Directed by Adam Shankman (Hairspray, So You Think You Can Dance) Rock of Ages is definitely a love letter to 80’s rock and roll. It immerses you into the hardcore rock world of the LA sunset strip in the late 80’s. From the opening, the music hits the ground running with songs from Night Ranger, Poison, Journey, Def Leppard, Twisted Sister, Foreigner, Quarterflash, Bon Jovi, and Guns and Roses to name a few. If you hate musicals, especially the ones where people just break into song, then this movie is NOT for you. If you love rocking’ out and having a good time, then YOU NEED TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!
When I first heard they were making a movie of this I was surprised. Originally this was a Broadway musical and I didn’t really know anything about the musical. I had assumed that it was a revue of 80’s Rock music, like Smoky Joe’s Cafe was a revue of Lieber and Stoller music or Ain’t Misbehavin’ a revue of Fats Waller’s music. I didn’t know there was a dedicated plot and story. To those who know that musical, the plot has been changed somewhat from the Broadway version, but the music is still Rockin’!
Julianne Hough (Dancing With The Stars) is Sherrie (sister) Christian, a small town girl (living in a lonely world) who ditches Oklahoma make her way as a singer in the big bad streets of LA. Once she hits town, she meets Drew (Diego Boneta) who is a bar back at the mecca of all Rock and Roll clubs, the legendary, infamous Bourbon Room owned by aging rocker Dennis (Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock) and managed by his ever so wonderful sidekick Lonny (Russell Brand, Get Him To The Greek). She winds up getting a job as a waitress. The club is in financial trouble from unpaid taxes so they arrange for Rock God Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) who just announced he is quitting his band Arsenal and going solo. They arrange for Arsenal to do their final concert at the Bourbon hoping that the take will put them back in the black and keep them from closing. Stacee Jaxx Tom Cruise yes, Tom Cruise!!! I did not stutter Tom Cruise as a Rock God: A hard drinking, head tripping, self-loathing, tattooed, ass-less chap wearing Rock God. I know! I couldn’t believe it either, but OMG!! He’s actually GOOD!!!! I never EVER thought I would see Tom Cruise rising from a bed covered in bitches and wearing ass-less chaps! If I didn’t know he was “THE” Tom Cruise, I would have thought he and Russell Brand got their scripts mixed up. As Stacee Jaxx, Tom is in all his glory, making women faint just for walking by. Oh, also he does his own singing. Everyone does.
The Bourbon is also under threat of shut down from a group of church ladies, lead by the Mayor’s wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who has personal motivation in seeing the club and the Rock God fall. Sherie and Drew declare their mutual dreams of making it in music biz while beginning to fall in love with each other.
On the night of the big Arsenal concert, the opening act has canceled and Sherrie convinces the owner to let Drew’s band play. He reluctantly agrees. But because of a misunderstanding, Drew mistakenly believes Sherrie slept with Stacee. He goes on and after the performance blows her off harshly. She quits in tears. But Stacee’s manager Paul, (Paul Giamatti, Sideways, and Cinderella Man) sees an opportunity to make Drew a star and to make matters worse, he snakes all the receipts from the night leaving the Bourbon Room worse than where they started
Sherrie, heartbroken, finds a job as a stripper in a gentleman’s club which is run by Justice Charlier (none other than my girl Mary J. Blige) while Paul tries to make Drew over into something he can sell for cash. After various looks and styles, the conclusion has been reached by powers that be that rock is dead, so he takes a new approach: BOY BAND (think New Kids on the Block).
Drew does not like the new act. He wants to rock, but Paul convinces him to stick with it and gets the group a gig at the Bourbon, Paul tells Dennis that Stacee wants to come back to perform (which is a boldfaced lie) and lines up his boy band to open for Stacee. Stacee, who had fired Paul after he found out that Paul took all the money from the Bourbon, finds out about the gig and goes to the club. The boy band is not going over well so drew decides to be himself and rock out which the crowd applauds. Stacee hearing Drew sing the song he wrote for Sherrie realizes that there is hope for him yet. Sherrie and Drew reunite, Stacee replaces the money that his former manager stole from the Bourbon and saves the bar. Rock and roll dreams are realized when everyone reunites for a huge spectacle of a concert.
I thought it was a fabulous movie and I wanted to see it again when it was over. Plenty of fun, laughs and MUSIC!!! I couldn’t stop myself from singing along, and I wasn’t alone in that. The whole joint was jammin’! You can’t help it! You got kick ass rockin’ tunes here! It’s too good, you just can’t keep still. If you do, you’re probably dead! I defy anyone to walk out of that movie and not feel happy, and positive and ready to ROCK!!! This movie definitely has the right tag line. Rock of Ages: NOTHIN’ BUT A GOOD TIME!!!!
The cast also includes:
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) as the Mayor of LA
And notable cameo appearances by:
Constantine Maroulis (American Idol) The original Drew from the Broadway Musical
Sebastian Bach (Skid Row)
And Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon)