Monday, June 25, 2012

Rock of Ages

Question: What was the first album you ever purchased (with your own money)? This goes out to the demographic that actually walked into a record store, picked up the album, turned it over to read the list of songs, etc… and handed cash to the teenager behind the counter. At home, you’d peel off the plastic; slowly and gingerly slide out the vinyl and gently place the record on the turntable. Next you lifted the needle and carefully lowered it, plugged in the headphones that were bigger than your head and slowly allowed the music to take you away from the drudgery of being a teenager. Ahhhhhh…….

So, what was your first album? You might be shocked at mine: Motley Crue’s Shout At the Devil and Madonna’s first album . I will never forget the day going to a record store in downtown Cincinnati and picking those out. It was like obtaining a little bit of freedom. I listened to them for hours. Of course, I had other albums but these were mine bought with my hard-earned babysitting money.

During this time, I went through a little heavy metal stage, even though I did to listen to classic rock and other current pop music as well. However, Def Leppard was my favorite of the genre with On Through the Night , High & Dry and Pyromania albums but they lost me when Hysteria was released in 1987. By then I had moved onto REM, U2 and The Smiths and left my heavy metal stage behind me. But for a brief few years I listened to song after guitar-ladened song of overly melodramatic rock ballads and anthems that spoke to all the emotions I was going through at the time. This all brings me to my review of Rock of Ages .

First and foremost, if you see this movie, please leave your cynic’s cap at home. This film was designed to make you laugh, tap your toes (or put up the universal hand signal for rock n roll) and remember what it was like when music helped you escape. Plus, this was a remake of a Broadway musical. So, if you don’t care for cheesy musical numbers and totally non-realistic scenes, then skip Rock of Ages . But, first finish reading this review before you truly make up your mind.

Usually musicals are not high up on my list to review, but with what I mentioned above, you may see why I had a secret desire to see it. Plus, I kept hearing Tom Cruise was awesome as Stacee Jaxx. A character type he has never played before. I mean, nothing like any other performance to date, so my interest was piqued. Except in Tropic Thunder , Tom Cruise is usually the overly energetic hero that takes up too much of the screen time running, fighting and flying through the air when something explodes behind him. In Rock of Ages, however, he plays an aging heavy metal guy, who is quiet and reserved, and acts as if he is high as a kite, but not in the way you might think. He’s not in the movie a lot but when he is the movie rocked. (And it didn’t hurt he sang my favorite Bon Jovi song). His character made this movie enjoyable…or should I say tolerable?

Most of Rock of Ages shows Diego Boneta, Drew, a wanna-be rock star and Julianne Hough, Sherrie, as a small town girl, living in a lonely…(oh wait, sorry, started breaking into to song there). She had dreams of moving to LA and becoming a singer, so she broke out in song all the time but never for anyone on stage like an audition. And that is exactly what Rock of Ages is like, people constantly breaking into songs and, for me, that is always a bit disconcerting. Plus, Julianne’s helium induced vocals almost gave me a headache. However, I knew every song that was haphazardly placed in between the dialogue and I didn’t mind so much…okay, sometimes I did.

Normally I was laughing at myself because I was singing along with the songs. I also laughed at the characters as the motions, choreography or bizarre song breakouts played out up on the big screen. Some could see that as a good thing or a bad thing and somewhat expected of a musical. But nothing prepared me for the Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand duet. Nothing! My cheeks still hurt from smiling so broadly. That scene is priceless, and I think most will enjoy that part. It was hysterical!

There really isn’t much to say about the plot because there hardly is one, so I won’t summarize it for you all. And the over-the-top acting and boisterous musical renditions could really have made this a bad time. Nonetheless, I rather enjoyed myself while watching Rock of Ages . I am a child of the 80’s and remember those days of loving music that my parents hated and blocking out all the bad thoughts that filled my young mind.

What might also surprise you about this film, everyone really sang. Meaning, no one had a singing double. I will say several of them were not too bad: Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Malin Akerman and Paul Giamatti. However, Mary J. Blige was spectacular, of course. Catherine Zeta-Jones was also good, but I already knew she could sing from Chicago . The leads were decent but I already mentioned Julianne Hough’s voice rubbed me the wrong way. But it was Tom Cruise who was actually pretty good. I was shocked.

Rock of Ages is not a film that I will watch again unlike Shankman’s Hairspray , but it was nice to stroll down memory lane because…I love rock ‘n’ roll, so put another dime in the jukebox, baby!

Directed by Adam Shankman, New Line Cinema, 2012

Starring: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, et al.

My favorite part: Got to say it, Tom Cruise and his performance.

My least favorite part: I wish it had more of a consistent plot and didn't try so hard to stick a song in every 30 seconds.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 123 minutes

Review: 4 out of 10

Click on film poster to watch instantly or download soundtrack:


Janene said...

Sounds like this might be a fun rental. I love Russell Brand (don't say anything) so I'd love to see that scene with Alec Baldwin!

Tired of Previews said...

If you are close to my age, it will be a fun rental. The film will take you straight back to the 80's - or at least a certain part of it. That was fun for me.
I am not a big fan of Russell Brand but I rather liked him in this. You will enjoy the duet.

John said...

I would love to watch this movie, i heard so much good things about it, this is the best action movie for me , i am a fond of Sc-Fi Movies

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