Director: Stephen Herek
review by Michael Lohr
Having been 16 and in a heavy metal band, in Pittsburgh, during the mid 1980s, this movie was like a
nostalgic flashback to the 'hair metal' of that time period. Absurdity was the rule and being loud
and flashy was the law. Thank the gods that grunge came along and killed hairspray metal off. Though
this movie does makes reminiscing about those not so good old days more pleasurable.
The movie was originally inspired by the real life story of current Judas Priest
vocalist, Tim 'Ripper' Owens and his rise from a singer in a Judas Priest tribute band in Akron, Ohio
to lead singer of Judas Priest. This movie taps into one of teenagedom's primal male fantasies, to be
the lead singer in a popular rock 'n' roll band. If this was ever your dream, then you will be able
to appreciate this film. Just like the Air Guitar championships held in Finland every year, Rock
Star will give you that adolescent fix.
Mark Wahlberg (Planet of the Apes, The Perfect Storm, Boogie
Nights) stars as the wannabe turned rock star, with Jennifer Aniston (Friends) as his
faithful, yet quietly frantic girlfriend. The movie also has several actual rock musicians in the
cast including Jason Bonham, Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society) and Stephen Jenkins
(Third Eye Blind) as well as several members of 80's metal bands Dokken and Slaughter. The group
Wahlberg's character idolizes is Steel Dragon, who is a dead ringer for just about any 1980s metal
band you care to name. My God is this Spinal Tap revisited or just a spandex and stiff stuff
flashback? But actually, unlike Spinal Tap's doltish characters, Wahlberg portrays his character with
goodwill and sincerity. His is an honest portrayal of a talented, well-meaning singer with big dreams
that finds out his dreams are not all they are cracked up to be. I especially love the ending where
he goes to Seattle to regroup, to find love and his true muse. Rock Star is directed by
Stephen Herek and produced by Robert Lawrence and Toby Jaffe and did I see George Clooney's name
under the director/production credits as well?
By the way, look for Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson's mug in the movie. He
doesn't actually make a cameo, but his face does appear briefly. The Rock Star soundtrack,
featuring Everclear, Def Leppard and Steel Dragon/Wahlberg-sung originals is available on the
Posthuman/Priority record label.
Overall I give this movie a very nostalgic nod of approval.
Guide to the Movies
compiled by Tony
Lee editor of Pigasus Press
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