at long last- “Rock of Ages”

I’m finally making good on this promise…
I meant to review this after I’d seen it a couple more times.

So far, I’d seen it three times… which is more than enough…
my dad’s surprisingly such of a sucker for it that he’d seen it at least a dozen times…

I think that speaks volumes about how great the music is.
Pretty much everything is from the 80’s (with maybe two exceptions, one too early and one from the 90’s), specifically from the head-banger genre.

However great the playlist is, a bunch of these aren’t exactly what I’d call the BEST of my favorite decade of music.
For every good one, there’re songs that have me going “man, I am so sick of this one”… just heard them one time too many… but some times the capacity within the movie helps.

Yes, this movie is really goofy in places… it’s predictable and there are plot points that could be avoided entirely if someone took action or someone manned up to the miscommunication.

Julianne Hough plays Sherri, an Okie going to the Sunset Strip in search of fame and fortune.
Of course she’s got that farm girl naivety down pat (except for the fact she has NO trace of an accent… I just realized this, lol)… and if not for the people she meets, she wouldn’t have lasted a day out there…

That’s no joke. After a mash-up at least 4 different songs, some random punk steals her records… you might not think that was the best thing to steal, but he definitely could get more money for selling them than just taking her purse.
After this theft, her future love interest, Drew arrives to ask if she’s okay…

this entire time, I’m thinking “you idiot! go catch that guy!”… that had me cringing, the writing on that was sooo bad… they make up for it later,  but still… c’mon!

Drew works at The Bourbon Room, which is a bar that has a stage where all the big acts come from and come back to play… so I guess it kinda is like First Avenue, but with head-banger rock instead of R&B

It’s run by Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand, both are excellent in their roles (and I’m not the biggest fan of Baldwin either)… who humor Drew and give Sherri a job waitressing.

The bar is up in arms because the rock band Arsenal is coming to play their last show before its frontman, Stacee Jaxx goes solo… The Bourbon Room launched his career, so the two of them go way back… and they need this because their financials are on the brink.

The first part of the movie is devoted to the blossoming relationship between Drew and Sherri, with plenty of musical numbers to boot…
I had trouble taking things seriously because it was just happening way too fast… talk about unrealistic

On the other side of things, you also have Catherine Zeta-Zones. Her character is the wife of the mayor, and as a “God-fearing” citizen, she and her cronies picket the streets across the Bourbon Room, proclaiming that rock n’ roll is filch…
those kinds of people just annoy the HELL out of me…
I’m not crazy about “Hit me with your best shot” to begin with, but the choreography in that scene is just goofy and so stupid… just cannot watch it with a straight face… 

She’s no big threat, though, and her key motivation makes it all worth it in the end.

The movie really got started for me when Tom Cruise hit the scene as Stacee Jaxx… when he was first casted, none of us took the idea of him in this role seriously… he proved us wrong like you wouldn’t believe…
probably will go down as one of my favorite roles of his EVER
because Stacee Jaxx is just soooo out there, but what he says makes a strange amount of sense

it’s also hard to beat the fact he has a pet baboon (his introduction is hilarious in itself) that knows how to cop an attitude… but you know what they say about dogs taking after their masters

you also get to know his manager, played by Paul Giamatti in his typical role…. slimier than a snake oil salesman… if there’s any sort of villain in this movie, other than the misunderstandings, it’s him…

while waiting to go on stage, StaceE Jaxx has an interview with a girl from Rolling Stone magazine… who’s very uptight, but not entirely immune to the charm to Stacey Jaxx…
the two of them have a song together… a Foreigner classic… will never able to think of that song the same way again… let’s just say they used it somewhat disrespectfully

but they had a moment they won’t soon forget 😉

and Tom Cruise is a pretty decent singer too… in the “I’m surprised he could sing” sort of way, not so much “he’s so flipping amazing, he should totally quit his day job”

before Drew goes on to debut with his band, he sees Sherri and Stacey Jaxx leave a room together and believes he saw more than what was there…

after doing a great number with his band (I’d never heard “I wanna rock” b4), he and Sherri have a fight and break up…
her perspective isn’t quite as well-written… after some random girl (with no other lines in the movie) tells her “that spotlight doesn’t just make them shine, it makes us disappear”… she believes the fame has already gone to Drew’s head

kinda reminded me of that random girl in “Moulin Rouge” that asked the villian “why does the girl end up with the penniless writer, oh, I mean sitar player”… but it wasn’t her ONLY purpose in that movie…

so Drew and Sherri quit the Bourbon Room and go their separate ways…
Sherri is saved from the streets by Mary J. Blige, who owns a strip club, and gives her a waiting position… but later tells her that the real money is on the pole…

meanwhile, Drew becomes the slimey manager’s latest conquest… apparently rock is no longer on the cutting edge, so he ends up becoming part of a boy band called the “Z guy-eez”

this was the point in the movie where my dad kinda stopped having fun… ahhh, nobody got boybands in the 80’s… that’s more of a 90’s thing

all of the characters arcs are finished pretty well… of course Drew and Sherri eventually make up…

the truth about Catherine Zeta-Jones is revealed… and it’s Russell Brand who figures it out cuz he spends most of the movie asking where he’d seen her before…

the slimey manager gets his ass handed to him by Stacee Jaxx and his baboon when he finds out, through the Rolling Stone article, what he did to the Bourbon Room… raking in all the proceeds

he also places a call trying to track down the girl that interviewed him… this exchange between him and TJ Miller (Stainer from “she’s out of my league”) is probably my favorite scene in the whole movie… freaking hilarious

and considering this is an 80’s era movie, what better song to play it out with than some Journey…
Drew first tells Sherri that he wrote it after they met… the whole time, I’m laughing at the TV something like “you liar! you didn’t write that song! Steve Perry did”

nonetheless, it is a “dancing in the aisles” type of finale 😎

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