Please put your hands together for our guest reviewer, Max. Max was kind enough to join me at the pre-screening of Rock of Ages, since it was a “school night,” and the theater was in the hinterlands of far West Plano, far from Sandy’s home territory. Take it away, Max!
MAX: I was fortunate to get an invite from my friend, Ann, to see a pre-screening of the new musical movie “Rock of Ages.” I will start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed myself! This is the second time I have had the pleasure of pre-screening a movie, having also seen “The Help” before its big release. Now that I am a veteran of the pre-screening world, I have established that there is an interesting mix of movie-goers that frequent these events: the all-powerful nose-up press people who radiate their eliteness at evaluating the entertainment value of the movie to the masses in their reviews the next day, and a sub-culture of traveling movie gypsies that are on some mysterious list of people who randomly qualify to go to pre-screenings “for free.”
As someone who really loves to watch people and relishes the diversities of our community, let’s just say that there was a lot of enjoyment in the interesting mix of people surrounding us! I have never had a metal detector body scan upon entry to a movie before this. I thought they might be looking for hidden cameras until I became aware of the audience around me and quickly realized that it was probably more for my own protection! Many of the “free” movie travelers (I call them travelers because I quickly decided they all rode in on the movie gypsy bus from Bosnia and looked like they very well might be packing heat!) So, I was very relieved that everyone in the theater had passed inspection!
ANN: I’m just going to make myself comfortable. Go, Max, go.
MAX: Once everyone was in place and all the body scans were complete, a man with a staticky microphone called for everyone’s attention at the front of the theatre! He explained that he worked for the movie promo company and that we were really in for a treat with “Rock of Ages!”
He was very excited about it and screamed out to the crowd, “Are you ready to rock?” The press people evidently do not participate in such foolishness as the area around us (we were with the press people!) remained silent. The Bosnians, however, are accustomed to the pre-show excitement that comes with the free early movie passes and proceeded to hoop and holler and make Ozzy Osbourne hand signals! It was then that we were informed of the “air guitar” contest that was about to commence! This is when I was super thankful that I had purchased a 20 gallon drum of popcorn to hide behind! (I LOVE movie popcorn!)
Without going into much detail, imagine the guy in high school with long hair, smelling of cigs and pot, who used to draw the Def Leppard logo that looks like lightning on every other page of his algebra book. Now picture 4 of him, but middle-aged, playing air guitar with one female counterpart, and that was the next 20 minutes of our lives! Needless to say, we could not wait for the movie to begin!
You need to know that I LOVE musicals! I was president of theatre in high school and starred in every musical production in school growing up! I have seen 5 shows on broadway and have worn out tons of musical soundtrack LP’s! This makes me an expert. Right?
ANN: Of course it does.
MAX: I have not, however, seen the stage version of Rock of Ages, so I came in with no pre-conceived ideas! I was a little confused! Right off the bat the main character (Julianne Hough) is on a bus travelling from her small Oklahoma town to L.A. to make the big time as a rocker. She randomly starts singing (they do that in musicals, you know!) and then other people on the bus started randomly singing. At this point, the audience started laughing! It was here that the confusion started for me. I couldn’t tell if the movie was trying to be funny or if it just “was” funny. If they were trying to be campy and sort of make fun of the ridiculousness of musicals, then they did a great job! If they were really trying to convey a true film version of a stage musical, then they failed miserably and it was all very laughable!
Julianne Hough as a “rocker” was kind of like Dolly Parton singing Twisted Sister with a straight face! It just did not work! I wanted to slap her and ship her back to Oklahoma! The story line has her landing a job in the “it” rock bar in like 5 minutes after getting off the bus! She falls for a rocker wannabe waiter (Diego Boneta) with whom she had no on-screen chemistry! I wanted to ship him to Oklahoma too!
Tom Cruise as the famous fictitious Rocker, Stacee Jaxx, really stole the show as the brain-dead has-been rocker who has a sex appeal that seems to hypnotize any woman close enough to sense his aura! He plays the role splendidly and is amazing in the stage performances.
ANN: Spoiler alert…
MAX: Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand are entertaining as the slapstick bar owner and bar manager. Their homo-erotic duet really got the Bosnians going! Other supporting cast members were not overly memorable or worth mentioning, although Catherine Zeta-Jones DOES look really great!
I would have to say that overall some things just don’t go together! Like Rock & Roll and Musicals! Like Julianne Hough and musicals! (I just had a bad flashback from Footloose from last year!) Like Popcorn and Air Guitar! Like Bosnians and Critics!
ANN: I don’t think I can add anything to that. Besides, Max used my monthly quota of exclamation points.
Rating: 2 bottles of Bourbon.