The Rocker (film)

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The Rocker
Promotional poster
Directed by Peter Cattaneo
Produced by Shawn Levy
Tom McNulty
Screenplay by Maya Forbes
Wallace Wolodarsky
Story by Ryan Jaffe
Starring Rainn Wilson
Christina Applegate
Teddy Geiger
Josh Gad
Emma Stone
Jane Lynch
Music by Chad Fischer
Cinematography Anthony B. Richmond
Edited by Charles Kaplan
Brad E. Wilhite
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • June 12, 2008 (2008-06-12) (CineVegas International Film Festival)
  • August 20, 2008 (2008-08-20)
Running time
102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million[1]
Box office $8,767,338[1]

The Rocker is a 2008 American comedy film directed by Peter Cattaneo, starring Rainn Wilson, Christina Applegate, Teddy Geiger, Josh Gad, Emma Stone, and Jane Lynch. The film was written by Maya Forbes & Wallace Wolodarsky, from a story by Ryan Jaffe.


Robert "Fish" Fishman (Rainn Wilson) is a singer and drummer in Vesuvius, a fictional heavy metal/glam metal band from Cleveland, Ohio. After playing a local gig and sending Fish out for beer, his bandmates are approached by their manager, who says that a label is interested in them but will not sign them unless they replace Fish with a nephew of the record company's president. The band at first refuses to fire one of their loyal members, but when they find out that they would open up for Whitesnake, they accept. Fish lashes out at his bandmates for selling him out, promising he will find another band that will be greater than Vesuvius. Twenty years later, Fish leads a bitter, unhappy life still harboring a grudge against the still famous Vesuvius. After a heated argument with a coworker who is Vesuvius fan, Fish is fired and then his girlfriend breaks up with him, causing Fish to move in with his sister.

Matt (Josh Gad), Fish's nephew, plays keyboards in an alternative rock band called A.D.D. along with his friends Curtis (Teddy Geiger) and Amelia (Emma Stone). Their band is set to play at the prom but when their drummer gets thrown out of school they reluctantly agree to ask Fish to fill in. Although the band sees that he is a talented drummer, Fish's exuberance gets the best of him and turns the gig into a disaster. Fish tries to make amends by trying to get the band a gig. Eventually, he manages to organize a booking in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The band decides to sneak out in Fish's sister's minivan, but are soon caught by the police as Fish took the minivan without permission and his sister reported it stolen.

When Fish is kicked out of his sister's house and rents the basement of his favorite Chinese restaurant, the band invents a new way to practice via four-way iChat. Because of the stuffy and hot atmosphere in Fish's new residence, he chooses to practice naked unwittingly in front of the camera, which is secretly recorded by Matt's little sister, and posts the recording on YouTube; causing Fish to unknowingly become an Internet star known as "the Naked Drummer". A million hits later, A.D.D. signs a contract with David Marshall (Jason Sudeikis), an agent whose arrogance outshines his poseur personality.

The band wows audiences across the country, with everyone wanting to see the infamous "Naked Drummer". However, Fish commits stereotypical acts, despite the physical costs on his body, and he vandalizes a hotel room, which results in the band's arrest.

After bailing them out, Kim, Curtis's mother (Christina Applegate), promises the other parents she will stay for the remainder of the tour, so their children will not be influenced by Fish's antics. As the tour continues, Fish and Kim find that they have similar interests and begin to find an attraction to each other. A.D.D. also shoots a music video which upon watching, all the band members are featured prominently except Fish, who notices that his face is being obscured during the entire video. Later on it is discovered that David does not want to promote Fish as a member of A.D.D.

David informs the band that they are opening for Vesuvius in a free concert for their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Outraged, Fish objects to open for the band he started, and the band agrees that they should not to do the show. During Fish's rage, Curtis's mother tries to calm him down by kissing him, which David witnesses. He tells Curtis, exaggerating the truth, hoping to get Fish removed. During their next concert, Curtis announces to the crowd that the band will do the show after all, much to Fish's dismay. After they have a heated argument in front of the crowd, Fish quits the band and leaves despite Kim's objections. Fish goes into depression as he throws away his drumsticks, cuts his hair, and has Stan get him a job in the corporate world.

Matt and Amelia persuade Curtis that the band is nothing without the spirit of Fish after the label's newly appointed drummer does not fit in. Curtis reconciles with Fish, and then he convinces Fish to do the concert citing that he has a second chance at becoming the rock star he was destined to be. Upon arriving at the stadium before their performance, Fish encounters his former bandmates who have become pompous, vain and arrogant, with faux-British accents and a new drummer named Sticks (Lonny Ross), who is actually from England. Vesuvius actually does not remember Fish until one bandmember says he faintly remembers. Discovering that he is able to move on, Fish wishes Vesuvius a great show. Fish and the band perform to a standing ovation. After their gig, Amelia and Curtis, and Fish and Kim both begin a relationship. Vesuvius takes the stage, and during their set the lead singer's microphone falls off the stand while the voice track of their song continues, then one line of the song starts incessantly sounding like a broken record, revealing that they have been lip-syncing. The audience condemns Vesuvius and chants an encore for A.D.D. Over David's objections, the band dismisses him and performs for the crowd once again.



The Rocker was mostly filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with some exterior shots filmed in Cleveland, Ohio.[2]

The songs attributed to the band A.D.D. were mostly written and produced by musician/producer Chad Fischer, of the band Lazlo Bane. Fischer also performed most of the music, with Teddy Geiger singing the lead vocals. The songs attributed to the band Vesuvius were written and performed by all the members of Lazlo Bane, with lead vocals sung by Keith England.[3][4]


The Rocker Official Soundtrack[edit]

The Rocker Official Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released Jul 22 2008
Genre Rock
Length 38:41
Label Columbia

The official soundtrack for the film features all original songs performed by the fictional bands A.D.D. and Vesuvius. A.D.D. also performed two covers in the film: "Nothin' But a Good Time", originally by Americаn glam metal band Poison, and "In Your Eyes", originally by British musician Peter Gabriel. However, only the first was included in the soundtrack.

Track two "Bitter" and track nine "I'm So Bitter" are two versions of the same song with different arrangement and slightly different lyrics.

No. Title Writer(s) Artist Length
1. "Tomorrow Never Comes"   Chad Fischer Teddy Geiger 4:06
2. "Bitter"   Fischer Teddy Geiger 2:38
3. "Living for the First Time"   Christopher Faizi / Ferraby Lionheart Teddy Geiger 3:27
4. "Down"   Lionheart / Faizi Teddy Geiger 3:22
5. "Great Escape"   Fischer Teddy Geiger 2:27
6. "Coming Through In Stereo"   Fischer / Patrick Houlihan Teddy Geiger 3:07
7. "Nothin' But a Good Time"   CC Deville / Bret Michaels / Richard Ream / Robert Kuykendall Teddy Geiger 3:32
8. "Too Far"   Fischer Teddy Geiger 3:25
9. "I'm So Bitter"   Fischer Teddy Geiger 3:03
10. "Promised Land"   Fischer / Tim Bright / Chris Link Vesuvius 3:39
11. "Pompeii Nights"   Chicken / Link / Bright / Fischer Vesuvius 2:38
12. "The Rocker Score Suite"   Fischer Chad Fischer 3:28
Total length:


To promote the movie, the song "Promised Land", as performed by the fictional band Vesuvius, was released as free downloadable content for the video game Rock Band, which is shown being played in the movie.

A viral marketing effort for the film was begun on August 11, 2008, when Rainn Wilson posted a message to the MySpace blog of Jenna Fischer, his co-star from The Office. According to his message,[5] he had "kidnapped the lovely Jenna, put her, bound, in the trunk of my Firebird and logged onto her MySpace to send out this bulletin....To free America's must attend my new movie, 'The Rocker', which opens August 20th....As soon as the film grosses 18.7 Mil, she will be released and given a peach smoothie." Ironically, the film was not even close to grossing that much money. A subsequent blog entry pointed readers to, where videos were posted and features such as a "Free Jenna Game" and countdown tickers could be found.

'The Rocker: Live The Dream' was a competition to promote the film via MySpace and Kerrang! magazine in the UK. Over 1200 bands entered original songs at for a chance to win a photo shoot and interview with Kerrang! magazine, a trip to the MySpace Black Curtain Screening in London, Gibson musical equipment and an assortment of 20th Century Fox merchandise. Ten bands went through to the final judging and Scottish band Alburn were chosen by Kerrang! editor Paul Brannigan, as the winner.[6] Alburn dressed and posed as characters from the film in the Kerrang! photo shoot. Rainn Wilson recorded a video message for the winning band, which was played at the MySpace Black Curtain Screening.

A Flash game titled The Rocker: TV Toss was also released. In the game, the player controls Fish (in 1st person view). The objective is to do damage to the hotel room by tossing TVs at various objects. The high score is calculated by means of the cost of objects damaged.


Critical response[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 41%, based on 123 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2/10. The site's consensus reads: "With a predictable and lightweight story, the earnest efforts of the cast are squandered by The Rocker's bland script."[7] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 53 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[8]

Box office[edit]

The Rocker was released on August 20, 2008 in the USA. It was disappointing at the box office, opening outside the Top 10 at #12 with $2.64 million for its first weekend, grossing less than $7 million overall during its entire theatrical run.[1] One of the stars of the film, Emma Stone, had another film (The House Bunny) open the same weekend. It fared much better than The Rocker, opening at #2.

Cultural references[edit]

  • Jon "Fish" Fishman is the real life drummer and namesake of the Vermont-based jam band Phish.
  • Robert shouting "I am a golden fish" before falling off a roof in the film is a reference to Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous in which a character says "I am a golden god" before jumping off a roof into a pool. Which in turn is based on Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, declaring the same. (Incidentally, Rainn Wilson had a minor role in Almost Famous.)


  1. ^ a b c The Rocker at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ The Rocker locations, IMDb
  3. ^ The Rocker soundtrack, IMDb
  4. ^ Keith England MySpace page
  5. ^ A Personal Message From Jenna’s "Friend", Rainn Wilson an entry from the MySpace blog of Jenna Fischer
  6. ^
  7. ^ The Rocker at Rotten Tomatoes
  8. ^

External links[edit]