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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Oct 29: Rock of Ages


Oct 29: Rock of Ages

"A small town girl and a city boy meet on the Sunset Strip, while pursuing their Hollywood dreams."
Directed by: Adam Shankman, Rated: PG-13, 123 minutes

Had Rock of Ages simply been a continued succession of covers of awesome 80s rock songs with absolutely no story to tie everything together, it would have been great. Instead, in between each rock anthem we must suffer through awful acting and even worse dialogue that's riddled with every damn cliche in the book. However, Tom Cruise delivers an incredible performance and makes the majority of the film something worth watching, even if everything else is disgustingly bad. I seriously considered turning the movie off but after Tom Cruise's introduction and performances, I had to see this thing through. 

Thank you, Xenu. 

Rock of Ages starts off with the doe-eyed innocent Sherrie (the terrible Julianne Hough) arriving in L.A to start her own music career. Immediately after getting off the bus she gets a job at the very popular rock-bar, The Bourbon Room, owned by Dennis (Alec Baldwin) and Lonny (Russell Brand). Of course, being young and "beautiful" attracts the attention of all sorts of men, and another aspiring musician, Drew (Diego Boneta) falls in love with her. After just a few moments on screen, the two are madly in love with each other and will do whatever it takes to see the other one succeed. Then comes Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise), performing one last time with his band, Arsenal, at The Bourbon Room. Through a series of misleading situations, Drew believes that Sherrie slept with the rock legend and the two part ways. This and that happens, the two meet here and there, and a bunch of songs are sung along the way. Of course, it all builds up to the inevitable coming together of everyone (poorly) singing "Don't Stop Believing".

Don't f**k with Journey. 

Rock of Ages is a movie set in the 80s that's in serious need of cocaine. It's complete absent of the sleaze and smut that surrounded the 80s rock scene and glosses over everything for the PG-13 rating. It also has a severe lack of rock and roll cameos (where's Jon Bon Jovi!?). The love story at the core of the film is completely lacking of any emotion or depth and manages to give a certain vampire movie a run for its money for "worst love story ever". Julianne Hough is best known for her... part? in Dancing with the Stars and being Ryan Seacrest's girlfriend and her acting ability is non-existent. Even with casting a dancer you'd think the filmmakers would use that to her advantage, but Hough dances in about one scene and that involves her swinging around a stripper pole. Diego Bonata, the male lead, has less charm than Zac Efron and is far from leading man material. Each scene that focuses on either of these two falls very flat and you grow incredibly impatient, hoping to see another moment of Tom Cruise. 

Keep pitching Proactive, Hough. That's as far as you'll go. 

Rock of Ages has a terrific soundtrack that features songs from Bon Jovi, Journey, Poison, Foreigner, and more. Many of the covers are genuinely fun, but seeing them being act out on screen feels a little out of place for the most part. Hough and Bonata lack any real charisma or singing voices to bring the songs home. Cruise, however, is wonderfully surprising and completely captures the essence of an 80s rock god. Doubting his singing abilities would be anywhere near good enough to carry the film and sing these ballads can immediate fly out the window and once you see him on stage screaming, you have to admire the man. As I have stated before, I don't care for the man in his personal and private life, but on screen he continues to remind me how badass he is. Rock of Ages is no exception and without his presence, the film would suffer even more. 

Paul Giamatti pops up here and there as well and absolutely nails it as the sleazy music agent/producer. 

Rock of Ages is a decent movie but never manages to find its focus. You can clearly tell the film is based off of a Broadway musical as the movie jumps from set piece to set piece, with a very weak story tying it all together. You'd think that on a cinematic level, each musical sequence would be greater and grander, but it lacks the punch and oomph that, I would assume brings greater energy on stage. Tom Cruise is incredible as Stacee Jaxx but his scenes are indeed far and few between and had the focus been on the aging rock legend instead of the two loveless love birds, Rock of Ages could have easily been something great. Instead, the film flaps its musical wings to no avail, and leaves you with an usual desire to play Rockband or Guitar Hero

The Good:
Tom Cruise rocking it like it's 1984
The Bad:
a script that allows no moments of depth and is packed with terrible dialogue
The Ugly:
Hough and Boneta sogging down the film with their lacks of charisma, chemistry, or star power


Discussion Question:
What does it take to successfully adapt a stage musical to the screen? Is it more about the glam and glitter or is it more about the set pieces and staging?


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At October 29, 2012 at 9:46 PM , Blogger awsumdave said...

Haha, It was a toss up for me. I like the music, but if I wanted to listen to music, I would do that. It was funny to see Tom Cruise do his thang, but there was so much missing in the movie for me in order for it to be good.

At October 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Like a solid script and story? lol. I most certainly agree.

At October 30, 2012 at 1:13 PM , Blogger Sati. said...

I'm probably going to skip it, I like Cruise's acting in almost all of his films, but this one seems like a waste of time. Nice review!

At October 30, 2012 at 4:37 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Just watch the music sequences on Youtube or something. The film as a whole is not worth your time.

At November 2, 2012 at 3:03 PM , Anonymous Belinda said...

Thanks for saving me a dollar and tax, not getting this one from redbox ;)

At November 2, 2012 at 4:10 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Haha, yeah. Not even worth that. It's decent to catch once its on TV or something


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