They say that life imitates art, and in the case of some aging rockers, unintentionally prophetic movies have provided insight into their future musical activities. We're not sure if that's a good or a bad thing, but here are some uncanny examples of celluloid precognition. Fledgling rockers take heed: Your future may lie in a movie that's out right now!
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
In a scene in Office Space, corporate drone Michael Bolton has to endure being compared to the reformed rock singer of the same name, especially during a bruising evaluation where an efficiency expert (John C. McGinley) waxes eloquent about the real Bolton's pop vocal prowess, particularly on his "stunning" and "very emotional" opera album. Flash forward to January 30, 2007: Michael Bolton's opera DVD My Secret Passion arrives. No joke.
In the 2001 movie Rock Star - based partially on the life of Tim "Ripper" Owens, who ascended from Judas Priest tribute singer to Rob Halford's replacement in 1996 - a young singer played by Mark Wahlberg becomes the front man for his favorite band after his vocal idol quits. But once he's entrenched in the group's world, he does not get to write his own parts and has to sing a rap-metal tune. Move forward several months: Judas Priest releases Demolition, which has no Owens songwriting credits and which closes with a rap-metal-style song. However, unlike Wahlberg's character, who returns to doing coffeehouse performances, Owens still tours the world today with Iced Earth and Beyond Fear.
In the legendary This Is Spinal Tap, the dim-witted British rockers unveil their new jazz approach at a gig where they are lower than a puppet show on the marquee. Funnily enough, some headbangers have gone on to explore their own real-life jazz adventures. Completely crazed Raven drummer Rob "Wacko" Hunter, known for having worn a hockey goalie's gear to protect himself when he smashed into his drums during the '80s, has since become Branford Marsalis's sound engineer, both for recording and gigs. Also, Testament thrash guitarist Alex Skolnick recently has played and toured with the Alex Skolnick Trio, which has recorded jazzy instrumental covers of classic hard-rock and metal tunes by the likes of Deep Purple, Scorpions, and Black Sabbath.
LIVE OR MEMOREX?
In Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, the goofy, time-traveling SoCal dudes compete in a battle of the bands (with bands that were hijacked by their evil robotic doubles). While no one has yet had to face that peril in real life, some well-known bands have splintered into different versions and inspired recent lawsuits between various members over the right to use their name on tour, including the Doors, Ratt, and Saxon. On a parallel line of thought, Kiss manager Doc McGhee admitted in 2005 that the famous band might eventually tour without any original members. McKiss, anyone?
FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Hey, funny we mention Kiss and robots, because in the 1978 TV movie Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, the famous rockers take on evil robotic doubles created by a former theme-park designer who wants to upstage their concert at California's Magic Mountain. Thirty-five years later, fellow makeup kings Twisted Sister find themselves playing a Six Flags park in New Jersey during their reunion tour and performing on the West Coast in support of then future California "Governator" Arnold Schwarzenegger. And plenty of metal bands can now give older headbangers/parents relief from kiddie attractions at the House of Blues at Disney World.
Although the death of former Superman star George Reeves in 1959 by gunshot was ruled a suicide, some people speculate that it was another person who pulled the trigger and ended his life. Combining real-life events with a fictitious story line in which a detective named Louis Simo (Adrien Brody) searches to find out what really happened to Reeves (Ben Affleck), Hollywoodland juxtaposes the frustrated lives of a small-screen star and a small-time PI. It is a tale of big-studio politics, the constrictions of fame, and the illusion of stardom, which were much less frequently front-page news in the days of old Hollywood than in our tell-all era. The filmmakers wanted to avoid making a standard biopic, but the story of Reeves - an aspiring movie star known only for his immortal TV role and who was the kept man of the wife (Diane Lane) of an MGM studio head (Bob Hoskins) - makes for compelling material. Simo is hot on the trail of evidence of homicide (which provokes threats to his life), and his saga is one of a failing detective struggling to cope with his ethical missteps, his divorce, and the waning attention of his young son. But you'll probably wish you had seen less of him and more of Reeves. There's a certain cleverness in casting Affleck as Reeves, especially considering that he has coped with similar trappings of typecasting, albeit it without the financial hardships his alter ego faced. In the end, you'll want to dig further into the life of Reeves on your own, especially as the bonus features do not probe into his life and we see little of his childhood on-screen. Despite its flaws, the well-acted Hollywoodland at least draws you into and humanizes the life of a former Man of Steel who was not so invincible in the end but who remains some fans' favorite Superman.