Rock of Ages: The Musical

Ah, the 80s.  Good times were had by all.  Ask most who were teens or in their 20s during the 80s what their favorite memories are, and music will probably be the answer.  Music was a soundtrack to our lives.  I know, that sounds dorky, but it seriously was.

So my daughter and I just got back from a pre-screening of ROCK OF AGES, the movie that stars Tom Cruise and comes out next week.  It’s a musical.  And it was fun.  Do you love 80s hairband music?  Then this movie is for you.  My daughter, who was only three at the time this movie was set (1987) is a huge 80s music fan.  (I raised her right.)  So many times we both wanted to start singing along with the actors on the screen (and I think I did a few times).  It starts out with the Warrant song “Heaven”, segues to Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian”, charges into Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock”, and many more.  There are many mashups (putting two songs together in a duet; not sure what it’s officially called) and they worked so well.  Reminder to self: head to iTunes and download the originals of all the great songs that I don’t have.

It’s a classic smalltown girl meets a city boy story.  You know, Journey sang a song about it.  Julianne Hough is the girl and she’s cute and Diego Boneta, who plays the boy, is sexy yet sweet, and they had some duets that were downright sugary and fun.  Hough’s voice is nothing to get excited about.  Boneta has some chops, and he sang both heavy metal and boy band stuff (yes, he did) very well.  Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand provide the comic relief, and Catherine Zeta-Jones has a bone to pick with the heavy metal crew, and she was well, fine.

Now, Tom Cruise as a rock star.  I had my reservations.  But I remembered how I hadn’t thought he could handle the role of Lestat—and then he blew my mind away when he nailed the part—so I went without judgment.  And you know?  He really was Stacee Jaxx, the hardened, soulless, boozing, sex symbol of a rock star whose entourage includes a whiskey-drinking monkey.  The first image of him on screen will have you gaping. Is that Tom Cruise?  Wearing THAT codpiece?  It’s worth going just to see that.  He sang a few numbers, as well, and while I wouldn’t buy his first solo album, I have to give him credit for sounding not so bad.  And hey, he was singing my favorite 80s songs, so I had to love him for that.  The dude sang Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and gave it a whole new meaning (probably a meaning I should have picked up on long ago, but now? Uh, yeah.)  The duet he sings with Malin Akerman, while having sex on a pool table, is another Cruise shocker and surprise, but I tell you, he really worked it.  If I had one pick about his portrayal it may be that he had too many muscles.  He wasn’t the emaciated, skinny hairband style of rocker, more of an Iggy Pop freak.  And he hasn’t quite perfected the sexy rocker moves and hip shakes; most of his attempts looked a bit spasmy and forced.

So if you want a fun time, go see this movie.  But if you want to listen to some great music, and maybe even sing along and remember all those great times you had in the 80s, then line up right now.  You won’t be sorry.

Michele

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21 Responses to Rock of Ages: The Musical

  1. Cindy Gerard says:

    Oh, I love this review MIchele! I’m going to have to go see it. I’ve had reservation about Cruise in the role too but, as you said, he often surprises – in both good and bad ways.

  2. Kathleen O says:

    Thanks for the review of this movie.. I would have gone to see if just for the comedic team of Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand and I like Juliann Hough, okay so she is not the best singer in the world, but I would rather watch her than some of the female singer out their who think they can sing and act. I like Tom Cruise, not in all his movies but some of them. He has turned a lot of people off with a few of his more controversial religious statements and let’s face it, a grown man jumping up and down on the couch is just tacky. The girls in one of my book chat groups really rake him over the coals. But he has his moments and I am looking forward as I said to seeing this movie just for the music. Classic, Classic music era

  3. michelehauf says:

    Cruise has had his tough times, but the guy is a trooper. and he looks darn good for what? Is he 50? I thought the most recent Mission Impossible was pretty good, too.

  4. loisgreiman says:

    I wish I had gone to that instead of Snow White and the Huntsmen which aaaaaa????
    I like Cruise….sigh…I can’t help it.

  5. Hellion says:

    I like Cruise too. After he got that Vanilla Sky stuff out of his system. But he had a cameo in Tropic Thunder and you did NOT recognize him…and I was like “I’m back on Cruise’s team again.” He can poke fun at himself.

  6. Linda says:

    Thanks for the great review! The music in this one sounds like it will bring back a few memories, things that I listened to in high school and college. This is more then likely another movie that will be seen on DVD though. I save my ticket money for ones that really must be seen on big screen or just cannot wait to go see. Have to save money for books!

    • michelehauf says:

      Books do come in first on the list over movies. 😉 I found a soundtrack for the movie at iTunes, sung by the actors, and there is an older release of the soundtrack with the original bands. So fun!

  7. Terri Osburn says:

    I’ve had my eye on this movie for a while. My sister graduated in ’87, myself in ’90. I was a total hair band girl. Still have the shirts. And some of the vinyl. LOL! But Cruise lost me years ago so I admit, the idea of him singing ANY Def song makes me cringe. They were my favorites! But I’ll see it. I’ve met Julianne Hough in person and she’s very sweet. I like her voice, though she’s a country singer so I’ll have to see how she pulls off the rock stuff.

    • michelehauf says:

      I have never missed a Def Leppard concert when they come to MN, so I was worried too. Of course, Cruise will never be as good as the original, but he does a fair job of it. I wasn’t cringing. And I forgot to mention Mary J. Blige. She was great in the small role she had as well.

  8. Leanne says:

    Michele, great outing for you and your daughter! I think I would enjoy this more if Cruise wasn’t the star. It’s just hard for me to separate his public persona from his acting roles… but I may rent it when it goes to DVD!:)

  9. michelehauf says:

    Leanne, I wanted to post this today because I think many will avoid because of Cruise, so I’m hoping to at least tell people to give him a chance in this one. It’s not his greatest, but it’s not his worst, and he actually has some fun with it.

  10. kris says:

    I love the 80s and if it was anyone other than Tom Cruise I would probably go see it.

    • Mavil says:

      there wouldn’t be rock of ages if it was anyone other than tom cruise. studios hesitate to give major funds to musicals because most bomb unless you have a star involved, this movie has a high budget. I plan on seeing it next weekend and expecting to have fun as I loved the 80s!

  11. Kylie Brant says:

    Hadn’t even heard of this one, Michele, so thanks for the heads up. Hubby loves 80s music and Journey is a fav of the whole fam. One Sunday (if I don’t get him to church, dh sits and buys anything on the infomercials, lol) he bought an 80s collection. Like 12 CDs. Our kids try to still them whenever they’re home!

  12. It sounds like you had a ball, Michele. Love rockin’ with the younger generation. I would’ve passed on this one because of Tom Cruise, but on your say-so, rethinking.

    I was thinking Snow White would be my choice this weekend–love a cool movie theater on a hot day–but you say no?

  13. I wouldn’t have thought of going to see this one, but I loved your review and now look forward to seeing it someday. I am really curious about Huntsman. I love fantasy and historicals and romance–but not sure about the main actress have the emotional range. Glad to hear that Lois will be reviewing it!

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