Saturday, June 16, 2012

NOTHIN' BUT A MEH TIME:  So, Rock of Ages.  I haven't seen the stage production, but the movie is kind of a mess.  Yes, the songs are fun, but they're so mashed-up with one another and cut down you really don't get a chance to appreciate them.  Also, we have three major plot threads, with dramatically different tones:
  • Two young naive kids come to the city to pursue fame and fall in love--this is played fairly straight, and is arguably the a-story (the actors in it have top billing).  It's also hurt by the fact that Diego Boneta is a charisma vacuum, and the script doesn't give Julianne Hough a chance to show the sass she got to show in the Footloose remake.
  • The Mayor of LA and his wife embark on a campaign to "clean up the streets" by shutting down the rock clubs.  This plot can't figure out its tone--it's too winking to be played straight, and played too straight to be parody.  The performers also don't have much to do.
  • Rock star Stacee Jaxx faces a crisis of confidence/conscience triggered by his manager and a comely Rolling Stone reporter.  This is the most overtly comic plotline, though it's a bit unclear how much Tom Cruise is in on the self-parody rather than just playing a strung-out rock star.
It's not great, but if you've got nostalgia for the songs and era, there are worse ways to spend 2 hours this weekend in air conditioning.


  1. sconstant9:45 AM

    I went for Madagascar III as a "school's out for summer" adventure with the kids, and it wasn't great.  There are movies that try to work on two levels and fail at one of them, there are movies that only go for the kids and don't care about the adults watching (Yogi Bear (I hear tell, though my spouse took the hit on that one) and the Chipmunks), this one tried vaugely for two levels and IMHO failed at both.  My kids would still tell you they had fun, and I'll leave it there so as not to spoil the experience, but I'm sure if I pressed they'd admit they didn't like it as much as any other movie they've seen in the theaters.  So I'd nominate that as a worse way to spend 2 AC hours.

  2. Eric J.11:12 PM

    Am I wrong, or were the clothes and references relating to the boy band about 4-5 years too early. The head mikes certainly were.

    And did anyone else find it glaring that a) no-one ever mentioned MTV, b) illegal drugs were never seen, mentioned, or implied, and c) Mary J. Blige ran LA's only strip club where the dancers don't take off any clothes?

  3. sea0tter128:18 AM

    In 84-85 you had New Edition, and New Kids on the Block had their first hit in spring of 1988. And Vanilla Ice was big in 87, and you heard the slimy manager ask about rap right before the video.

    I will take this opportunity to share Ridiculous Pictures of Boy Bands.

  4. Yogi Bear is not *good* but but I protest that a movie with Andy Daly, TJ Miller and Anna Faris has nothing for adults.  I flipped by it and was sucked in for the Andy Daly scenes, where he's pretty much improvising complete nonsense, wonderfully.  I do wonder about casting them on the one hand and, well, the rest of it on the other, but someone was in on a joke somewhere.  

    (See also the infamous one-sheet, here.)

  5. Also, one of Sherrie's records is a Def Leppard record (not being a big Leppard fan, I'm not sure which one it was), but the film suggests that within its universe Arsenal/Stacee Jaxx recorded/wrote "Pour Some Sugar On Me."  (And did Tower Records ever sell used records?)

  6. I plan to see this movie with a couple of drinks in me, so hopefully, I'll be that asshole in the theater struggling not to sing along. One has to make one's own fun, right? 

  7. I had a great time at this movie.  It's fun.  It's fun to hear the songs.  I thought Tom Cruise and Zeta-Jones both showed a great sense of humor - and clearly enjoyed being ridiculous.    This movie was never intended to be an oscar contender - just let it be fun!

  8. lisased12:38 PM

    This is how we went in, and it was pure cheesy fun. There might have been a few facepalms when certain songs started, but I watched the whole thing with a big grin on my face. And I will never hear "Can't Fight This Feeling" the same way again.

  9. bella wilfer2:22 PM

    This movie is unabashedly terrible but I wholeheartedly enjoyed it.  Matt, I think Cruise is completely in on the parody here - his performance steals the show because of how strongly he commits to the character.  He doesn't play it with a wink which is why it works.  I wish they'd let Julianne/Diego play their stuff with a little less wide-eyed "wowzers" and a little more edge.  And I wish Bryan Cranston had gotten to sing.