Right, they didn't reinvent the wheel here, but I sure had a good time. So shoot me.
Rock of Ages was a two hour long rock and roll anthem to my youth. I loved it because I didn't have to think about it too hard. I just had to sit back and be entertained. Beside the fact that I could name all the bands and sing along to virtually every jukebox song that was played out in musical form on the screen, the cast of Hollywood heavies made it an even more enjoyable rock and roll adventure. Oh I know, Rock of Ages was panned by the critics and it opened to minimal box office success, but I would venture to guess that this one will grow some legs and spark new life on DVD.
For me, it was two things; the music, oh the beautiful music, and the cast. Let's start with my favorites:
- Paul Giamatti. The guy is an anomaly by Hollywood standards, but he has truly perfected the "slime ball, scum bag" role to an art form. He's so despicable and disgusting (that heinous ponytail, ewww) that I hate to love him and love him I do. My visceral response to his work only leads me to believe the truth and the truth is that Giamatti is genius.
- Alec Baldwin. Hello? Is there any comedic role this guy can't turn into gold? As an over the hill rocker who stayed too long at the party, Bourbon Room owner Dennis Dupree, Baldwin and his loyal side man Lonnie (Russell Brand) gave one of the movie's comedic high points with REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight this Feeling".
- Russell Brand? He just played himself, with a spot on makeover of a hair band groupie, which is why it was no stretch. His warm and fuzzy Lonny is the emotional anchor that binds this story together and serves as the comic relief.
- Then there's Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx, a resurrected Axl Rose type of rock God. Cruise nailed it and for me, the guy plays this role so dark and so sexy that I was left almost searching the iTunes store for Arsenal/Stacee Jaxx songs. It's such a departure for this Hollywood Marquee player, that I once again am amazed by Cruise and his brilliance when he throws something different at me. See: Tropic Thunder
The rest of the cast rounds it out quite nicely. While I enjoyed the performances of Julianne Hough and a somewhat unknown Diego Boneta, and Malin Ackerman and Catherine Zeta Jones, this one belonged to the big boys.
And the music.
The climactic finale, with the rock and roll anthem of today, Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" was predictable but nonetheless enjoyable. It somehow managed to sound fresh and uplifting, but for me it was Cruise who made it new.
Again, I'm just a sucker for a Rock and Roll story for all ages. So shoot me.