"Rock of Ages will rock you... or at least lightly jostle you."
-Nathaniel Rogers (Film Experience) via Rotten Tomatoes
Indeed. Everything that I felt about this movie, both good and bad, can be summed up in the above quote I found at Rotten Tomatoes.
It had all the makings of a great movie experience: star power, a (mostly) amazing soundtrack - but I'll get to that later - and a pretty accurate portrayal of the debauchery, overinflated egos, entitlement and excesses that *I* saw in magazines and on MTV growing up in the 80s. So how did it fall so short of the greatness of its original stage production? (and this is where I must confess that I've never been able to see the original stage production, but I know plenty of people whose opinion I trust who have all said it was phenomenal.) I obviously can't really answer that, but I can break it down into the good, the bad, and the ugly (in my opinion, of course).
- The musical performances were so entertaining! I especially loved Catherine Zeta Jones's over-exaggerated facial expressions during "Hit Me With Your Best Shot." I know many people were not impressed with Tom Cruise's singing (and one friend actually said he butchered all her favorite songs from the 80s!), but I didn't think he did so bad. Or maybe I've just seen so many terrible "80s tribute" bands in bars by now that I can no longer tell bad from good. And his scene with Malin Akerman during "I Want to Know What Love Is" was absolutely hilarious!
- The costume department got it right. Especially the wardrobers for Cruise and Brand.
- The soundtrack brings back many good memories. I've been inspired to actually go download some Diamond Dave I'd forgotten all about!
- To the movie's credit (SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!), it did show the rock star falling in love with the smart, independent woman (even if she did have that typical 80s hottie look the whole time. She was never mousy. But I guess that would have been too unbelievable) instead of a famous actress or model or video vamp (haha, get it?).
- I'm still of the opinion that Tom Cruise was just plain wrong for Jaxx. I'd have much rather seen Tom Cruise as Les Grossman as Stacee Jaxx's manager than Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx. Still, this is the hottest Tom Cruise has EVER looked.
- The costume department may have gotten the wardrobe right, but aside from Cruise, Brand, and the extras, I found the 80s hair lacking.
- That soundtrack. I know I said it brought back many good memories from that era (and it did), but it also came interjected with some WTF-ery, too. Foreigner? Really? Don't get me wrong. I clearly see how they fit it into the movie. But I just didn't remember Foreigner being all that great in the 80s. Or maybe that was just me.
- The whole thing was just so, so, SO predictable and cliched. It might as well have been a two-hour hair band video, starting from the minute we meet our heroine,
Sister ChristianSherrie Christian stepping off the bus out into the city streets - just a small town girl with her whole life packed in a suitcase by her feet - to the end where (SPOILERS! SPOILERS! AGAIN.) all their dreams inevitably come true.
- My biggest gripe about this entire movie, believe it or not, was that it was based 80s rock and roll, and was missing the one thing ALL 80s hair bands did: synchronized stage antics. (Which can be seen throughout this video of Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me". You're welcome!):
It did have some mighty good synchronized pole dancing - pro-acrobat-level good - but still...why would you make a movie centering around the hair band phenomenon and NOT include the cheesiest thing ALL those bands did when they performed? I know it didn't really feature FULL stage performances, but they had ample opportunity to make this happen. And if they did? I sure didn't notice it. It's a weird thing to pick at, I know, but it really was quite common and SUCH an important part of live hair band shows!
The bottom line? Despite all my complaints, I enjoyed the movie for what it was, even though I was disappointed that it never lived up to its full potential. And I guess the 80s as a decade deserved such a bitchslap. After all, you can definitely tell that some of these characters had at least SOME basis in reality if you were around for this era. And if you weren't around when big hair was king? You may not even "get it" at all.
It might be a fun ride, but don't expect to be blown away by (the movie version of) Rock of Ages.
Image Source: Google image search