Rock of Ages (2012) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
28Jun/120

Rock of Ages (2012)

Sorry for the switch-up, illness kept Andrew away from Eddie Murphy for this week.
But here's Ryan stepping in to tackle a similarly divisive figure.


When I went to see Rock of Ages, I was not expecting the greatest movie ever made.  When a film deals with the hair metal ballads and rock anthems of the 1980s, it's already inherently cheesy, all I was looking for was what the poster was claiming: nothing more “than a good time.”

This movie simply couldn't deliver on that meager claim; what I got was a flat film that was badly staged and lacking any kind of spirit. The story was one that was told many times before; a kid moves out to LA to become a star and encounters many hardships but also finds love before conquering all.  The movie’s plot is so thin it isn’t even worth rehashing. I will just say that the girl who wants to be a singer and the nice boy she meets that wants to be a rocker fall in love, there is a subplot ripped out of the Brady Bunch with the bar owner (Alec Baldwin) staging a big concert to raise the money to keep the bar open and a truly pointless subplot with Catherine Zeta Jones and Bryan “I am contractually obligated to be in every film released” Cranston.

There is the obligatory end of 2nd act miscommunication that results in a character becoming a stripper and another joining a boy band and then everything wraps up nicely in the end so the whole cast can sign Journey together.

I am a fan of musicals and I was really hopeful when the movie started with the girl, Sherrie (Julianne Hough) signing "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger on the bus.  She started and then was joined by the bus driver followed by the rest of the passengers.  The staging and direction of this scene made the movie feel like it was going to be different and have a style to it that I would really dig, but then the song ended way too quickly and so did any kind of life to the musical numbers.  From then on, the songs were bad karaoke with each actor having their own songs and singing them like they were in a cheap music video.

The nice boy who wants to be a rocker (Diego Boneta) never seemed “metal” enough for the role he was playing and it made much more sense when he was singing Journey or in a boy band then when he was trying to be like an Alice Cooper.  The two main characters had no chemistry behind them and the movie had to resort to a freaking montage to convey that they were in LOVE.  The stripper subplot comes out of nowhere with no build up and it felt strange that Sherrie’s guardian angel that helps her at her lowest part was a stripper name Justice (Mary J. Blige) who thing tells her that "Women Power" is not about being a waitress but stripping on stage.

Finally, I can’t think of more unneeded plots than the “church ladies” led by Catherine Zeta Jones character and her mayoral candidate husband (Bryan Cranston).  The movie would forget these characters exsist for LONG periods of time and the few scenes they have are almost embarrassing to them.  Zeta Jones’ big number “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” was painful to watch and it is a movie that once again has Bryan Cranston in his tightie whites being spanked by his mistress.  Does his mistress or him having an affair tie into ANYTHING with the movie or is there any payoff?  Not at all, the film would have been no different with these characters totally erased and they just took up time that could have been cut off the film.

With how I am writing this, you might wonder how this got an indifference review from me since I have spend about 600 words totally hating on the film.  There is one reason what keeps the movie from being totally worthless and that is Mr. Tom Cruise.

God bless the man because while a lot of actors were phoning in their performances (Alec Baldwin I am looking at you), Tom Cruise immersed himself in the role 100%.  He becomes a fictional version of Axl Rose and has his stage mannerisms, look and even signing down.  Tom Cruise really puts in a performance in this film and it is a shame his work was wasted on such a bland film because his parts of the movie bordered on an avant garde type movie.

Cruise is 100% immersed in the role.

It might be hard to believe that Cruise’s role is that strange in a big budget film but let me give some arguments for my case.

  • The movie is attracted to his crotch in a strange way and there are many close ups of this area including the very first shot of his character.
  • He has a monkey in his entourage who is his bartender and is named Hey Man.
  • Cruise at one point sings “I wanna Know What Love Is” to a woman’s vagina.
  • He sings “Wanted Dead or Alive”  as a way to prove a point.
  • Cruise is shirtless throughout the film and has weird nipples.  I know this doesn’t prove my point about the avant garde-ness of the film but it was something that really weirded me out in the film.
  • This should be said again- HE SINGS A LOVE BALLAD TO A WOMAN’S LADY PARTS.
Yes, he sings in this film, just not enough.

When I heard of this movie and the cast (especially Paul Giamatti being in a musical) I was really intrigued by the idea.  I like the music, I thought the director’s last film Hairspray was very enjoyable and thought the cast was very strong and varied and I just wanted a fun movie with music to sing along with.  Unfortunately the movie is awfully staged, has no life other than Tom Cruise and is the worst thing a movie can be: generic.

Posted by Ryan

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