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Rock you like a hurricane

For three months during my sophomore year of college I attempted to play simple rock songs with three friends in the basement of our dorm. All in all I believe we could play two songs from The Who and one from The Rolling Stones. Our problem wasnt so much desire, but the inability to create pleasing sounds from our chosen instruments. Ultimately, someone complained about the horrific squealing emanating from the basement and we were forced to shut down. There is no doubt that rock-and-roll is an incredible force. For those few months that we practiced and the one gig that we played, I was a golden god (Almost Famous reference). Im not saying we were any good (because we werent), and Im not saying that we were exceptionally good looking (definitely not), but we did move people with our music (usually into an adjoining room or onto a back porch). Those who have played in a band know what Im talking about. It doesnt matter how bad your acne is or how unskilled you may be on your chosen instrument, playing rock-n-roll music energizes the spirit unlike anything else. It also makes people look at you differently. What other occupation can a total geek undertake and suddenly be sought after by beautiful women? It just doesnt happen with any other job (Bill Gates excluded). I admit that during my short run at rock stardom I had visions of packed arenas and hoards of screaming groupies. Those scenarios never panned out, but the thought of them was certainly motivating. And even though no more than 11 or 12 people ever saw us play, I still felt like a rock star in my mind (the bandanna around my head and the proportionally torn t-shirt helped others visualize what I was feeling). So when I saw this weeks feature, The Rocker, I could sympathize with the main character. Here was a man who had tasted the sweet nectar of stardom and then was forcibly thrust back into a traditional lifestyle. The Rocker definitely had good intentions. Unfortunately, good intentions cannot make up for a pitiful script. Any time a scene looked to be gearing up for some great laughs, poor dialogue deflated the momentum. This was unfortunate given the comedic possibilities of an actor like Rainn Wilson (Dwight on The Office). Even though Wilson is arguably one of the funniest men on television, the lack of depth in his character handcuffed any chance he had at success. The Rocker basically tried to combine elements of two great films: School of Rock and This is Spinal Tap. Unfortunately, where those films drew the audience in with the hard edge of 70s rock, The Rocker only pushed them away with the cheesy tenderness of teenage elevator music. This film will be most appreciated by a younger audience who is more apt to overlook the multitude of transgressions. Not to mention, the music itself has pre-teen written all over it (think Jonas Brothers meet Hannah Montana). If you were looking for a biting comedy that had a rock-no-roll edge, youre completely out of luck. A dissonant C- for The Rocker. The Last Picture Show Here's one that caused quite a stir when it was released in 1971. Based on the novel by Larry McMurty, The Last Picture Show is famous for introducing future stars Cybill Shephard, Jeff Bridges and Randy Quaid. The story revolves around a sleepy Texas town during the 1950s that, beneath the surface, has a number of secrets - mostly involving extramarital affairs. How and why these relationships occur speak to the emotional depth of the film. Nominated for eight Oscars and winner of two, The Last Picture Show is a film to be studied. The character portrayals and monochromatic filming combined with the erotic and highly charged storyline make for a deeply involved film. It was the crowning achievement for director Peter Bogdanovich - a height he would unfortunately never reach again. Got a question or comment for Dom? Contact him at moviediary@comcast.net

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