Monday, October 15, 2012

Movie Review - Rock of Ages

Caught Rock of Ages on the cable last night, and my review can be boiled down to:

"Run away!" (And thank you, Monty Python.)

Normally, I don't do completely negative reviews of movies or books, but there is so much here not to like. The story and writing thereof is a rehash of every movie musical ever made: The girl from flyover country comes to Hollywood to become a singer, gets her suitcase stolen just off the bus. Meets the gofer at the big rock club who is also a rock wanna-be, who has such terrible stage fright that it takes him four whole seconds to get over it the first time the girl asks him to play something for her. They fall in love in a montage.

The old has-been rock star is coming to the club play his last gig. He has a pet baboon named "Hey Man." Smartest character in the movie.

The opening act goes into rehab on the day of the gig. Is there anybody who has ever seen a movie who doesn't know who is going to step in to replace the drop-outs?

Or anybody who doesn't know that as soon as boy-gets-girl, he is going to be boy-loses-girl, suffer the requisite agony for his stupid mistake before they get back together? She quits and winds up working the pole in a strip club–a PG club, no more skin revealed than you'd see on the fake beach at Disneyworld. He gets snapped up by the sleazy agent and put into a hip-hop boy band with a lot of zees in their names ...

Help me, Spock!

Throw in a crusading mayor's wife who is out to get rid of the filthy rock and roll, and who has A Deep  Dark Secret concerning the old rock star, that the baboon could figure out the first time her husband wonders why she hates the rocker so much. I mean, come on!

I think they were trying to be wry, to play with the tropes, but it skews closer to Rocky Horror than it does to Grease. Way closer. Might wind up becoming a cult movie. It's that bad.

Hell, it doesn't even look like Hollywood. Well, no, strike that. It does look like Hollywood. The one in Florida, because that's where it was shot. Sets, on a sound stage, and it looks it. 

Based on a stage play, and every actor in it is wasted in his or her role. It was as if all the stage mikes went out and they were playing to the cheap seats, hamming it up and chewing scenery so broadly that it could have been a silent film. The better the actor, the more they seemed to phone it in. In this case, you have to blame the director, because at least some of these actors know better. 

No, Tom, I want you to be really, really drunk here, and unhinged. You are almost completely burned out, there's just a tiny, itty-bitty spark left down in the depths of your drug and booze-addled brain. (Which gets relit when the reporter from Rolling Stone sticks her tongue in Tom's ear ...)

I laughed at one line, when the drunk rock star calls Rolling Stone looking for his new love, and the guy on the other end worries about being killed by a nutso on his way home.

If you are a fan of eighties glam and arena rock, you'll like the music. I think there's a crowd scene in which a lot of old guys with long hair look suspiciously like some of the groups whose music is featured. Didn't see Steve Perry of Journey in there, but his music is well-represented.

My wife and I kept watching, thinking, Well, it has to get better, right?

No. We were wrong. It never did.

Movie died at the box office, and rightfully so. 

Stay away. You'll never get those two hours of your life back, and it will feel like a lot longer.

P.S. If you want to see an adult movie? Crank the cable or rent The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Yes, it's a movie about old Brits who go off to India to retire and die, but an absolute delight. Dame Judi Dench could read the phone book and it would worth paying to see and hear.


steve-vh said...

AAHHHHH! Too late! I came home from Band practice and they were watching this!!!
fortunately I only caught 1/2 of it!
The transformation into the Zboyees was hilarious though.
I was worried the terrible acting out of the music would ruin the originals for me but it was so wacked out it took me till the chorus' to figure out what song it was each time.
I hated Cruise in it but he seemed to actually get the part.

Justin said...

I'd love to see some of your actual recommendations, Steve -- especially now that Netflix Streaming is expanding its offerings.
I'm sure you've seen Haywire and Jeff Bridges's True Grit, which are both on there, as are almost all Christopher Guest mockumentaries.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a fun documentary about an old-OLD-school sushi maker with a tiny restaurant that still got the Micheline 3-star award.
You'd probably enjoy Mansome, Morgan Spurlock's take on manly hair. Got to see it at the Arclight with director Q&A, and a wrestler buddy is in it.

Steve Perry said...

What I tend to do these days with movies is not mention them until I think they are either terrific or godawful.

Many I've looked forward to have turned out to be the latter, and usually I allow that. Fewer turn out to be better than I thought going in, but when that happens, I mention that, too.

Mostly, I stay home and watch stuff on cable, unless it really needs to be seen in a theater. My son and grandson and I usually hit the big action movies, Looper being the last one. We'll go see Skyfall; not a lot else has reached out of the coming attractions and grabbed me of late. Some of the animated stuff, maybe.

Check back in the blog for reviews, you'll see a couple I really liked over the last couple years.

Bobbe Edmonds said...

Why Steve, I do believe I am becoming a bad influence on you. That review was almost worthy, actually.

You need to learn how to use the word "Fuck!" more liberally throughout a review, as well as try out some comparative metaphors. Here's one:

"Rock of Ages" comes across with all the twitchy, superfluous, low-brow bubble-gum entertainment of a bell-wearing nine year old lost in a shopping mall full of blind pedophiles trying to negotiate his way to the food court."

On the house, Old Man.

Steve Perry said...

That's what I said, Kid. Only with more style ...

You're welcome ...

Bobbe Edmonds said...