Rock Star
Starring:
Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Anniston
Directed By :
Stephen Herek
Grade
D

When I first heard that there was going to be a movie inspired by the life of Tim "Ripper" Owens - the singer who joined Judas Priest after Rob Halford left - I was intrigued. When it was announced that Zakk Wylde, Blas Elias, Jeff Pilson and Jason Bonham were going to have substantial roles in the film, I thought that Rock Star was going to be a fun, yet respectful, look at the heavy metal scene.

But I should have known better. Rock Star defecates in the face of every metalhead on the planet. Rather than pay affectionate tribute to a largely misunderstood genre, Rock Star presents the metal scene as nothing more than an adolescent phase on the way to growing up and embracing acoustic bull**** "sensitive guy" music.

Up until the end, Rock Star is a moderately entertaining but confused movie. What is it? A comedy with no real laughs? A drama with no truly dramatic moments? The acting is, for the most part, good, even though Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston are too old for the characters they play. The screenplay is, well, predictable.

The story is set during the 1980's and is about Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg), a super-fan of the rock band "Steel Dragon." When the gay lead singer is kicked out of the band (either portray the Halford character realistically or change everything about the character, people - Halford LEFT Priest), Cole is brought in to replace him. Along the way, he learns that (let's sing it altogether, kids - you know the verse, chorus, verse!) singing in a heavy metal band is not fulfilling in the way that acoustic bull**** "sensitive guy" music is, and the girl next door is "the one." Even though Jennifer Aniston does not live next door to me.

It is the depiction of the heavy metal scene that disappointed me as both a film and music fan. While it was accurate in some aspects, it continued the media trend of portraying metal as a form of 1980's nostalgia - even though the story it was inspired by happened during the mid-1990's. Rock Star somehow tries to both pander to and condescend to the metal crowd.

Now I am not going to sit here and claim that heavy metal does not have it's share of cheese. In fact, that is often times part of it's charm. But to insinuate that heavy metal is musically inferior and shallow is an insult to fans of the style. Some of us would prefer to listen to a band named "Steel Dragon" than acoustic bull**** "sensitive guy" music.

There is one saving grace about this film, and that is the music. I will actually pick up the soundtrack, as the songs performed by "Steel Dragon" were excellent, 1980's-style metal - with that familiar Zakk Wylde touch to them. Musically, it has no relevance to today's metal scene, but it's good, fun music.

- - Ruthven (listening to Opeth)
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