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Mark Wahlberg stars as Chris Cole, the lead singer of a tribute band who becomes lead singer of the real band he idolizes. This movie explores the rabid popularity and backstage excesses of the glam rock bands that dominated 1980's music.
This film contains examples of:
- Armored Closet Gay: Steel Dragon's original singer.
- Ascended Fanboy: The plot.
- Based on a True Story: Tim "Ripper" Owens was in a Judas Priest tribute band before joining Judas Priest itself.
- Big Brother Mentor: Mats.
- Book Ends: Chris impresses the lead singer by singing along at a concert; a fan later does the same thing to him.
- British Rock Star: The rest of Steel Dragon.
- Doing It for the Art: How Chris feels about his tribute band.
- The Eighties
- Eighties Hair
- End of an Age: The hair-metal/glam rock era of the 80's.
- Fake Band
- Groupie Brigade: And how!
- Grunge: At the end of the film Chris becomes disillusioned with the rock star lifestyle, so he quits Steel Dragon, moves to Seattle, and starts making grunge music.
- I Am the Band: Kurt Cutty feels this way.
- Important Haircut: Chris gets one at the end, going from metal length to Cobain length.
- Metalhead: The members of Steel Dragon, their fans, and their groupies.
- Metal Scream: Stand up and SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUT!
- Minimalistic Cover Art: Chris is scoffed at when he recommends this.
- Mr. Fanservice: As the manager explains, this is why the band is popular.
- New Sound Album: Chris wants to do one of these, but is overruled.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: No bands were harmed; Steel Dragon could easily be a stand-in for Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Judas Priest, Guns N' Roses, Twisted Sister, Poison, Winger, Slaughter, Warrant, etc.
- Nobody Loves the Bassist: Played straight. The singer and lead guitar are the only members written in any detail.
- Real Men Wear Pink: "Is that mascara?" "I'm in a band."
- The Rock Star: Chris becomes one.
- Running Gag: Don't call Blood Pollution a cover band.
- Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll
- Shown Their Work: In-universe, Chris knows everything about Steel Dragon. "The stitching should be green... and has anyone ever seen Bobby wear a jacket with blue lapels?"
- Stage Names: Izzy.
- Yoko Oh No: Averted, Jennifer Aniston's character is very cooperative.
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