Monday, July 2, 2012

Movie Review: Rock of Ages

I had a good time last night. After a long weekend that, ironically, went too fast, I had a lot of fun.

For whatever reason, my best friend, Sam, and I don't get together nearly as often as we'd like. She works two jobs, I work two jobs, she has family commitments, I have family commitments. Etc, etc. She finally cut down her hours at one of her jobs, and doesn't work Sundays anymore. We decided to catch a movie once I got off work.

Now, about Sam. She is a rocker at heart. Might not look like it, but she knows her rock music. And she loves it. She saw Rock of Ages when it came out a few weeks ago and despite what everyone else said about it, she loved it. She was gracious enough to see it again with me, though she said I probably wouldn't like it. Since I'm not that into Rock music.

I like it a bit more than she realizes.

I knew most of the songs, which made it a great movie to sing along to, and the story was pretty good (though as much as I love her, I think Catherine Zeta-Jones' character, who wasn't in the original show, was superfluous, and came about because Hollywood, though they hate her, has an odd obsession with Sarah Palin).

We start with Sherrie (Julianne Hough) riding a Greyhound from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Hollywood to become a big star. Tale as old as time. She starts to sing, the rest of the bus sings with her. When she gets to Hollywood, she is promptly mugged of all of her precious Rock albums were in her suitcase, and she meets Drew (Diego Boneta), who works as a barback at the Bourbon Room, which is owned by Dennis (Alec Baldwin) and run by Lonny (Russell Brand).

What struck me as funny is that during the time the movie takes place, 1987, was Alec Baldwin's heyday, and here he is, playing a tired, frustrated Rock lover who isn't really a ladies man. Tom Cruise, too, before Scientology served him the Kool-Aid (though, around the time he was married to Mimi Rogers, who introduced him to the love of his life), was an up and comer at this time.

Anyway, the club is getting ready for the last concert by the rock band Arsenal, before they break up and their lead, Stacee Jaxx (Cruise) goes solo. Drew gets Sherrie a job as a waitress, and the two fall in love through classic 70's and 80's rock music.

Oh, and Catherine Zeta-Jones? She's the Mayor's wife, who wants to clean up the Strip in Hollywood, and remove the Burbon Room and Rock Music from existence. She gets her little church group to sing "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" when going up against The Bourbon Room. Kids, you want to know what Ironic means in the correct way? That's it, right there.

Now on to what I really wanted to discuss in this review. I made notes of, so here goes.

I hate when I like Tom Cruise in a movie. I really do. The man freaks me out on so many levels, but when he chooses to go full-throttle into something, he does a great job. Usually, his emotional wingspan is the widening of his eyes. Not the case with Rock. He became Stacee Jaxx, a Rock Star so out of it and disenchanted with his life (after reading an interview he did for Rolling Stone) that he didn't even know which direction was up.

Julianne Hough sounds like Britney Spears, and does better group work than solo. I love Julianne Hough as a dancer. She lit up the ballroom as one of the professionals on Dancing With the Stars, and like her brother, Derek (who had a cameo at the strip club Hough's character started working at. Awkward!), has this ability to turn even the most awkward of people into dancers. She doesn't have a bad singing voice, but I think she's more pop/country than Rock and Roll. She sounded best when singing in groups.

At least she didn't butcher "I Love Rock 'n Roll like Britney.

Russell Brand's hair looks like Joan Jett of The Runaways. Remember when Kristen Stewart (Twilight) chopped off her hair in a mullet for the Biopic, The Runaways last year? Hello, Inspiration.

Actually, this isn't much different from his usual hair

The only difference is a hairbrush and some facial hair.
Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand make a better couple than Alec Baldwin and anyone else. It all started with a bromance, I'm sure, but I think both men have better chemistry with each other than any costars and/or wives. It is what it is.

Russell borrowed props and wigs from then-wife, Katy Perry for this picture.

Paul Giamatti is one smarmy SOB when he wants to be, and can flash gold dollar signs in his eyes. If ever there was a man to play the sleazy Record Agent, it's him. Are they all like that? Also, the 80's can keep their leather loafers sans socks. *shudders* Mr. Giamatti wore several in this film.

Mustaches are just Smarmy!

Catherine Zeta-Jones can do no wrong. It's just such a shame that her part was so unnecessary. She wasn't in the musical, but there was a character she could have played named Regina, who was trying to save the Bourbon room from German Developers, and she ended up falling in love with one of them. THAT would have been a fine storyline to develop. As it was, I felt they were trying to hard with the tired Footloose anti-dance/rock and roll thing (Which Julianne Hough has already done). Love me some CZJ, but I just think her talents could have been used elsewhere. Once again, though, at least America's youth can finally learn what "Ironic" means. Use it wisely.

Ironic: When a bunch of Anti-Rock church ladies sing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" to prove just how Anti-Rock they are.
Not that I would actually do it, but pole dancers DO have talent and muscles most people can't even fathom. Did I mention that Sherrie, after breaking up with Drew (BIG misunderstanding), quits her job and while walking around the rainy streets of LA, gets taken in by Mary J. Blige, who runs a "Gentleman's" (another handy definition of Ironic!) club called the Venus Club. The aerobics that these dancers do is amazing. I'd kill to be able to control my body like that. Personally, I'd never be a stripper, but I have to respect them for what they're able to do.

No Picture. Google tracks you, and I don't want "Pole Dancing" to come up on my ads. I'm sure you understand.

Boy bands are and forever will be stupid. Drew signs a contract thinking he'll be a rocker, but his agent (Paul Giamatti) has other ideas.

NKOTB. Outfits are just as dumb. Music not much better. *shrugs*

I actually adored this movie. I was singing Rock music all the way home, and I need to download the soundtrack and then go through and download the originals. I knew most of the songs, which surprised the heck out of Sam. I'm not a complete Philistine. I believe there is a place for Rock and Roll in Musical History. I might not like all music or know excessively about specific types of music, but I can appreciate it. I will ALWAYS Appreciate Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," though. The Stephens College Anthem, practically, and was played at every Midnight Breakfast.

I was only two when this movie takes place, but a lot of the songs were very familiar to me, and I love that. I think the music can resonate with anyone who lived through it. Great movie.

1 comment:

  1. Great Review!!! I will be honest I had no intention of watching this moving till after reading this review. I LOVE CZJ she is so beautiful and talented (like you). I will wait to watch this movie until after it comes out on DVD most likely.

    I am not really a fan of Tom Cruise either, but he does have a few movies that I really like. It's always great when an actor is truly in character...