“Hello, My name is Brian and I (was forced) to go see Rock of Ages the movie. [all] Welcome Brian!” Phew, now that the first step is over I am clearly on the road to recovering my manhood. Actually, it is even worse than that. Not only did I go to the cinema, I’ve also seen the play. That probably cost me at least 100 yards from the He-Man Woman Haters Clubhouse. Before you dial up the jokes let me say that both events were date nights and Linda paid me back by going shooting with me last Saturday (and I’m not talking about a shutter, more like .22s, 9mm and 45’s YES!).. but enough of the interesting stuff, back to the crap.. I mean the movie. As a start let me reiterate my complete disgust at the cost of actually going to a movie these days .. (with the exception of the last theater I went to – link here). Tickets were $7.50 a piece which is isn’t too awful, but two small drinks and a small popcorn cost us $12.00. Do you realize how much you can get for $12 at Walmart? You could probably feed a large family and still have some left over for an exhilarating game of miniature golf.
To say I my expectations were low for this movie would be a gross understatement. It was basically a laundry list of things I can’t stand when it comes to entertainment
- Tom Cruise (ugh – going to this movie broke my self imposed ban on anything he ever touches)
- A musical (man was not put on this earth to go to musicals)
- Tom Cruise
- Any post High-Infidelity REO Song
- and Tom Cruise
Eventually the movie started after an obnoxious amount of commercials followed by what appears to be trailers for an entire summer of bad movies. Wasting no time at all, we were immediately thrown into the musical format when Julianne Hough starts in on Sister Christian. Linda had to remind me she was the girl in the re-make of Footloose (dammit, that is another 50 yards from the clubhouse). I am going to go on record as saying this woman needs better roles… umm… rather more roles as a stripper… wow. Oh, and her pipes are not that bad either. I’ll give some props to Diego Boneta. I have no idea who he is, but again, did a pretty good job on the songs. let’s contrast those performances with a horrible offering from Catherine Zeta-Jones whose stiff rendition in the church and an unbelievably bad dance send up to Michael Jackson’s Beat It will have you begging for reruns of Chicago to cleanse the mind. The sad thing is that was still Academy Awards better than what came out from Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin. I was already numb from seeing the play so their “big surprise” was lost on me .. for a multitude of reasons. Brand has the ability to turn a side role into a scene stealer but this was definitely not one of those occasions. Oh, and Mary J. Blige brought her ‘A’ game to the set as well.
So who is left…. that’s right Stacee Jaxx played by Mr. Scientology himself. Picture me biting my lip right now as you read “Tom actually managed to pull it off”. Even with my worst wishes, I have to admit he was able to perfectly channel deadbeat Axl Rose for this role which was a perfect choice. A washed up, over hyped, self important carcass of a rock star… yep, pretty much sums up Axl for me and who Linda and I both thought of when we saw the play. As far as his ability to sing, well we have paid to see a lot worse in concert – hell, we paid to see Sebastian Bach which managed to permanently scar Linda (she’d rather see Danger Kitty than ever see that train wreck again)
Now time to talk about a terrible trend in cinematography that must stop immediately, especially if the movie industry ever expects to continue reaping my hard earned money. About a third of the way into the movie I looked over at Linda expecting to see a big smile on her face (if not from the movie, then watching me suffer through cheesy REO Speedwagon cover). Instead, I see her looking a little pale and nauseous. Linda is very sensitive to excessive camera movement and movies like Days of Thunder, Terminator 2 and the new Star Trek all have the distinction of forcing Linda to leave the movie before it was halfway through. I think I’ve commented on just how bad Star Trek was with the Shaky Cam effect. If you don’t believe me, re-watch the scene in the bar at the beginning of the movie – two stationary people having a drink in bar DOES NOT REQUIRE the camera to tossed around like an epileptic attack. It is really just an overcompensation for the inability to frame up a scene. Now that Linda had alerted me to camera movement it became very obvious. The camera NEVER stood still for even a minute. It would either scroll up from the bottom, down from the top or move left or right on every scene. With the scotoma lifted, it was noticeable for the rest of the film… well, except the part we had to leave for a bit for Linda to clear her head. To her credit, she agreed to tough out the rest of the movie, but this time we sat by the exit which also put us closer to the screen. Oddly, this seemed to actually help Linda out which is the exact opposite of what I expected. If that wasn’t bad enough, another annoying detail was soon picked up on. The director chose to film the movie up close and personal. I have a pretty wide personal circle (ask anyone and they’ll confirm). Super close camera work forces the actors (and actresses) into that personal space which makes me very uncomfortable. How do you know when you are too close … when you have to pan the camera back and forth to follow a conversation between two people standing next to each other or worse yet constantly scene flip back and forth. UBER ANNOYING! The funny thing is Linda has no problem watching these movies on our home TV. Maybe we should just forget about the theater and watch everything at home… with our $12 Walmart feast. Guessing the movie execs might be looking a little pale after reading that comment.
So there you have it. Was it an awful movie… no, Was it an epic masterpiece.. no was it worth seeing for free (oops, did I mention our tickets were actually free?).. I guess. If you go, see if you can locate some cameos in the protest audience (here’s a hint… REO).