherish. Nuff said.

(2.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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