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.