Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Rock Star

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Very strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and situations, including groupies
Alcohol/Drugs:Drug use, drinking, and smoking
Violence/Scariness:Some tense moments, explicit nipple-piercing scene
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:2001

There is logic, there is movie logic, and then there is the kind of “throw some big musical numbers and some good-looking stars on the screen and no one will notice that it makes no sense whatsoever — just look at ‘Flashdance'” logic. “Rock Star” is in that last category, and while it is not as preposterously entertaining as “Flashdance,” it is still has moments of guilty pleasure.

The story goes back to “Cinderella,” or at least to “Rocky,” with a little bit from Pinocchio. Chris (Mark Wahlberg) a 1980’s metal band’s biggest fan, gets picked out of obscurity to become the band’s new lead singer, only to find that dreams are not always what they seem from the outside. The equivalent of Pinocchio’s visit to the place where boys get turned into donkeys is Chris’s life of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, with increasingly more of the former. But before you can say “This would make a great episode of ‘Behind the Music,'” he sees the error of his ways, and finds the girl who loved him all along. I think he even invents grunge, the next new music craze, because he somehow goes from shrieking hard rock in leather pants to playing anquished ballads in a Seattle coffee house. Then there’s the clinch and the fade-out, followed by the movie’s most entertaining scenes, the out-takes shown during the credits.

The movie’s biggest problem is that it cannot make up its mind whether it wants to be a satire or play it straight. It tweaks the rock star worldview now and then, but no one could ever send up metal bands better than that masterpiece mockumentary, “This is Spinal Tap,” and they do not even try. That leaves us with an umimaginative rise-and-fall story that never really captures our hearts or even our attention. At least that makes it easier to ignore major lapses in the storyline.

Wahlberg enjoys himself onscreen, but it is impossible not to compare this to his performance in the vastly more complex and intelligent “Boogie Nights,” another movie about a naive young man who is brought into a world of debauchery and corruption. Jennifer Anniston is woefully underused in a standard-issue “good woman who stands by her man and holds on to her values” role that gives her only a few brief opportunities to show her crackerjack timing and ability to give snap to anything within 50 miles of a comeback. It is nice to see the musicians played by real-life guitarists Zakk Wylde and Brian Vander Ark, bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer Jason Bonham.

Parents should know that the movie is rated R for very strong language, nudity, explicit sexual situations (including group sex and bisexual encounters), and abuse of every kind of licit and illicit substance (even hotel room furniture). Many characters give the finger. There is an explicit close-up of a very unhygienic nipple-piercing. A gay character is insulted and fired from his job. The overall message is that the sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll lifestyle is empty and destructive, but not unappealing, for a short time anyway. Interestingly, there is some suggestion that it is a cynical marketing strategy, though that appears to be rationalization. One nice shift from the usual format for this kind of movie is that Chris has parents who are entirely loving and supportive of his passion for metal, and genuinely enjoy the music themselves.

Families who see this movie should talk about how some people limit themselves to dreaming that they can be exactly like someone else, instead of thinking about dreams that allow them to be most themselves. Why was it so easy for Chris to lose his way, while Emily saw that it was wrong? Why was it important for her to have her own life and career? What do we learn about Chris from the way he gets back on stage after his fall? What does he learn about himself? Do you agree with the comment that “we all owe somebody an apology along the way?”

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy This Is Spinal Tap (Special Edition) (mature material). They also might like to compare the Steel Dragons’s song “Anything Goes” to a classic song by the same name by Cole Porter.



Previous Posts

Does PG-13 Mean Anything Anymore?
The Washington Post has an article about a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movies," with some disturbing conclusions about parents' ability to make good decisions about the impact some media may have on their children. This is not

posted 8:00:58am Oct. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Is E-Reading to Kids the Same as Analog Reading?
The New York Times asks, Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time? In a 2013 study, researchers found that children ages 3 to 5 whose parents read to them from an electronic book had lower reading comprehension than children whose parents used traditional books. Part of th

posted 8:00:40am Oct. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Todd and Jedd Wider about the Bullying Documentary "Mentor"
Producers Todd and Jedd Wider generously took time to answer my questions about their documentary, "Mentor," the story of two teenagers who committed suicide following relentless bullying. The film, which received Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Woodstock Film Festival th

posted 3:56:57pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Clip: Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ApzHJhZz2JQ" frameborder="0"] The latest in Disney's animated Tinkerbell series adds Ginnifer Goodwin to the cast. Coming in March of 2015, it explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity

posted 1:23:59pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: "Avatar" Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in "23 Blast"
Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in "Avatar." But in "23 Blast," based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a good guy, the coach who encouraged and supported him. I talked to Lang about actin

posted 5:56:30am Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.