Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

June 20, 2012

‘Rock of Ages’ a gem for 80s super fans

Movie Review

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — The popularity of any genre of performance is going to have extremes of support or distaste no matter how well made, though with musicals there isn’t much of a middle taken in love or hate. Being someone who has both played and performed through voice musically, it’s very hard to see how there could be negative feelings, save the sins against nature from reality television or some of the more recent high school torture-cles.

Confusion I say comes from the fact we all sing-a-long to something, be it Broadway or radio broadcast and the fact there’s got to be at least one entire show where we all can say it wasn’t that bad. Case-in-point this submission where even if you pay attention to the familiar and corny tale and don’t enjoy it, I guarantee you won’t be able to resist jamming to the beat before it is all over. “Rock of Ages” is overall not the best of the best, but what is good makes it worth sitting through at least a couple of times.

The story is set in 1987 and starts off with the famous singing ambitions of Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough), a young girl from Tulsa, Oklahoma who leaves for Hollywood. Things pretty much seem doomed from the start until she meets a young barback named Diego Boneta (Drew Boley), who is only working until he too can be a big shot.

Mixed in with this is the decline of one of Rock and Roll’s greats Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise), who uses the failing bar/rock mecca The Bourbon Room run by Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and Lonny Barnett(Russell Brand) to do a last concert with his band Arsenal. Oh yeah,and there’s this evil churchy lady named Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who wants to destroy with anything remotely similar to this lifestyle in the Los Angeles area and bum everyone out. Somehow despite all the jumbled miniature plots it finds that kernel of genius and not only makes some sense in the end, but makes me consider this as something I’d do if brought to a stage nearby.

One of the best parts of this flick is the comedy gold and performances by those like Cruise, who delivers one of the most convincing performances of his career (or is actually good at something as was my wife’s opinion). Brand and Baldwin were absolutely hilarious in their exchanges and remind me a lot of the creepy nature of the canteen boy sketches on Saturday Night Live.

The pace might have benefited if the filmmakers hadn’t stretched it out to two hours, but even the slowest moments are picked up by the sweet tunes. In the end, if one enjoys theater movements like “Hairspray”then you will get a kick out of this too. Thus, I’d have to say my final verdict for “Rock of Ages” is three and a half out of five ballads.

Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.