This past spring, I was really excited about the new Tom Cruise movie musical, “Rock of Ages”.
As the June release date neared, I decided that instead of catching it at first-run theaters, I’d wait for it at the cheap theater. Then, I decided I’d just wait for the DVD release in October. Did I make the right choice to wait instead of going on a date night (with popcorn and soda) that would have cost more than $30. Or, was the $1.05 I spent at Redbox all the movie was worth?
We rented it this past weekend and now I wish that I had gone to the theaters this summer to see it and hear the rocking soundtrack with theater sound!
It was very entertaining and the music soundtrack, although rock heavy, featured many of the staples of my teens years and my 20s! It was heavy on Foreigner, Journey, Pat Benatar, Def Leppard, along with a dose of Night Ranger, Joan Jett & The Blackearts, AC/DC, and many others. That alone was worth the rental price!
The movie focus on a nightclub on the Sunset Strip, “The Bourbon Room”. The owner, Dennis (Alec Baldwin) and his right-hand man, Lonny (Russell Brand), are trying to find a way to keep the rock club open despite the back taxes they owe.
If that wasn’t enough, the religious, conservative wife of the mayor (Bryan Cranston), Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is determined to close down the evil clubs on the Strip, starting with the Bourbon Room.
While not as compelling as she was in the movie, “Chicago”, Zeta-Jones is always a pleasure to watch and her kooky church musical number to Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me Your Best Shot” is awesome.
The key to saving the club from closing down is getting difficult washed-up rock star, Stacee Jaxx, played by Tom Cruise, to perform his last concert with his band before he goes solo.
To prepare for the role, it’s reported that Cruise practiced his singing five hours a day to do his own vocals instead of lip-synching. When Cruise was performing, he was mesmerizing. However, his alcohol infused haze leading up to those musical numbers dragged on a little too long.
The stars of the movie, Julianne Hough (“Dancing With The Stars”, “Footloose”) and Diego Boneta (“Pretty Little Liars”, “Mean Girls 2”), are beautiful and fun to watch. As Sherrie, Hough plays a small town Oklahoma girl heading to Los Angeles to be a star. Boneta plays Drew, a barback at the Bourbon Room, just waiting in the background to gain enough confidence to perform in front of a crowd as a rocker.
The storyline is nothing new. I’ve seen it before in “Coyote Ugly” and “Burlesque”, but nevertheless, it’s fun and fresh with rock and roll! You know the two young, sexy people are going to crush on each other, maybe fall in love, have a misunderstanding, break up, and possibly reconcile?
After a chance encounter with Stacee Jaxx at the club the night of his performance, both Sherrie and Drew decide it’s time to move on. She gets a broken heart and Drew lands a new recording contract. But, that doesn’t mean things are great in his world.
Luckily, Sherrie gets a job at “The Venus Club” teaching “aerobics”. (Not really!) However, that gives us the chance to meet the owner of the club, Justice Charlier, played by the amazing, beautiful, talented, and electrifying Mary J. Blige. The screen just lit up everytime Mary J. was singing and performing.
In its opening weekend, “Rock of Ages” placed third at the box office with $14.4 million. It was pretty much panned by critics and only grossed $55.5 million and considered a failure. The movie’s budget was $75 million.
Gretel was impressed by the whole rock musical plot line and went to Halloween party Saturday night as a rocker!
By the way, I only covered her eyes once in a steamy, well choreographed number between Stacee Jaxx and Constance Sack, a reporter for “Rolling Stone” magazine, played by Makin Akerman.
And, I guess I was ready for a rock musical before I even knew about this movie. This picture is from last Halloween as I rocked Gretel’s Hermione Granger (“Harry Potter” series) wig.
Actually, that wig on me looked as bad as some of the wigs on the actors in the movie.
So, when it comes to “Rock of Ages”, should you choose Def Leppard’s 1983 #1 Billboard Rock track (#16 on the Billboard Hot 100) or this movie? While I liked the Def Leppard song, “Rock of Ages”, I liked “Photograph” more.
I choose the movie. “Rock of Ages” was very enjoyable and I would watch it again. It didn’t break any new ground for musicals, but I didn’t go into it expecting that. If you want to be entertained for two hours, definitely rent it.