“The millennial Matisse” – An exposition as to the social, cultural, and artistic impact of cinematic savant Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson

Over the weekend, a fairly stunning thing happened within the cinematic universe. And that thing was, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. The man. The myth. The legend… the rock. Pardon me, THE ROCK.

I mean, I’m getting ahead of myself. The literal thing that happened in movie theaters across the world was a movie entitled, Rampage. If you have been hiding under a rock the last 30 years, Rampage was a really horrendously bad video game even back in the day. I mean, sure, I may have spent lots of money on it. And sure I might have preferred Lizzie to the other two characters to play with. (Heck, if you’d like to play the old game, Warner Bros. have created a web version that is free to play right here.) But it was an awful video game.

So here is the question of the day – how did Rampage do almost 150 million in its first weekend exactly?

And better yet, how in heaven’s gloriously good name, did anyone get the idea to create a Rampage movie? I mean, it’d be about as good an idea as creating a movie based on the Disney theme park ride Pirates of the Caribbean. Oh wait. But this was a bad bad idea. Like, mortally wounding to your career, bad sort of an idea. Did you even look at that game link I included above? No. No you didn’t. So here you go, this is the video game that this movie is based on…

Puh-lease. This is embarrassing. But there is something interesting happening right here. Something fascinating that has not happened recently in the world of Hollywood. And that my friends, is the cultural icon, the wunderkind that is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Because no one, literally no one in Hollywood today has the hutzpah, that gravitas, that magic necessary to make that image above into a blockbuster winner… other than The Rock. No one. Not Tom Cruise. Not Harrison Ford. Not Samuel L. Jackson (though it pains me to say it.)

So what the heck is going on here? How is this a thing? Well, I would like to submit to you that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson defies categorization and the obvious gravitational pull that has minimized the flight patterns of other high flying Icarusian movie actors.

I’ll tell you what is going on here. Let me elucidate it for you. It’s simple, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the first really big budget blockbuster driver of the new millennium. Just last week I would have said that the big budget movie star was dead. But that was before I realized what a white unicorn The Rock is. And so I’m going out on a limb to say this next statement.

“Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is a “Millennial Matisse”- do you realize what I am saying here? Do you understand the social, cultural, and artistic impact of what that means to our society and to our culture? To what an amazing savant that means The Rock must be? Let me set up my case for you today…

I open my argument with the point number one – The Mummy Returns. And I would like to submit this photo to the court as evidence item #A1:

After spending 1996 to 2004 in the wrestling ring as “Rocky Maivia”. And anyone that can overcome a billing like Rocky Maivia has just got to be amazing in my book. Heck, John Cena described him as the biggest superstar in the history of WWE. Can a guy get a better endorsement than that of John Cena? But it wasn’t until The Mummy Returns where The Rock was tossed into the global spotlight. For his freshman role he was paid over $5 million dollars – a . record at the time for an actor in his first starring role. But as you can tell, the ring definitely prepared him for the bonanza that is Hollywood. The next bit of evidence I’d like to roll out for you? Hannah Montana wherein Mr. Johnson began playing in the Disney sandbox with great aplomb. You laugh, but The Rock owned those episodes of Hannah Montana he was  lucky enough to participate in.

The next movie to establish Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s cultural relevance? Tooth Fairy. Enough said there. And we have Get Smart, Race to Witch Mountain, The Other Guys… and then we get to Transformers Prime – The TV Series. Another cultural phenomenon. And what about GI Joe: Retaliation? You get the idea. And jump to 2016… and The Rock was the highest paid actor of the year with $64 million. And did you know our Rock wrote a book? Yeah. Possibly the only thing missing from his resume? Art? Maybe poetry? No, we don’t have that, but what about a musical based on his life? Oh yeah…

Did you know that there is a dystopian musical based The Rock? I am crapping you negative. So the musical inspired by his life is entitled ‘The People’s Rock’, which debuted back in January. Apparently the story takes place thirty years in the future and follows a teen living in an oppressive United States. The tyrranical leader at the time? Is Emperor Trumpus. (I cannot make this stuff up.) And apparently, the teen looks up to The Rock as an idealist and a counter story to the heavy handed Emperor Trumpus.

One more detail about The Rock in the musical, because, holy cow, I just can’t resist. In the screenplay The Rock is referred to as the “The Fairy Rockmother”, and is seen as a cult hero figure from the Stalinist Russia era. And now we have come full circle back to Rampage and our Stalinist Culture Icon.

Let’s be ultra-clear here, absolutely no one cares about the idea The Rampage. Sure, it helps that we have Godzilla like monsters for the opening in China, (which was an astounding 55 million), but ultimately, everyone that went to see this movie saw it exclusively for The Rock. How do I know? Because I’ve seen it. And it is possibly one of the greatest piles of WHAT THE HECK stupidity I’ve ever seen. The only reason to see this movie is 100% to watch Mr. Johnson play in this fantasy land of holy crap what just happened. I mean, The Rock’s eyebrow alone should be considered an American Hero.

 

Now, if you’ve read THiNC. for more than 5 minutes, you’ll already know that I cannot stand Hollywood pulp. Any. At all. Super hero movies tripe? No thanks. Big budget inanity created to pad Hollywood executive’s bottom line? No no no. So how did I come to write this story about my own antithesis? I was bet that I couldn’t do it. And so I did it. So do me a favor and file this entire post under, uh, wait, what?

Now, when I let my Australian friend know that I not only accepted his challenge, but I also had completed it, here’s what he had to say:

“Ok ok ok ok ok – WAIT!!!?!!! WHAT!!!!!

I’ve just spent the last five minutes with my jaw to the floor!!! AHAHAHHAHAA!! This is so great!!!

I owe you a coke!”

Which, dear internet reader, is more than enough motivation to do an hour’s worth of research on a topic I don’t believe in. A coke. Wait, he continued:

“You win 2018. This is your year. It’s official. Take it. This year is done. I hope your servers are able to handle all the vitality that’s about to hit!”

So if you are wondering why all of a sudden 2018 just turned all kinds of sour for you? It’s because, it is now my year. So there you have it.

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