WARNING: If you don't like Broadway, musicals, tremendous acting, or brilliant mashups of chart-topping '80s hair band songs -- this blog is not for you!
For those of you who don't already know, I'm a Broadway freak. I love it. I would see a Broadway musical every week if I lived anywhere near New York City. To date, I've seen about 10 musicals on Broadway (and countless others in various cities). And if memory serves me correctly, I'm about due for another trip to NYC.
So when Hollywood attempts to recreate a Broadway musical, like "Chicago," (which is probably one of the best movies ever made) or a TV show about the making of a Broadway musical, like "Smash," (which despite poor ratings, I still think is one of the best shows on television) my heart goes pitter-patter. On occasion, there are faint girlish screams, and my mouth does this weird upside down grin thing, as I attempt to contain the joy and not frighten any nearby children.
On Saturday night, at the last minute, a friend of mine and I decided to go see "Rock of Ages" at the Cinemark. Actually, we went to see "Ted" and it was sold out, so we saw "Rock of Ages" by default. But I was thrilled. I'd been waiting to see the film since it came out a few weeks ago, which is odd for me because I'm not one to frequent the movie theater that often. And since I know that not everyone enjoys musicals (either on stage or on the big screen) it can be tricky sometimes to find someone willing to take a chance on non-traditional cinema, then spend $10 on movie they may, or may not loathe for the rest of their life (and therefore put me in the awkward position of possibly losing my future film-picking privileges).
And how do you convince someone they should (definitely, absolutely, without-a-doubt) go see a musical about the Los Angeles Sunset Strip, featuring fictional characters in "guy-liner" singing along to hair band chart-toppers from the 1980s? You don't. At least, I didn't. Rather, I took the strategic approach, pitching the movie's cast lineup first: Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta Jones, Julianne Hough, Russel Brand, Paul Giamatti, Mary J. Blige and my new favorite bilingual superstar, Diego Boneta. Then, I mentioned rock-n-roll, followed by 80s music, "it had good reviews," blah, blah, blah. That's sort of how the conversation went. I was in.
I did not mention the word musical. Which later led to a moment of absolute hilarity about four songs into the movie, when he leaned over and whispered, "So ... is this a musical?" I nodded my head "Yes" and then laughed quietly for several long minutes. I'm still actually laughing about it. But he laughed, too. And later, when we were walking out, he told me he really enjoyed the movie.
Anyway, let me give you the low-down on the film. The music is awesome. The screenplay is clever. The actors are perfectly cast. Cruise's performance as Stacee Jaxx was incredible (albeit, creepy at times). The man can sing. Who knew?
Zeta-Jones offers up an odd, but lovable portrayal of an L.A. mayor's wife, Patricia Whitmore, who's bent on shutting down the Sunset Strip. She's a little "out there" in this one, but somehow, it works. The choreography is Mia Michaels. Need I say more?
Finally, yes, there's a cheese factor. I won't lie. There are moments of strangeness. But overall, the movie is definitely worth seeing. Or, in my case, seeing twice.
I hope you enjoy as much as I did!
Click here for a "Rock of Ages" featurette.
Click here to see "Rock of Ages" trailer.
Here's another one, even better!
"Rock of Ages" at the 2009 Tony Awards.
Click here to see "Rock of Ages" on WestEnd (London) Live in 2011.
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