Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rock of Ages (PG-13/123 Min.)

It was vulgar. The acting was less than great. The dancing was worse (some of it anyway). Tom Cruise was in it. Even worse…Russell Brand was in it. The plot was an after-thought. It was a 123 minute cheese fest. I loved it!

I went to the pre-screening of Rock of Ages tonight. I was really really REALLY hoping to get free passes to this movie. Why? Two reasons. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it and Tom Cruise is in it. I try really hard not to pay money for a Tom Cruise movie. Harsh, I know. But true. I was actually surprised at the number of people at the screening. As most of you Okies already know, The Thunder played tonight and whooped up on the Heat. Wahoo! But I digress. Every seat in the theater was filled despite athletic activities in OKC.

Quick summary: Set in 1987. Girl moves to LA to become a famous singer. She meets a guy and they fall in love. During this love fest, a skeezy rock star performs at the club where the boy and girl work. HE meets a girl. Skeezy rock star’s manager is a jerk. The mayor’s wife is out to get the skeezy rock star and lots and lots of 80’s music is played.

I strongly believe that 80s music is the best music ever. Why? Possibly because I’m of that generation. We 5-year-olds liked to rock! Back then I was a hair band freak. Okay, I’ll admit it. I still am. I never dressed like they did - mainly because my mom would never have allowed it - but in my heart I had big hair, loud make-up and wore clothes that seemed to be missing pieces. I remember going to musicals (for lack of a better word) back in the 80s and acting like a giddy little school girl when the opening credits started. Actually, I was like that for a lot of movies back then. John Hughes was my hero. This movie totally brought that all back to me. If I counted correctly, there were 31 songs total. THIRTY-ONE SONGS!!! And it was MY music! For some reason I always think of a certain guy I went to high school with when I think of hair bands. He was one of the few boys I didn’t have a crush on in high school which is odd because, one, I was boy crazy and, if I remember correctly, he was a really nice guy and not difficult to look at. I think it was possibly the fact that he had better hair than I did. Sorry, man. Jealousy is a witch.

I seem to be going off on tangents today. I will attempt to stay focused but I can’t promise anything. I was going to list the songs in the main part of my post but wondered if some of you might want to be surprised SO I’m listing them all in what will probably be one of several P.S.’s at the end. Kudos to whoever chose the music. The soundtrack will be mine. Oh yes. And speaking of the soundtrack…If you took away all of the “acting” I still would have liked Rock of Ages just because of the music. I was all ready to scoff at most of the singing. Who could do it better than the originals? Well, nobody, but it was a valiant effort. Despite my feelings towards Mr. Cruise, I really don’t think he did a bad job. It could have been better but who am I to judge? Oh. That’s right. I’m me. And it’s what I do best. You’re welcome. He just didn’t quite have the hair band lead singer sound that I’ve grown to know and love. Was he the worst singer? I really don’t think so. Julianne? I’m sorry. It’s not you. It’s me. Okay, it’s a little you. I’ve just never cared for squeaky, little girl singing voices. I can’t help it. You had to have heard Mary J. Blige singing at some point during the filming. Now that’s more like it.

I know I usually talk about the acting at this juncture but since there wasn’t really a lot and what there was wasn’t great I’ll just skip it. Oh wait! I do need to mention one actor. Catherine Zeta-Jones. I’m not sure why but she’s always come across to me as sort of a snob. As if buttah wouldn’t melt… I know she’s been in a few comedies/dramedies but I never could get the “I’m so much better than you” vibe out of my head. Rock of Ages kicked it out of there. I do get that what they were all doing was acting but Catherine, oh my goodness Catherine. Most of the stuff she had to do was way over the top cheddar. I just don’t believe you can dance or act like she did and not have a sense of humor. You just can’t. I like her so much more because it was so bad.

Let me begin the break-down by saying that I don’t think children or young teenagers should be allowed to see this movie. For two reasons. First! It really is crude, lude and socially unacceptable. Do you really want to have to discuss Tom Cruise’s devil’s head-shaped codpiece with your children? I didn’t think so. Second! They don’t know the music. And if they do…they never lived it. It was never a part of their daily existence. Point in case, the two girls who sat next to me. Some of the lyrics were spoken, not sung, and it was funny. They didn’t get it. And there was no rockin’ out at all. They could have been listening to Lawrence Welk and had about the same reaction. Heresy! Who is Lawrence Welk, you ask? Ummm…I have no idea. Moving on.

Sex/Nudity – No nudity. A couple of sex with clothes on scenes. I won’t call it by the oh-so-quaint term that seems to be floating around now but you know what I’m talking about. And if you don’t, yea for you! Having said that, please don’t think, “Oh! Just a couple of THOSE scenes. No big.” Just because there wasn’t a lot of sex doesn’t mean it wasn’t alluded to. And Mr. Cruise’s character seemed to have a strong affinity for women’s upper parts. And I’m not talkin’ about their eyebrows.

Cussing – Yes.

Drinking/Drugs – I didn’t see any drugs but there was lots and lots and lots and did I mention LOTS of drinking. To start with, the main venue is a bar. To finish with, apparently rockers drink. True story.

Violence – Nope.

Uncomfortable scenes – Don’t even get me started. The kissing alone was repulsive. I’m pretty sure that’s what they were going for though.

If you like 80s music as much as I like 80s music you will, more than likely, like this movie. I do have a challenge for you. During the “We Built This City/We’re Not Gonna Take It" (yeah, I told you a couple of songs) scene several rockers are shown. I recognized one (Sebastian Bach) immediately. Another one I knew I knew but couldn’t figure it out for sure. I’m ashamed to admit he is/was the lead singer of one of my well-liked, if not favorite, bands. I have no idea if they’re still together. The challenge is for you to list all of the “rockers” shown in the scene. That got quotes because I definitely wouldn’t consider the female a rocker. According to the credits there were 7 (including Sebastian). What do you win if you get them all correct? The knowledge that you know way more about the people behind the music than I do. Well done, you!

Back to the recommendations. I would strongly suggest that PT not see this movie until she’s over 18. Why 18? Because it’s the age of consent and her mom can no longer control what she watches. I don’t know that I could ever watch it with her no matter her age. When we saw Battleship together she commented on how inappropriate the beach scene was. If you haven’t seen it (I’ll post on it. I promise.), there’s a scene in which the girl is stretched across the boy. They’re both clothed but not by much. PT saw some of the kids who walked in to the theater after we did and felt, quite strongly, that this particular scene was NOT for them. My point is, that beach scene doesn’t even hold a candle to some of the goings on in Rock of Ages. Just tellin’ it like it is.

So. If you like 80s music and can stand the profanity you’ll like Rock of Ages. If you like 80s music and would rather do without the profanity, buy the soundtrack. If you don’t like 80s music but you do like profanity, cover your ears when you start to hear guitars. If you like neither 80s music NOR profanity why are you still reading this? This movie is so obviously not for you.

P.S. Nothing after the credits. The only reason to stay is for the music and that’s reason enough for me.

P.P.S. Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand have forever ruined “Can’t Fight This Feeling” for me. For.Ever.! And Russell Brand made me think of Freddie Mercury when he sang. Agree? Disagree?

P.P.P.S. You can’t even begin to understand how hard it was for me to not yell out during “I Wanna Rock”. “Tell me not to play well all I gotta say to when you tell me not to play I say no! NO! No-no no-no no!”

P.P.P.P.S. I did mention there might be a few P.S.’s. As promised, here is the list of songs. As in order as I could possibly get them. And I’m very proud of me for knowing most of them after just a few notes. Yea, me! Paradise City, Sister Christian/(Just Like)Livin' in Paradise/Nothin’ But a Good Time (sung as a medley), I Remember You (but I don’t remember this song in the movie. I had to go by the credits on this one), Jukebox Hero/I Love Rock and Roll (another medley), Hit Me With Your Best Shot, the opening riff of Oh, Sherrie, Waiting for a Girl Like You, Don’t Stop Believin’, Talk Dirty to Me, More Than Words/Heaven (yet another medley), Rock of Ages (and I don’t mean the hymn), Wanted Dead or Alive, I Want to Know What Love Is, I Wanna Rock, Pour Some Sugar On Me, Harden My Heart/Shadows of the Night (yup…you guessed it. Medley), Here I Go Again, Can’t Fight This Feeling, Any Way You Want It, Undercover Love (so did not know this one), Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Rock You Like a Hurricane (I don’t remember this one in the movie either but the credits don’t lie. Right?), We Built This City/We’re Not Gonna Take It (the last medley. I promise.), No One Like You, Come On Feel the Noize. Why more people weren’t rockin’ out I will never understand. This needs to be watched at our next reunion. Except that some of us may hurt ourselves trying to bang our heads. Bring Ben-Gay and muscle relaxers, k?


Regina Jennings said...

I love your review and yes, although I know it's probably a waste of my time, I have a strange desire to see this just because of the music they play during the commercials. I hope the original artists perform on the soundtrack.

And nice shout-out to Matt W. You so did have a crush on him.

Tarisa said...