Tuesday, January 03, 2012


I'm no great fan of "Moulin Rouge," but of all the things I despised about that movie the one criticism I never quite "got" was that it had committed some kind of capitol offense by reconfiguring various pop/classic-rock anthems into cheeky Broadway-style ballads.

Well, if you DID feel violated those particular covers, it's safe to say you are not the audience for "Rock of Ages;" Adam "Hairspray" Shankman's movie version of the popular "jukebox musical" that repurposes a laundry-list of 1980s Cock Rock (re: "Hair Metal") into your basic young-lovers-with-dreams Broadway crowd-pleaser with an on-and-off "self aware" streak (our female lead's name is "Sherrie Christian," to give you an idea where this is shooting from.)

The thrust of the story involves the owners/patrons/etc of an infamous LA rock bar trying to stop an evil developer's plan to "clean up" the Sunset Strip by getting a soon-to-break-up super-band to play their farewell show at said bar; as experienced by a busboy and a waitress with dreams of rock/acting stardom of their own.

The big stunt-casting is Tom Cruise as the Axl Rose/Brett Michaels hybrid who fronts the main band; which is kind of inspired - comedy, particularly self-parody, is the only thing that seems to bring real energy out of Cruise anymore, and he's every bit the weirdly-ageless Reagan-era relic as the songs (particularly "Wanted Dead or Alive") he'll be singing.


Jacob Beck said...

I'm diggin' the "We're Not Gonna Take It/We Built This City" mash-up.

Hopefully, while it probably won't be one of the best movie musicals ever, it could be a good jukebox movie musical.

TheDVDGrouch said...

Watching this trailer the first film that jumps to my mind was that one with Beatles Songs, Across the universes.

Hey Bob I would be interested to hear your take on that one yay or nay?

Dave Cesarano said...

I dunno, I kind of find it disturbing that the Tipper Gore wannabes whose children are going to get all their information from Fox News are the ones singing "We're Not Gonna Take It." I mean, they obviously represent the right-wing pro-establishment hyper-religions "moral majority." (As an aside, wow, I just realized Tipper Gore is a Democrat, yet she still started the PMRC, which just goes to show that you can't trust ANY politicians ever.) Anyway, yeah, not digging that because it is somewhat sacrilegious, but what the hell. Everything else looks pretty cool, though.

MovieBob said...


Thing is, "jukebox musicals" are generally only concerned with the chorus of the songs, so in that context "We're Not Gonna Take It" as the anthem of the tear-down-sin-city crowd versus "We Built This City on Rock & Roll" as the anthem of the other side... but yeah, it's kind of tenuous.

I'm legitimately DREADING the 90s-nostalgia version of this now:

UNDERDOG-DREAMER KID: "I just need to get OUT of this small rural town, man! You just feel STUCK, y'know? Like... flies in the vaseline..."

POPULAR BAD GUY: "Heh! You KNOW what happens... When I come around!"

CYNICAL MENTOR: "Welcome to the 90s, man. We're all stars now... in the dope show.

Chris said...

(fitting somewhat contextually with the theme of muscial movies) I'm just barely old enough to remember Xanadu and bits from Yellow Submarine... God my childhood was weird

CrunchyEmpanada said...

Not a fan of Moulin Rouge? Why am I not suprised? Who likes good movies? Not Bob.

Sofie Liv Pedersen said...

Well.. I have to take into consideration that it's the director of Hairspray who did this.
Because even though Hairspray isn't a perfect movie it is fun and constantly maintain a great amount of energy which usually would be the break or win for an otherwise just decent musical.
So if he can maintain the energy level, it will at least be a fun ride and worth checking out. But I am not really blown away by this, I am a musical fan so I am one of the people having seen a lot of this stuff, firstly this seems outdated, Hairspray was to (lets be fair.) but had just enough style to get away with it.. I didn't get that from this.

No.. this does not seem like some-thing I would go out of my way to buy a ticket to. If it just ran in tely or a friend asked me to go, yeah sure. But I am not excited or anything.
It just looks.. decent but forgettable.
..And i don't like it when Hollywood movies hire name actors who can't sing for any musical, that always freaking will annoy me. I don't believe Cruise can pull of these rock numbers, that is my biggest problem D:
Why hasn't Huge Jackman been casted in any of these big Hollywood musicals yet!? The man is a really good singer! I don't get it. he's just standing around saying. "Look at me I actually had a carrier in singing before I made any movie."

David (The Pants) said...

I agree the casting of Cruise is legit great. Russell Brand's character seems to be great casting too. My favorite shot is probably when Cruise goes down on that girl and the condoms fall on them. That was perfect. The energy of the trailer was amped up nicely. This looks like fun.

Joe said...

I am a fan of Moulin Rouge and its configuring of pop songs. But unlike most of these jukebox musicals, when MR did it, either the entire song was appropriate to the scene, or only the lyrics that were appropriate were used.

Also, looking over the repertoire of this musical...I don't think "Don't Stop Believin'" is a bad song (unlike, say, "We Built This City"), but I am so sick of hearing it.

Blue Highwind said...

As the Muppet proved recently, "We Built This City on Rock and Roll" is awesome no matter what VH1 has to say about it. What do they know about music anyway? When was the last time they even pretended to be a music channel? I'll take Jefferson Starship's opinion over a bunch of D-list commercial celebrities.

Now that my off-topic rant is over, my only real issue with this trailer is the last song. If that's Tom Cruise sining, this movie is in deep shit.

Wendy said...

Anything is better than today's shitty selection of half-assed nausea-inducing whiners and incoherent screams that think their musical inability passes for "music"

HolyJunkie said...

My thought process during the trailer:
-(prior to watching trailer) I didn't like the music in Moulin Rouge because they were remakes. I didn't like the music because it almost made my ears bleed. However, those are really my tastes more than the music quality in the movie.
-Hairspray for Pop rock, eh?
-Oh hai, Footloose remake- Oh wait, this is a different story that's somehow almost the same thing. Only thing missing is a Volkswagen beetle loaded with loud speakers.
-That's Catherine Zeta-Jones? I didn't recognize her with that insane expression. She (the character) seems like a one-dimensional version of that one priest from the Footloose remake.
-Damn, I need to find the original Footloose. I need me some Kevin Bacon.
-Monkey? I'm sold, dawg.
-No Queen covers, eh? I feel glad, although an opportunity like that is what Mark Martel could use... you know, aside from Ellen Degeneres (I think I misspelled her name) and the popularity of his youtube vids.
-Queen is awesome.

HolyJunkie said...

Bah, I worded that first part so poorly. I didn't "Dislike" the remakes because they were remakes. I disliked them because they almost made my ears bleed.

Chicago2000 said...

Wanted to see the musical. Can't wait to see this flick!

Jake said...

That's not Catherine Zeta-Jones, that's Malin Akerman (Silk Specter from Watchmen.)

My own comment: It's weird that they seem to lump together mid 70s-early 80s Arena Rock with 80s Hair Metal, especially since this starts in '87. And my God does Alec Baldwin seem out of place here!

Jacob said...

Hey Bob,
So here's the thing, I'm a theatre guy and I LOVE the musical it's based on. Its fast paced, it's self-aware (in a GOOD way) and they got a legit ROCK singer to star (originally Constantine Marolous)

I have agreed about Tom Cruise from the first day it was announced. After Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder I knew he was gonna be perfect.

As a fan of the broadway show I can say yes, this officially gets the fanboy stamp of approval.