Rock of Ages (2012)

This Place is About to Become a Sea of Sweat, Ear-Shattering Music and Puke.

Rock of Ages (2012)My interest was piqued in today’s movie while listening to the Nerdist podcast. Chris Hardwick was talking about this movie because he was in the original LA cast of the musical that this movie was based on. Another thing that drove me to want to see the movie was the ridiculous hotness of some of the actresses in the movie. That’s always a driving factor for me. But it didn’t drive me hard enough to bother to go and see the movie when it was still in theaters. When I was perusing a RedBox, I saw this movie along with the movie I was looking for and decided that I might as well watch it. If nothing else, I would enjoy the hotness and tune out the movie. Did I have to do that? Find out as I review Rock of Ages, based on the musical by Chris D’Arienzo, written for the screen by Justin Theroux and Allan Loeb, directed by Adam Shankman, and starring Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bryan Cranston, Malin Ákerman, Kevin Nash, Jeff Chase, and Will Forte.

A girl named Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) moves to Los Angeles to become a singer, but realizes pretty quickly that most of LA is a cesspool when her prized record collection gets stolen from her. A barback named Drew Boley (Diego Boneta) rushes to help her and the two later start dating even though this pansy didn’t even try to run the guy with her records down. Maybe it was because he gets her a job as a waitress at The Bourbon Room, a famous rock club that’s fallen on hard financial times. To help their situation, bar owner Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and his right-hand man Lonny Barnett (Russell Brand) book the famous band Arsenal – and their temperamental lead singer Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) – to perform their final gig at the club before Jaxx embarks on a solo career. Also going on, Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones), wife of Mayor Mike Whitmore (Bryan Cranston), is trying to shut down rock and roll, Constance Sack (Malin Ákerman) has sex with Jaxx and writes a scathing review about him in Rolling Stone, and Paul Gill (Paul Giamatti) tries to make a star out of Boley, knowing that Jaxx is unreliable.

I’m admittedly torn about Rock of Ages. I’m about dead center in my feelings for it. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. I think it was mainly the story that didn’t work for me. It just didn’t strike me as all that funny. And, without the comedy, it’s basically just a run of the mill love story/musical. There’s also a little bit of Empire Records in the people trying to keep their dream of rock and roll alive in the Bourbon Room, and perhaps a little bit of Footloose in the religious crazies trying to shut down something for whatever stupid reason. But I’ve already seen those movies, and I didn’t really like them either. And I think I wanted it to be funny, but it never managed to pull that off. Stacee Jaxx got a few laughs with his wackiness, but he also frequently bordered on depressing. I also always appreciate a good shot at boy bands, but then I get depressed because – let’s face it, rock fans – they’ve kind of won. Sure, they don’t have staying power, but that genre has made far more unworthy millionaires than rock has, at least recently. I think the only thing in the movie that got a good, solid laugh out of me was when Sherrie applied for a job by saying, “I can wait tables! I’m good!” Fer real? That’s what you’re gonna put on your list of special skills. Not writing, sketching, speaks limited French. You’re gonna post up with, “Excellent waitress.” I think there’s about one job that qualifies you for…

One of the things that definitely worked for me in this movie was the music. Gangnamed that’s a good soundtrack! Check out some of these songs: Paradise City, Sister Christian, Juke Box Hero, Wanted Dead or Alive, I Wanna Rock, Pour Some Sugar on Me, Here I Go Again, Any Way You Want It, Rock You Like a Hurricane, We Built This City, Don’t Stop Believin’, and the list goes on. Add some Metallica to that and I could survive on just that soundtrack for the rest of my life. I know everyone’s taste in music is not the same as mine, but if you don’t agree then your opinions are wrong. The reason this movie was so easy to get through even with the mediocrity of the story was because of the kick ass music throughout.

The performances in this movie were fine enough, but I was focused mostly on a different kind of “fine.” Namely Julianne Hough and Malin Ákerman. SO hot! Want to touch the heiney! Amongst other things. I guess the same could be said for Catherine Zeta-Jones, but she never really did it for me. Certainly not when I have Hough and Ákerman to distract me. They did fine jobs in the movie, but you also get to see them in underwear and other such skimpies! The only thing that bothered me about that is that there were times in the movie when Hough wore less clothes then when she was acting as a stripper at one point. When she was a stripper, she rocked something that looked like an old-timey one-piece bathing suit that was low cut in the front. She wears much hotter stuff when she’s not supposed to be getting naked for money! Tom Cruise also made me take note fairly frequently. I thought at first that I would be watching him do this part and be mostly thinking about how Chris Hardwick would have done it, even though I’ve never really seen Hardwick do it. But Cruise does an interesting enough performance of his own that I never really got to thinking about that part. But, y’know what? To hell with complimenting Tom Cruise! He got to make out with Malin Ákerman AND touch Julianne Hough and Catherine Zeta-Jones boobs! ALL IN THE SAME MOVIE!

Rock of Ages was an underwhelming but totally watchable movie. Its mediocre story was elevated drastically by the awesome songs in the musical numbers. The actors also did a very good job, especially Julianne Hough and Malin Ákerman who did an exceptional job being hot and Tom Cruise who did very well at being interesting to watch. But altogether, this is probably a skippable movie. You can buy the soundtrack without sitting through the movie, and you can see Julianne Hough and Malin Ákerman being hot with a Google image search. Rock of Ages gets “It’s not an improvement” out of “I just threw up. In my pants … out of my ass.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people. Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense. Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated. You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter. Don’t forget to leave me some comments. Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Footloose (2011)

You Can Stick a Quarter in That Girl’s Back Pocket and Tell if It’s Heads or Tails

I have fallen out of touch with my once-beloved RedBox.  Finding myself with two days off in a row, and extremely bored, I decided I should see what I’ve been missing since the last time I stopped in.  I picked up 4 movies, two that I expect to be crap and two that I think have potential.  I decided to start off with one of each, and also the two movies that are remakes of classic movies from the 80’s.  I’ve seen the movie that started tomorrow’s movie, but I’ve never seen the original of today’s movie.  Why?  ‘Cause I could give a shit about movies about dancing.  That being the case, I still picked this movie up because I expect it to be pretty crappy.  But I’ve been wrong before, so let’s see what I thought about the remake of Footloose, written by Dean Pitchford and Craig Brewer, directed by Craig Brewer, and starring Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, Miles Teller, Patrick Flueger, and Andie MacDowell.

After a night of drinking and dancing, Bobby Moore and four of his friends are fucking around in their car and get killed in a head-on collision.  In reaction, his father, Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid), convinces the city council to pass a bunch of unconstitutional laws banning anything that someone might consider fun.  Three years later, Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) moves to the city from Boston to live with his aunt and uncle after the death of his mother.  He quickly makes friends with Willard Hewitt (Miles Teller) and finds out about the town’s strict restrictions, deciding to call it “Wicked Queer”.  He runs afoul of the law a few times (all for things that weren’t his fault), and also runs across the rebellious daughter of the reverend, Ariel (Julianne Hough).  At some point in this movie, it is safe to assume that young Ren will kick off his Sunday shoes and attempt to cut loose.

Having never seen the original, I went into this movie with only the most basic of assumptions.  The movie manages to go above my low expectations.  That may or may not be a compliment.  It’s okay, but the part of the movie that I liked the most won’t really be mentioned until the next paragraph.  The story of this movie tries really hard to make sense of the fact that dancing has been made illegal in this town, and it occasionally comes close to making sense.  I’m sure that there are some crazy religious towns in the world, but I feel like any laws that outlawed dancing could probably be fairly easily overcome.  But you get the idea, and it’s their flimsy premise that they use in order to remake a movie that probably had no real reason to be remade in the first place.  And, best I can tell from my limited knowledge of the original, this movie borders on a shot-for-shot remake.  The only part I’ve seen is Kevin Bacon’s crazy little angry dance, and they throw that nonsense in this movie too.  I don’t really understand the concept of getting so angry that I just gotta dance, but if that’s your stress relief, knock yourself out.  I’ll stick with masturbation.  Surprisingly, there was some shit that didn’t make sense to me in this movie, and a lot of it was tied to some pretty shitty dialogue.  Ren and Willard first meet in a way that makes you think they’re going to fight, accidentally bumping into each other in the hallway which, of course, is the greatest insult you can give.  Except for the one Ren follows up with, saying “If you weren’t wearing all that camouflage, maybe I could’ve seen you!”  Deep burn, Ren.  How’d you ever manage to get a friendship going after that one?  At the end of the movie, Ren’s trying to make his case to the very religious city council, and his big idea is to read every quote in the Bible that uses the word “dance”, regardless of whether or not it actually fit what he was trying to say.  And then, at the very end of the movie, they have a school dance and play “Footloose” again.  I understand that it’s the name of the movie, and I even understand that it’s a mighty catchy tune, but it’s also the song that everyone was listening to at the very beginning when all those kids died.  Wouldn’t it ruin the mood to have everyone instantly remember that at something that was supposed to be fun times?  The biggest problem for me was the entire premise of the movie.  I guess that’s probably not a good thing.  I hate dancing and pretty much refuse to do it at any point unless it’s for a laugh, so when Ren gets so determined to overturn this law against it, I couldn’t help but thinking there were probably more important uses of his time.  Trying to bang the bejesus out of Julianne Hough, for instance!  The music is another fairly important part of this, and most of them worked out pretty well.  Footloose is a solid song, and the remake of it at the end of the movie is okay as well.  The slow, acoustic version of “Holding Out For a Hero” was not as good as the original.  The rest of the songs were pretty good.  The dancing was … yawn … moving on.  It was fine enough, but I have no interest in it.

The performances were my favorite part of this movie, but pretty much for only one reason.  Gundamn that Julianne Hough is hot!  She is so gorgeous and has the world’s most bangin’ body.  Every scene in this movie she was in, I was completely distracted by her.  Every other scene, I was waiting for her to come back.  There was a long scene in the middle of the movie where Ren joins a bus race against her boyfriend, and the scene was a waste of my time and pointless, but the only thing that made it worth paying attention to was the fact that she gets down to her bra in it.  And every time she started dancing, I finished.  Let’s just leave it at that.  Even though I was so happy to see her character, the character itself annoyed me.  I hate those girls that are so smoking hot and could probably have any man in town but still decide they want to start dating the not that attractive guy that treats her like shit.  And then, at the end of the movie, she’s arguing with her dad about how he should stop treating her like a child and her big argument is, “I’m not even a virgin anymore.”  Yeah, ’cause nothing says you’re mature like handing your pussy out to some random shithead that treats you like crap.  I would’ve slapped her in the face for that statement.  Thankfully, her dad did it for me, so I didn’t have to stop being a gentleman.  She also had a nice bit of acting in that scene that caught me off guard, but I’m gonna go back to thinking about how hot she is.  Kenny Wormald did his job well enough, but I felt like his Boston accent was either affected or annoying, and possibly both.  He just seemed to try too hard with the accent.  Miles Teller’s character never hit home with me since I found him fairly annoying, but I did like him a little more in the fight at the end of the movie.

This is a hard movie to recommend.  If you’re a big fan of movies based on dancing, then you’ll probably like this.  If you’re just a fan of movies, this movie would probably only be able to reach mediocre for you.  If you’re a fan of the original movie, you will either like how similar they are and prefer an updated take, or be sickened by the fact that this movie is not the original.  The only type of people I can say will enjoy a good portion of his movie is people who like women.  That Julianne Hough is worth watching all by herself, if you’re into that kind of thing.  And I am.  I got this movie from RedBox, and it WAS better than I expected it to be, but I still wouldn’t say there’s a whole lot of demand for you to see this movie.  The remake of Footloose gets “That’s sexier than socks on a rooster!” out of “Our Lord is testing us.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!