I adore films, I adore music and my best friend and I in particular share a love of 80's rock so what better film for us to go and see than the over-hyped-musical-to-film classic: Rock of Ages. I didn't know a lot about the film ahead of going to see it but I’ve recently spent some time in LA and all down Sunset Strip and across Hollywood where the film is set there are endless posters of a ripped Tom Cruise backed by a team of rocky co-stars. As the advertising for this film was hard to avoid and as I’m someone who is too curious for my own good, I dragged my mate along to check it out.
I don’t think we’re friends anymore.
So, to the film. I have never, ever, in my entire life come out of a cinema with such a sense of confusion. We had driven a good 6 miles on the way home before either of us could form any sort of sensible opinion on what we'd just seen. All the signs were there, the promotional posters of Tom Cruise in leather trousers, Alec Baldwin with long hair... the fact when I booked the tickets there were only 2 reserved seats. It was always going to be an odd experience.
Upon arriving at the cinema and seeing that it was just us and the other two people, and I use the term ‘people’ loosely, I thought, "that's ok... sometimes it's nice when there's not many people there." Well, it can be nice, when the other people aren't insane.
As a rule, if there's only a few people in the cinema, it's perfectly normal to space out and sit on different rows. It's like an unspoken act from the same rule book as "if possible, always leave one stall in between you and the other person when you use public toilets." This couple hadn't read that rulebook. In fact, I'm not entirely convinced they can actually read… So, they decided to sit next to me.
He was over 6ft tall and 1ft round, she was a little over 1ft tall and 6ft round. Not only did they look like they'd been hired by my friend to freak me out, they sat in a way that can only be described as ‘on’ me. They spoke the entire way through the film but not at each other, just to themselves because they were so filled with sheer excitement they were incessantly mumbling happy thoughts. They also sang along to all of the words, every... single... one, and possibly my friend's favourite part, bare in mind they were sat next to me, they played air guitar. A lot. They even clapped at the end and gave a standing ovation.
Bat shit crazy. I have no more words on the matter.
Back to the film, I honestly couldn't say if this film is meant to be a comedy because the humour flits between total off-the-wall-piss-taking love scenes between Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand scenes to Disney-esque sickly sweet exchanges between the two young lovers who aren't famous, and could have been the stars of High School Musical for all I care. It was the most surreal dichotomy of genres I've witnessed in a film. It was like watching two films that wove across each other as smoothly as a bread knife would across a wire brush squeeze. Very, peculiar.
In Rock of Ages, Cruise becomes an embarrassing freak rock hybrid of all the classic 80's rock Gods
The casting for the film was brave and the one that stands out the most is Tom Cruise. Ever since his brilliant cameo in Tropic Thunder I have had a new found respect for the mental Scientologist so to see him in a role like this was one of the reasons I wanted to watch it, even if by watch it I mean in a similar way you do when you see a car crash and you have to edge slowly past it on the motorway... looking at it from behind dark sunglasses every so often and wincing. The fact he is ripped to shit in this film helped a little and the fact he's watched far too many YouTube videos of Billy Idol/Mick Jagger/Jon Bon Jovi (also known as Big Green Bogey... you can have that) made his performance all the more hilarious. In Rock of Ages, Cruise becomes an embarrassing freak rock hybrid of all the classic 80's rock Gods and his 'voice' if you are to believe it's his, was VERY Big Green Bogey, he even sings their classic, "Dead or Alive."
Mary J Blige makes a welcomed cameo as she is a 'sleb' but is also a real life singer, so she brings a bit of class and soul to the pain that is 'actors thinking they can sing.' I love Russell Brand but he flits between a ropey West-Midlands accent... FOR NO REASON AT ALL, and his own Essex boy twang. If he was going to just be 'English' in the film, let him be English. He's not fooling anyone in this. If anything he looks more like 'Russell Brand' than ever before. I don't really have any words for the other main characters other than the hot blonde girl gets progressively more slutty as the film progresses, which is fun.
If Spinal Tap & Wayne's World were burly men and they sodomised High School Musical, an innocent teenage girl, on a cocktail of whiskey, crack and Methadrone, Rock of Ages would be the spawn of their hedonistic union...
The soundtrack is good, but it does mean you are essentially listening to the Glee cast perform songs from Journey through to Poison, which you've probably already heard on Glee anyway. In regard to the soundtrack what this film does at points is manage to capture that exquisite cinematic awkwardness that hasn't been experienced since Piers Brosnan sang in Mama Mia. So, thanks for that.
If I had a gun against my head or had the unfortunate job of doing the PR on this film my one sentence summary would be this: If Spinal Tap & Wayne's World were burly men and they sodomized and raped High School Musical, an innocent teenage girl, on a cocktail of whiskey, crack and Methadrone, Rock of Ages would be the disabled love child that would be spawned from their hedonistic union.
I imagine after reading to this point you're still somewhat unsure of whether to see this INSANE film, so here are my three main reasons for you to go and see it:
1. You get to see Tom Cruise try and be straight and lick other girls faces... no it's not Eyes Wide Shut Part Deux.
2. You will be left utterly dumbfounded and unable to form a coherent thought for at least 6 miles post viewing. Liberating.
3. You get to watch Baldwin deliver this incredible line in his classic way, "I've just been sick. In my pants. Out my ass."
My friend predicts she's going to use that line to answer a good 75% of all questions she's asked this weekend.
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