attempts to play upon a fantasy that exists in most of us lay
people, who go about our everyday lives.
At some point, even for a brief moment, we dream of what it
would be like to be famous; to get the chance to be in the
spotlight, have more money than we’d know what to do with and be
the center of attention and the life of the party.
For most, this dream lays in the back of our minds,
manifesting itself occasionally during the high moments of the
public spectacles of stardom.
There are many
differing aspects to the American dream, and Rock Star explores
the one most prevalent in the 80’s, mostly in males, aged 15-25.
The prevailing attitude of that decade was one of
capitalism, greed and excess, how much can I have, how fast can I
get it, and how high can I fly.
Nothing typified this Icarus style dream more than that of
the decadent image of rock and roll and its messengers, the bands
and members who populated this fantasy.
They became the idols of a generation, with their big hair,
tight clothes, groupies, big house and carefree lifestyles.
Who wouldn’t want this life?
Wahlberg’s Chris certainly does.
He fronts a “tribute” (re:cover) band for his favorite
band, Steel Dragon, which he worships and knows way too much about
for his own good. One
day he receives the call of his life, to audition as lead singer
for the band who has seen a tape of his band and wants him to
replace their burned out lead singer.
What follows is a fairly predictable meteoric style ride
through the world of fame, fortune and the visualization of the
term sex drugs and rock and roll, through the eyes of an innocent
who wanted to see the other side.
He brings his girlfriend along for the ride, to further
contrast their previous and current lifestyles, and explores
fairly successfully the aspect of if power, money and popularity
can corrupt and change a person.
The script is frosted with some powerful, realistic, yet
playfully honest dialogue befitting the era and mood which its
portraying. I lived
through that era, even having those dreams, and Herek and company
have surprisingly captured it fairly well.
Even when the film ventures and follows some expected and
typical story paths, the dialogue, and of course the music, make
it an enjoyable ride, with a nice soundtrack to life’s events
The film is also
strengthened by some strong performances, from some unexpected
sources. Wahlberg is
Wahlberg, as he usually is, he slips right into his every man
roles, with a comfortable ease.
Whether it’s a conflicted porn star, or sailor, soldier
or fanatically post teen music fan, he plays each role quite well,
without actually seemingly like he’s acting.
He doesn’t do it with quite the blending into the
background way that Edward Norton does, but he’s still quite
good, and getting better. The
best supporting roles come from Timothy Spall, as the road manager
with a heart (and a sex drive) and Jason Flemyng, in a brief role,
as Dragon’s lead singer with issues.
Both performances are subdued, yet honest, powerful,
fitting and never over done.
Perfect representations of the era, the dream and the
lifestyle, which aid in conveying the films message, without
clouding or bogging it down completely in predictability.
Only Aniston, seeming like Rachel in “The One where
she’s a groupie” is out of place as his girlfriend.
Her scenes, while a necessary aspect of the story, seem to
drag things down a bit, because her pouty look does not fit the
morphing contrast that the lifestyle can initiate.
Without this cast though, the film would have been little
more than a Behind the Music episode with a hairband soundtrack.
And what a soundtrack this movie has.
Granted, I am a sucker for all things 80s, especially
music, but this one truly captures the spirit and attitude of the
decade, and not just from a hairband aspect.
From typical genre denizens like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and
Motley Crue to the interesting, but fitting additions of INXS and
Frankie Goes to Hollywood, the sound of Rock Star is truly the
icing, on a deliciously guilty pleasure of a film
Star is the representation of a decade, and the dreamers who
inhabited it. While
it can’t help but fall into some typical plot manipulations and
devices, such as the love story, and the expected success, fall
and revelation, the sharp script and relevant storylines carry the
film above the otherwise maudlin and intellectually lacking summer
faire. At least the
film is honest about its roots, and represents its genre, by
embodying everything that this music and mood was about.
Its simple, its loud, its full of energy, not a lot of
thought, but full of attitude.
It also poses and answers the question of is it better to
fail as yourself, or succeed as someone else.
In trying to find ones identity through embracing someone
elses, we sometimes find what we are truly made of, and what we
truly want out of life. By
losing ourself in our dream of perfection, we can find our own.
See this one for all the dreamers, successes and failures,
because while Rock Star’s melody may not be one for everyone,
but those who hear its message, will relate, understand and enjoy.
out of $$$$$)
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