Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Movie Review: Rock of Ages (PG13 - 123 minutes)

I am unashamedly a fan of the hair-bands of the late 80s and early 90s.  I love Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Def Leppard, Warrant, Poison, etc.  I thought Lita Ford was the coolest.  That being said, I was really looking forward to the film version of the play Rock of Ages.  I had missed seeing the stage production when it was touring, even though I had wanted to see it.  Interesting, considering that for the most part, I hate musicals and plays.  I just don't get it, and I'm really not into them.  But, because I loved this music so much, I wanted to see it.  Here's a clip that was performed on the 2009 Tonys to give you an idea of what the play looked like:
In the play - a girl from Oaklahoma and a boy from the city meet while pursuing their Hollywood dreams.  There are some serious story detail discrepancies between the play and the film.  The plot synopsis for the play can be found here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_of_Ages_(musical) in case you are curious about the differences.
The movie version was supposed to start production in 2010, but ran into some hurdles and has finally come out.  It is directed by Adam Shankman, who you may know as the best judge on So You Think You Can Dance.  I love him on that show, he's exceptionally genuine about what he likes, doesn't like, and his overall joy in regards to great dance.

He's actually directed a lot more movies than you think:  The Wedding Planner (2001 - a J-Lo movie I actually didn't mind!), Walk to Remember (2002), Bringing Down The House (2003 - I saw this because Michael Rosenbaum was in it - he owes me money, it was terrible), The Pacifier (2005 - I saw this because Vin Diesel was in it - he also owes me money, but it wasn't as bad as you think), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005 - I saw this because Tom Welling was in it, and Bonnie Hunt is always awesome), Hairspray (2007 - I didn't see this because it was a movie based on a play that had been based on a Jon Waters movie.  No thanks), and an Adam Sandler movie I actually liked, Bedtime Stories (2008).  he has been a choreographer for much longer, working on such films as  Weekend at Bernie's 2, Heart and Souls, Don Juan De Marco, Tank Girl, Congo, the Relic, Boogie Nights, and the second best Buffy episode of all time, Once More With Feeling.

That brings us to this current version of Rock Of Ages, which finished third in it's opening weekend, behind two films that had already been out a week.  It has a very limited audience, and it may not perform well over the long run.
The plot remains similar enough to the play, small town girl and city boy (go ahead, start humming Journey's Don't Stop Believin') meet and fall in love through the decadence of Sunset Strip Rock Clubs in 1987.  It is very much a musical, the story does not matter much, it's essentially the filler between big musical numbers. 

The casting is interesting with this movie. 
The two leads, Julianne Hough (formerly of Dancing with the Stars and current country music singer (?) and Diego Boneta (apparently a former mexican television star with singing background) are okay, but pretty bland.  Constantine Maroulis, who played the lead on Broadway shows up in a cameo, which was enough to make me wonder why he wasn't playing the lead.  I have been told that the answer is that he is too old at this point.
Russell Brand is very natural, he looks like he fits right it, and he already has rock star hair, why is he wearing that terrible wig? 
Bryan Cranston is in the movie as the mayor - and is completely underused, and his character has some scenes that make no sense. 
Mary J. Blige plays the owner of the strip club that Hough's character has to end up working at in order to make ends meet.  Mary J. instantly reminds you that she is an amazing singer...her acting, it's passable, but not great. 
Catherine Zeta Jones was born for musicals and steals this one in a similar way to the way she stole Chicago.  She looks completely at ease with all the muscial numbers, even if her character's twist was completely transparent. 
Paul Giamatti is perfect as the oily record producer/manager.  Creepy and a little bit evil.  Check out Kevin "big sexy" Nash as a member of his security team (why?).
Alec Baldwin does a decent job, but honestly, is completely miscast.  He just feels like he doesn't fit in this movie.  Dee Snider played that role on Broadway briefly and could have easily done it in the movie.  It also could have been done by Sebastian Bach, who shows up in a brief cameo and also has broadway experience.  Either of those two would have made so much more sense. 
That brings us to Tom Cruise.  And yes, everything you've heard and read is true, he is the best part of this movie.  His over-the-top portrayal of crazed, drugged, ego-inflated rocker Stacee Jaxx is impeccable.  He is incredibly watchable every time he is on screen, and his singing voice is actually pretty good.  However you feel about him personally, you just cannot argue with that level of committment.

So, if everyone was decent, and I loved the music, why am I so ambivelent about the movie itself?  I'm not sure, it was just okay.  I did like the music, but honestly, a lot of those songs came out after 1987, which is fine, and shouldn't matter too much.  The scene in which Boneta's character goes through a brief sellout and is forced to enter a boy band made no sense to me, as boy bands came into true being in the mid 90s, and were no threat to hair bands.  Grunge music killed the hair bands, it would have made so much more sense to have him sellout to one of those, but I think that's a plot point from the play.

All in all, it was just okay.  Nothing to get excited about, great music, average acting, lame story. 
6 out of 10.  Gained points for Tom and his codpiece.  Yikes.  Lost points for Cranston's paddling, weird.  Gained points for the incredible pole dancing, seriously.  Simultaneously gained and lost points for the cameos...it just made me want those guys in the movie more.

Bonus Video 1:  My favorite hair band song of all time, just Lita Ford, not technically a band...but you know what I mean...

Bonus Video 2:  Second Favorite hair band song of all time...I have to stop typing so I can headbang to this...I was so in love with Sebastian Bach it's embarassing...but in my defense, he's a huge comic book nerd and has a copy of SpiderMan #1.

Bonus Video 3:  Cast and crew interviews...yay!

1 comment:

  1. I am not a huge fan of 80's music, but I can easily say that this flick had me tapping my toes and singing along to just about every jam. The story itself was weak, but whenever they focused on the music and Tom Cruise, the film won me over. Nice review Jeanette.