Musings on “The Rock”

What does “The Rock” mean to you?

According to my first search result, it could refer to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. My knowledge of this man consists of knowing that he is incredible. He is a titan, a movie icon, 6’5″ 260, and oozes weapon-grade charisma from every pore of his body. In the last three years he has starred in two of the best movies of the decade, the criminally entertaining “San Andreas” in 2015 and the criminally overlooked instant classic, “Skyscraper” this year. The sheer volume of his output is unprecedented. He has starred in 9 movies since 2015. He is an actor that makes solving problems look effortless or incredibly difficult based on the demands of the script. I like to imagine when he is doing his own stunts/physical set pieces that directors shake their head and say, “Make it look harder.”

The second search result refers to the film, “The Rock.” I consider this film to be a transcendent action movie and one of the best movies of the 90’s (My other personal favorites of the 90’s include the labyrinthian “LA Confidential” and the profound “Clueless”). In fact I feel like describing it as an action movie is an insulting qualifier. I consider this movie to be approaching the perfect movie. If I had to describe the scenes I deeply love in chronological order, it would literally be the plot synopsis. Just as a quick example, there is a masterful sequence that involves shoving a green ball filled with the most toxic chemical on Earth into a bad guy’s mouth, immediately followed by the good guy played by Nic Cage reluctantly impaling himself in the lower sternum with a comically large knife laced with the poison’s antidote. The fact that this scene is plausible based on previous world-building, and necessary based on the mechanics of the plot, is a miracle. If you haven’t watched this movie yet, stop reading and watch it. As you have probably picked up in the first half of this piece, you will be missing very little in the second half.

(Note: People forget that Aaron Sorkin worked as a writer for the movie but was never credited. Only Sorkin, at least one of the other writers, and God, know the exact contributions he made to the script. I assume it was substantial and critical. In that case, I wonder if Sorkin thinks about this massive slight every waking moment of his life. Is it worth possibly tainting the original to film a sequel of “The Rock” starring “The Rock,” written by a vindictive Aaron Sorkin. What magic could Sorkin conjure up when he is writing both fast and furious.)

The third major, “The Rock” is the Rock of Gibraltar, which I consider to be the most important geological rock on Earth. That’s a discussion for a future piece, “Musings on Rocks.”

“The Rock”

Anyway, this is what “The Rock” means to me.

I love both “The Rock”s. I love that they are both called “The Rock.” It is undoubtedly perplexing when you talk about “The Rock” conversationally and inevitably have to clarify which one you are referring to. I think and hope the two were destined to be confused with one another for the rest of time. I pray that we never lose this confusion because it would signal that one has had staying power, and one has been forgotten.

50 years ago the winner of the Oscar for Best Picture was “Oliver!” by Carol Reed. Based on no research that sounds awful. In the same year “2001: A Space Odyssey” was not nominated for Best Picture. I actually hate “2001: A Space Odyssey”, but it cannot be argued that it is intensely remembered. My one hope is that in 50 years we intensely remember (and love), “The Rock”s. And if this flimsy logic holds, in 2069 we will be shocked that “Skyscraper” wasn’t nominated for Best Picture in 2019.

Editors Note: If you have strong preferences for either the film or the man, please comment. The more scorching the take the better.

Editors Note: Sorry for the typos, I do not currently have Microsoft Word and wrote this on Notepad.

6 thoughts on “Musings on “The Rock”

  1. Looking forward to your take on the Rock of Gibraltar. Note, Skyscraper is yet a reimagining of Die Hard with a prosthetic.


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