254: Rock Of Ages

Saw the Rock Of Ages movie last night!  And this comic pretty much sums it up perfectly.  While watching it, I was constantly switching back and forth from thinking it was great, to thinking it was exasperatingly corny.  Before saying anything else I should clarify that the original Rock Of Ages broadway show is absolutely fantastic.  It perfectly celebrates an era of music in a way that's fun, entertaining, and leaves you remembering what you loved about those songs.  The Rock Of Ages movie doesn't quite live up to that, but there are still a few things that were totally awesome about.  The music is performed well; all the singers have great voices and the song arrangements are very well done, whether its with a single song or a mashup.  The actors also do a great job.  Tom Cruise is phenomenal and hilarious as a douchey rock singer, and he is definitely the star of the show, with Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin following close behind on his heels.  The other main characters are fine, but the writing and flow of the plot can sometimes get god-awful cheesy, which is alright for a generic romance plot like theirs.  Sometimes the songs feel out of place when they start, though.  Like, there will be long scenes without any music, and then when a song starts again, I find myself thinking "Oh yeah, I forgot this was a musical, huh."  This made some of the musical numbers come off as cheesy as well, even when put into the context of a musical.  But even with all their cheese, they were still great songs to listen to, and they were always appropriate songs for the scenes they were in.

But the main difference between the original broadway show and the movie is also the movie's biggest downfall.  And that's the general tone and feeling that I got from the music.  The point of "Rock Of Ages" is to be a celebration of an era of rock and roll, and to remind you of the songs you used to love through a fun, funny, and entertaining performance.  And the broadway show handles that perfectly.  Every time a new song started on the stage, I was excited to recognize it and partake in it, and felt connected to the other audience members as we all embraced a beautiful wave of nostalgia.  The tone of the movie was quite different though.  The music in the movie felt more to me like a guilty pleasure than anything else.  Something that I enjoyed, but that I should feel embarrassed about enjoying.  Rather than making me want to go back and relisten to all those awesome songs I loved, it really just reminded me of how dead and over the 80's are, and of why this music is often considered cheesy.  And that is definitely not the feeling that I'm supposed to feel.  Rather than being a step forward for classic rock, like the broadway show was, this movie is actually a step backwards for it.  The movie is hilarious, and fun in a cheesy, musical way.  But the very fact that it felt cheesy and a little embarrassing, instead of celebratory, meant that it's not going to help the music gain ANY respect from people whatsoever.  And as someone who's trying his hardest to raise appreciation for classic rock, that kinda hurts.  So for the acting, the humor, and the actual performance of the music, the movie is great.  But for the general tone and attitude towards the music, and what it means for people's respect towards 80's rock and roll, I have some problems with it.

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