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Rock Star (2001)
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Review Date: September 09, 2001
Director: Stephen Herek
Writer: John Stockwell
Producers: Toby Jaffe, Robert Lawrence
Actors:
Mark Wahlberg as Chris Coles
Jennifer Aniston as Emily Poule
Dominic West as Kirk Cuddy
Plot:
A young man who loves heavy metal music and especially the band Steel Dragon, to whom he's devoted a tribute band in which he sings, gets launched into stardom when the real group get rid of their lead singer and call on him to take his place.
Critique:
I'm a sucker for movies like this. A young man with a humble background and lofty dreams, works hard, devotes the time, the energy and the patience, and ultimately hits it big-time. In the case of this film, our boy loves a certain heavy metal band and as luck would have it (yup, luck always finds its way into these types of equations, although generally tied very closely to hard work), they need a new singer. His entry and adaptation to the whole "rock 'n roll" lifestyle fills the rest of the film and is really fun to watch. Although I will preface this by saying that one thing that would definitely enhance your appreciation for this film is your own love (or past love) of heavy metal music and the whole scene around it. Metal was one of my first loves as a teen and even though the genre of music isn't that prominent anymore, I still check out my Motley Crue, Twisted Sister and Anthrax CDs every now and again. That's not to say that you won't like this film if you don't like the music, but the music and live performances from the band, play a big part in the movie, and I for one, had a blast watching and listening to it all.

But the even greater draw in this film is the standout performance given here by Mark Wahlberg. Wow, hand this fella some major props, as he totally becomes this heavy metal geek/god (incidentally, METAL GOD was the film's original title, and a much better one if you ask me). He is this movie and I was quite taken by his character pretty much the whole way through. He came off like a regular guy with extremely passionate goals and work ethic, who was willing to do anything in order to fulfill his dreams. Aniston was also surprisingly good as the girlfriend (and the romance angle between them was sweet), but she didn't pull me in hard enough during their emotional scenes. I was also impressed by some of the "real" musicians who played in the film (Zakk Wylde from Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Pilson from Dokken, Stephan Jenkins from Third Eye Blind, Blas Elias from Slaughter), but actor Dominic West as Kirk Cuddy made the biggest impression among the band members. It's to note that this film was based on a real-life tale of a young man who used to sing in a Judas Priest cover band and then went on to become their actual singer (their original singer also admitted to being gay, as in this film).

Just for the record, I'm certainly not recommending this film for its originality or surprise elements, since most of this stuff has already been covered in some way or another in other movies, but because it's a fun, uplifting, well-paced movie with a solid central showing by Wahlberg and energetic live performances. Oh yeah, and for those who dig the "heavier" side of music, the soundtrack also rocks!! You see...dreams can come true...
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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