See It: Rock of Ages

Loved this movie. Stand-out performances, soundtrack, and comedy make it work. Photo/poster credit: IMDb

Last night one of my girlfriends and I escaped our families for a spell. After enjoying a peaceful dinner without interruptions or requests for more drinks or food, we went to see Rock of Ages in the IMAX at our local AMC 30 Theatres.

Peer and press reviews told us to beware: it’s a mega cheese fest. So, along with the four others in the audience, we sat back and were transported back in time to the ’80s — the decade of big hair, manufactured “boy” bands, and heavy metal vs. rigid church folk.

While the film was a mega cheese fest, it was a hilarious look at what made the ’80s so decadent. Also, the soundtrack includes hits from bands (Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Def Leppard, Poison, Guns ‘N Roses, Motley Crue, Journey, etc.) that carried the look, sound and antics all have come to associate with that era. Finally, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand and Paul Giamatti gave stand-out performances. Without giving too much away the duet Baldwin and Brand perform was dead-on, hilarious; and one of many scenes some reviewers just didn’t “get”. Audience members with minimal expectations, a desire to be entertained, and a history with the ’80s should come away from this film with a hankering to see it a second time (like me).

My commentary and links to other Rock of Ages reviews …

Steve Ouellette’s movie review for the Press-Republican, calls the original tracks from many of the musicians covered (Def Leppard, Poison, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, etc.) to be pretty terrible. All I can say is that I was singing right along with the movie. Perhaps my ability to be objective is tainted from being a proud and long-time fan of all the said talents. Further, Ouellette suggests renting the movie, Rock Star, as an alternative. Quite frankly, the only element of Rock Star I liked was Brian Vander Ark’s turn as Ricki Bell. Vander Ark was lead vocals and principal songwriter for The Verve Pipe during the years I spent at Western Michigan University. My Western Herald peers and I attended many of their concerts; and some are fortunate to continue following this band as it continues to evolve.

Amy Biancolli, SF Gate (Home of San Francisco Chronicle) and Lisa Giles-Keddie (europe.real.com), came away with the same feelings I did.  I thoroughly Cruise’s Stacie Jaxx. Say what you may. But, Cruise is a talent at playing characters with over-the-top, egotistical personas. His Jaxx kept reminding me of his Lestat in Interview with a Vampire. Also, I identified with these reviewers’ appreciation for what the movie was … a parody of “bygone era.” I sang along to all the hits covered in the movie and got a belly-ache laughing through the duet Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand perform.

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Just saw this tonight. More on that tomorrow when I write my See It post. Photo/poster credit: IMDb

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Feeling the End-of-School Vibe

Despite my rantings on here, I am a bit stoked to admit there are only four point five days until my children break loose from school for summer vacation. I am not immune to feeling the end-of-school vibe, which started beating through the entire neighborhood at the beginning of May.

What about you? I can’t help but feel a bit of nostalgia. First, I watched a live production of Xanadu last Saturday, which took me back to the early years of the K-12 education. Then, Rock of Ages trailers have been playing on television all week. The soundtrack to this film contains many fave hits from my junior high and high school days. Finally, our neighbors — who live two houses down — have a son graduating from high school this week. There are quite a few of his friends celebrating their accomplishment with him this evening. Hearing all the shouts, laughter, and cars zooming around brings back a gazillion memories of the same from 23 years ago.