When I first saw the previews for this movie, saw Tom Cruise in it, I was immediately turned off. Certain people, Tiger Woods for example, make me angry in an irrational sort of way. Tom Cruise, despite his enormous talent, is also one of those people. His eccentricities distract from what should be the focus, the man can act. In Rock of Ages, a musical made into a movie (this I didn’t know), the story is your typical musical that starts off with a girl moving to a new town to make it big. She gets a break as soon as she gets there and feels the highs and lows.
The reason you’d see Rock of the Ages isn’t for the story, it isn’t anything new, but for the songs and the spot-on acting by an ensemble cast that has no visible weaknesses. Julianne Hough plays the lead role, opposite her is Diego Boneta, the boy that falls for her on sight. The supporting cast is much stronger, including the always hilarious Russel Brand and Alec Baldwin. Paul Giamatti and Catherine Zeta-Jones are wonderfully despicable throughout. Tom Cruise, unequivocally steals the show from everyone.
The soundtrack to the film kept me engaged, and perhaps the only thing that turned a mediocre musical into something timeless. As each song began, it was like the soundtrack to my childhood, which dates me, I realise. Tom Cruise belts out all the hard rock songs with amazing accuracy and veracity that make it memorable. This is the perfect musical to be a sing-along musical on the first viewing. I knew all the songs, as did most of the audience.
But what was more compelling, to me, was the fantastic back-and-forth between Cruise’s Stacee Jaxx and Malin Akerman, the Rolling Stones reporter, Constance. The two have a short interview in which Constance later tells the truth about Jaxx and his tortured life, he is no longer a person, but an act, the real Jaxx hidden underneath the energy and infamy of Jaxx. It made me think about the likes of Lindsay Lohan and the like, stars who appear to be strangely trouble-prone, but may in actuality, be in a situation they can’t get out of. Fame is something I doubt I’ll ever understand first-hand, but the effects of which can make even the most sane person, seemingly, do the most insane things.
The movie isn’t going to change your life, or your world view, but it was good fun and worth a viewing. The music alone will make you reflect on when you were, perhaps, thinner, younger and had higher hopes for life. Rock on, my friends.