Relive 80s hell.


Cliffnotes review:
Relive 80s hell.

This film goes to: 7
Rated (R)
Directed by: Stephen Herek
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, Timothy Olyphant, Timothy Spall, Dominic West
Written by: John Stockwell
106 minutes
Warner Bros.
Official Site

As much as I hate to admit it, I liked this film. I tried not to, trust me, but in the end, was really entertained by "Rock Star". Don't get me wrong; this opus to 80s metal is fairly formulaic… just like the music from which it was spawned. This is not always bad, however; and the story of Steel Dragon (taken from the pages of Judas Priest's book) is an entertaining romp through the chaos of the mid to late 80s.

Mark Wahlberg is Chris Cole, adept lead singer for a Steel Dragon tribute band whose only aspiration in life is to be Bobby Beers, Steel Dragon's "real" lead singer. Fortunately for Chris, Beers' band recently ousted him from the group and is looking for someone to fill his leather pants, er… shoes. Naïve and ordinary Chris becomes rock-god "Izzy" and is thrust into the chaotic, drug-and-sex-fueled world of rock and roll and, from there, pretty much all hell breaks loose.

Now I am not a big fan of "Friends" and have, in the past, imposed a fairly strict rule against seeing any "Friends'" vehicles. If there were a "Friend" whom I have grown to tolerate, it would have be Jennifer Aniston, who actually does a relatively decent job portraying Chris's longtime girlfriend, Emily. I am not fully convinced that Aniston ever does much more than play herself in the roles she has taken but I suppose I like her well enough to let this slide. In fact, her portrayal of Emily is simultaneously funny, sensitive and emotional as she deals with letting Chris pursue his dreams that directly conflict with her desire to remain his girlfriend. She may find herself taken off my "banned" list if she keeps this up.

The smattering of past and present "real" rock stars fleshes out the cast of supporting characters and not only brings a realistic feel to the film but adds a bit of camp appeal as well. The music is of the genre is fun enough to be more than tolerable and the soundtrack is packed with recognizable hits from the era. If there were a decade I would like to banish to hell, it would be the 80s so, as you may expect, my tolerance for 80s nostalgia runs fairly low. "Rock Star" did an excellent job toeing the line between mockery and respect for the material leaving me with a grin on my face and no regrets whatsoever for spending the time to revisit that which I would gladly wipe from the world's collective memory.

DVD Details:
"Rock Star" is delivered in a widescreen anamorphic format with English, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks. English, French and subtitles are also provided.

A decent assembly of extras can be found on this DVD including an informative, witty and overall interesting Director's Commentary, "Backstage Pass" featurette, music video of the title track by Everclear, and theatrical trailer. The extras definitely drop the ball a bit in the Cast/Crew section, which is, in a word, weak but the other items more than make up the difference to provide plenty of incentive to buy.

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Critter Critique: This week's review brought to you by Gavin.
Fatal Attraction:  Yet another example of Hollywood schlock served up in a double boiler. Though Fatal Attraction starts innocently enough, I was shocked and appalled to witness the on-screen atrocity put forth as entertainment in act three. Trust me, this one is not fit for man nor beast. Ginger Pants