ROCK STAR (2001)

Directed By: Stephen Herek 
Written By: John Stockwell
Cinematography: Ueli Steiger 
Editor: Trudy Sharp 

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, Dominic West, Timothy Spall, Dagmara Domincyzk, Jason Flemyng, Timothy Olyphant, Matthew Glave, Michael Shamus Wiles, Beth Grant, Stephen Jenkins, Jason Bonham, Jeff Pilson, Zakk Wylde, Colleen Ann Fitzpatrick, Amy Miller, Rachel Hunter, Heidi Mark, Carrie Stevens, Carey Lassard, Kristin Willits 

The lead singer of a tribute band becomes the lead singer of the real band he idolizes.


This is a film built off of wish fulfillment and watching the life and fantasy most members of the audience dream of, sort of like those entertainment shows that show you the houses and yachts of celebrities to impress you even though you might never actually get a chance to actually see or experience it and better yet this is based on a true story.

So while the film is showing someone else living it up. It feels within arms reach for the audience. Like voluntary torture with a story. A real-life fairy tale with a moral to it.

It’s the old talented being careful what you wish for because you get what you want but you might not be prepared for what it entails and what you have to do to maintain it

An all-American dream movie that shows the dark side and in the end is a happy ending that lets the hero stand on his own Terms. Yet ends up feeling cheesy

Mark Wahlberg is strong. Here as the devoted fan and Everyman who won’t bend in his fandom and cover their songs but when he gets the chance to be part of them finds he has to constantly make compromises

He sees the dark side of stardom and the same type of doctoral behavior he had with his cover band he notices it’s the same way in the actual band

There are many scenes showing the access of rock-star life the lifestyle and legendary parties but also the toll they can take and how they can change you and practically make you a slave or zombie to it. Change who you are and who you are to people how flexible your morals can become

Jennifer Aniston is sexy but  the outfits they give her are made to be flattering but they also, unfortunately, show the limitations of her body and for some odd reasons  make her appear older than Her co-star

This is one of the folks that showed his appeal and has a prepared audience for his more Everyman appeal yet who they would want to Be. Watch him have good times and imagine themselves there.

This seems like a film that would have more of an impact when it is set more in the 1980s or even 90s to show how bloated that period of time was. Watching it now it seems to deliver more an obvious message as well as trying to be a kind of throwback that feels out of date and a satire with little to say about the time. Instead of just throwing in hooked jabs of Jokes

The casting of Mark Wahlberg seems ironic considering his past as an overnight music star as Marky Mark in his teens. So while his character here is in a different genre of music. You can’t help but think if he dealt with some of the same issues when he was a music star rapper.

Based on a true story it stays entertaining and funny at parts but seems to try so hard for something that is more of a minor tale. 

Though pretty much of ItMs time and more disposable back then. This film plays much better over time. Still ridiculous but more heartfelt. An earnestness of the modern era That is kind of missing in most modern films of these times. 

Grade: C+

DON’T TELL MOM THE BABYSITTER’S DEAD (1991)

Directed By: Stephen Herek
Written By: Neil Landau & Tara Ison
Cinematography By: Tim Sushrstedt
Editor: Larry Bock

Cast: Christina Applegate, Keith Coogan, Joanna Cassidy, Jayne Brook, John Getz, Josh Charles, Kimmy Robertson, Danielle Harris, David Duchovny, Concetta Tomei, Christopher Pettiet, Sarah Buxton, Michael Kopelow 

Single mother goes away for the summer. The kids are first delighted but then find that Mom has hired the sitter from hell to stay with them. When the sitter dies of a sudden coronary they deposit the body at a mortuary only to discover all their summer expense money was in her purse. The kids must find a way to survive the summer without mom or her money. This means actual work! 


The title gets to the point and pretty much summarizes the plot of the movie right away. Usually, movies Like this have a deadly fate. Look at STOP OR MY MOTHER WILL SHOOT! Which is more infamous than anything.

This is actually pretty good and memorable. Even watching it today though some of it is dated and some of the humor random. It still holds up as even though it has some harsh material mostly in the form of language and certain situations. This is more a family romp. The material makes it seem like it’s own Characters who are likable who seem tough and troubled but have good hearts. As it has an edge but plays it clean.

I will admit I have a soft spot for this film. I even saw it in theaters upon the initial release. It still is instantly rewatchable.

This was Christina Applegate’s big Hollywood starring role. She has guest-starred in other shows and had an indie film that was buried on video before this, by this was a big time and even though a modest hit. That seems to love on in airings. She never really got a chance at a big screen follow up the Leading role.

Here she plays against her usual sexy or sex pot type of roles she was getting at the time. This was more of a teenager forced to grow up to get out of a situation but still being a kid at heart. So a kind of comedic coming of age role that wasn’t too deep. This role allowed her to show range and talent. Which might be why she is discharged a consummate comedic actress now. As she grew up play around comedic productions and actors. Even though she was not the first choice for the role. As it was written for Winona Ryder and once she turned it down Justine Bateman was to take on the role but dropped out.

As we basically watch her as a teen prepare for the adult world. While being immersed in it and while making mistakes learning to form them and getting by and actually improving and helping the company and her co-workers. Which has an effect on all those around. Her and proving that karma does exist.

The film even manages to fit in a cute teenage romantic subplot that of course runs parallel to the main plot and ends up having mishaps, misunderstandings and accidents.

The film isn’t as cynical and dark as the title might suggest or that the premise might seem.

Part of what works is that even the supporting characters are fun and come off as believable and funny and get their own space and time to shine.

This was one of the last really noteworthy roles for actor Keith Coogan. Here he plays the second oldest Kenny a stoner metalhead who manages the household while his sister is away and in staying home also learns a skill that helps him to mature. After all his mistakes at home that cause only more trouble and mishaps. He nearly steals the movie though doesn’t have as much screen time. Though this is definitely a highlight of His work and one of his bigger roles. Definitely one most will remember him for other then ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING.

Production nearly stopped towards the end of shooting due to Christopher Pettiet’s drug addiction, which was starting to get out of control. The producers cut a few of his scenes to keep the film on schedule. Which would explain why he is barely in the movie.

This could have easily been a one-joke movie but it actually has some substance to go along with the comedy it presents. It actually feels well rounded which is rare for a teen comedy. Especially at the time. –If the pace had been a bit quicker this could have been quite a slapstick comedy.

John Landis was originally approached to direct as he was the producer’s first choice. the movie but he turned it down. As did John Hughes who only directed his own scripts and was eager to step away from teen films. Also Richard Donner, Joe Dante rand Joel Schumacher turned it down. This was Director Stephen Herek’s third big-screen film production. He shines here. Which would be his style with most of his films. Which really were more family-centered films. With those other directors, the film would be more an approach of their styles which might be bigger than the actors of the film but might have allowed To be taken more seriously as a comedy. Rather than written off as a dark teen film. Even as it packs plenty of nostalgia no matter what age

GRADE: B-