Marvin Aday, popularly known as Meat Loaf, is unquestionably a unique rock performer, but the story of his life follows a familiar TV-biopic path. Starting at a 1978 concert, the film flashes back to 1958, when overweight child "Meat Loaf" Aday (John Kai Jacobsen) is mired in an unhappy Dallas childhood. Young Meat Loaf cares for his cancer-stricken mother while dealing with verbal abuse from his alcoholic father, Wes Aday (Kim Robillard). Though psychologically damaged by father's taunts about his size, Meat Loaf (W. Earl Brown) eventually drops a few pounds and starts to shine in college. At the tail end of the hippie era, the nascent performer lands a gig in the national tour of "Hair" and finds his first love interest among his castmates. After the show lands in NYC, Meat Loaf auditions for innovative composer Jim Steinman (Zachary Throne), ignoring his girlfriend's pleas that they pursue a normal, non-show business life. Meat Loaf's voice fits Steinman's rock-opera aspirations perfectly, and the duo defy the naysaying of record-company honchos to record the hugely successful album "Bat Out of Hell." Fame takes a toll; the portly Meat Loaf relies on oxygen to get through his gigs and later develops vocal-cord problems. The stressed-out performer's temper tantrums estrange him from his loyal partners but through all his tribulations, Meat Loaf can count on the support of his wife, Leslie Edmonds (Deedee Pfeiffer), whom he met at Woodstock in 1976. After a second, less stellar career in Europe, Meat Loaf returns to working with Steinman and their new collaboration tops the charts. For Meat Loaf, however, his family life is a greater blessing than the public's renewed attention. No more revealing than a "Behind the Music " TV special, Jim McBride's mediocre biopic traffics in "poor-little-me" platitudes but benefits from W. Earl Brown's bombastic impersonation of the super-sized, super-talented performer.
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- Released: 2000
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Marvin Aday, popularly known as Meat Loaf, is unquestionably a unique rock performer, but the story of his life follows a familiar TV-biopic path. Starting at a 1978 concert, the film flashes back to 1958, when overweight child "Meat Loaf" Aday (John Kai… (more)