Media Rock Star Chevy Nova
posted by June 14 at 10:52 AMon
For a Hollywood popcorn flick starring Mark Wahlberg as the lead singer of a fictional metal group called Steel Dragon, 2001’s Rock Star just didn’t add up to the ant-snorting, JD-shooting spectacle it should’ve been.
I rented the DVD on the recommendation of my Wahlberg-phile cousin, expecting debauchery—shredding, screaming, groupie-banging, the works. What I got instead was a glorified (but colorfully depicted) representation of Pittsburgh’s “tribute” band scene in the mid-’80s; a bunch of awesomely, flamboyantly androgenous costumes and hair styles; one thrilling concert scene; and a pretty flacid story that wrapped up far too neatly. The back stage partying scenes were pat and predictable and more than a little cliche; the ease with which Wahlberg’s character drifted in and out of them was a stretch. Not that the movie was all bad, per se, but it certainly wasn’t good.
If anything, Rock Star called out just how formulaic the whole “rock star” lifestyle and archetype are, ripe for easy spoofing, easy to exaggerate and replicate. Steel Dragon’s core tracks—by-the-numbers Priest/Maiden/Leppard pastiches with titles and choruses like “Stand Up and Shout” and “Wasted Generation”—mimicked so closely their source material that they were interchangable. Fans of those real bands could be fans of the movie’s fake band, no questions asked, no suspended disbelief necessary.
Out of an entire movie based on modern rock ‘n’ roll, only the final scene was really insightful or goose-bumpy. Wahlberg’s character, Chris “Izzy” Cole, has quit his ultimate rock star job to head to Seattle for a lifetime of coffee shop troubadouring, sweetened by the babe-next-door support of Jennifer Aniston. The scene must’ve taken place sometime in the late ’80s, just as hair metal was being overshadowed by home-grown grunge, and with a chopped hairdo and a crunchy power ballad, Cole is on the road to redemption in the city that permanently altered the very notion of rock stardom he first embraced. Too neat for a real rock ‘n’ roll ending, sure, but one that at least goes a bit deeper than the pop-metal musings of the rest of the film.