I am still trying to come to terms with why "Rock of Ages" exists as a stage musical, much less a big screen project that Tom Cruise found worthy enough to star in. The existence of big screen musical with a narrative based on the lyrics of bands like Journey and Styx does not keep me up at night, but I do occasionally face an existential crisis when I see, for instance, a TV commercial announcing that the stage musical is going to be performed at a touring theater in my hometown.
The crisis is thus: why is there a big screen movie with a narrative driven by the lyrics of Journey and Styx, but there is not a movie version of Liz Phair's daring, provocative and in all ways superior work of musical art, "Exile in Guyville"? How can I possibly make sense of such a world?
That existential crisis revolves around a very simple philosophical contradiction that can be expressed-rarely for me-as a mathematical equation. A: Liz Phair writes songs that have great meaning and resonance. B: Neither Journey nor Styx have ever written a single song between that have any meaning whatever and resonate in the soul about as long as it takes to brush your hair. If A is true and B is true, then how can C be true in which C equals the existence of movie based on the songs of Journey and Styx while no movie has yet been made of "Exile in Guyville"?
It is a conundrum worthy of Jean-Luc Godard. Or Albert Einstein. Or Albert Camus. I'm not sure which of those figures would be most qualified to tackle the central predicament at work here. That predicament is a Sisyphean existence in which the worst possible outcome of one artistic discipline is adapted into the worst possible outcome of another artistic discipline while right there in full view of everyone is a masterpiece of music that cries out to become a masterpiece of cinema.
You can get a handle on the basic philosophical difference merely by examining the way that "Rock of Ages" dives head first into the shallow waters of the mundane by naming characters after songs in order to artificially construct a narrative. "Exile in Guyville" is a monumental example of female empowerment, an earthy response to the specific decadence of the Rolling Stones's album "Exile on Main Street" and a more generalized post-post-punk response to the emptiness of dinosaur rock all wrapped up in a punch in the gut to male stupidity.
Imagine the possibilities! Imagine Jean-Luc Godard getting his hands on "Exile in Guyville"! Okay, that won't happen and if it did it is highly unlikely that anybody who went to see "Rock of Ages" would ever see it even if they lived a million lifetimes. The sad truth is that the odds of a movie based on "Exile in Guyville" ever being made are even greater than the odds of somebody thinking that the lyrics of bands like Journey, Styx, Nightranger and Guns 'n Roses would make a story that anybody but the dead might possibly enjoy.
So, in other words, philosophy and mathematics combine to provide hope. Unfortunately, capitalist ideology mandates the necessity of contradiction. Therefore, hold your breath for a movie based on Liz Phair's seminal album "Exile in Guyville" but only until that final second before you die.
Things could be worse. A woman should direct this movie, but that woman could be Kathryn Bigelow. Which would be the same as if James Cameron directed it. Even worse, it could be Sofia Coppola.
Three names that need to be exiled from guyville!
For more from Timothy Sexton, Yahoo!'s first Writer of the Year, check out: