‘For your Consideration: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’

REVIEW: Ridge Writers on Books

By Tres Dean, Quirk Books, paperback, 158 pages, 2019, $14.99

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By DONNA MCCROHAN ROSENTHAL

Quirk Publishing’s “For Your Consideration” series easily answers the call for light, entertaining, fact-filled reading. Each short book focuses on a current celebrity, not with chronological biography but rather, offering collections of essays on different facets of the subject’s appeal.

“For Your Consideration: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson” represents a particularly likable example. In it, author and avowed fan Dean combines five essays and extras, some breezy and some about inequality, poverty and discrepancies inherent in the American dream. They range from “The Rock and the Evolution of the American Action Star” to “A Comprehensive Index of Every Time The Rock Has Appeared as Himself in Movies and Television.”

Dean explores the many contradictions behind the action hero movie star, fitness icon, Instagram ace and proud father of three daughters, beginning with the Rock’s early trash-talking professional wrestler career that launched him into a new status as one of the most famous people in the world.

On the serious side, Dean looks at Johnson’s brand of masculinity, citing his candor about his bouts with depression and the fact that women in his films are rarely objectified.

In a lighter vein, Dean notes that “Pro wrestling is a cacophonous symphony of political incorrectness, and back in the nineties, The Rock was its Mozart.” Elsewhere, he lists the elements of a proper Rock movie that must contain some, if not all, of these elements: “One (1) explosion,” “One (1) fistfight,” “One (1) feat of strength,” and “One scene in which The Rock fights something that until that moment we have never seen him fight (e.g. earthquake, giant wolf, Vin Diesel).”

He considers The Rock’s cinematic output, from top-rate to groan-worthy. (“Box office success doesn’t matter if it turns you into a punchline”).

He even discusses The Rock as a wordsmith, who though “not the first wrestler to say ‘smackdown,’ he’s certainly the one responsible for popularizing it to the point that…Webster’s added it to the dictionary. It’s a real word now because of him.”

“For Your Consideration: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson” delivers a winning portrait. Other series title include “Keanu Reeves” and “Maya Rudolph.”

This monthly column is written by members of Ridge Writers, the East Sierra Branch of the California Writers Club.

Story First Published: 2020-05-22