Where did all that really marginal hair metal music from the ’80’s go? You can still find it on SiriusXM’s Hair Nation channel. Or in the used CD bins at Amoeba. But maybe it’s best heard in ROCK OF AGES. This was the music of my college years. Poison, Warrant, Twisted Sister, Journey, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon. Yeah, I had those albums (yes, real vinyl albums). But as I grew older, my tastes became more refined and I ditched that “trash”. Well someone, namely Adam Shankman, dug the songs up and included them in this musical. The plot is typical Broadway musical hokum. Small town girl takes a bus to Hollywood to fulfill her dreams. Julianne Hough is adorable, fairly talented and seems born to play Sherrie. Diego Boneta works at The Bourbon (Whisky) with all his “cuteness” and dreams. They meet cute as he runs to her rescue and gets her a job in the club and fall in love. Alec Baldwin runs The Bourbon with Russell Brand as his number two. Subplots are everywhere. Tom Cruise is Stacee Jaxx, aging frontman for Arsenal who is about to go solo and they play Baldwin’s club as their farewell. Paul Giamatti is his oily agent. Malin Akerman is a writer for Rolling Stone assigned to do a piece on Stacee. Catherine Zeta-Jones is the crusading mayor’s wife trying to shut down The Strip and save our kids from Rock and Roll. Baldwin is trying to save his club from the tax man. The movie opens with Hough on a bus traveling to Hollywood and singing Night Ranger’s Sister Christian. My eyes started a slow roll anticipating two hours of unbearable schlock. Then something surprising happened. I got into it. The nostalgia of the music. The goofy, predictable story. The hilarious performances by Baldwin and Brand. The shockingly good performance of Cruise (yes he sings and pulls it off quite well). I found myself laughing, singing along(in my head) and thoroughly enjoying it all. The songs have found a home here. They fit the story perfectly. None are an uncomfortable stretch. Best movie ever? No. Best musical ever? Sorry, that’s West Side Story. But this was entertaining and kept me interested for two hours. Isn’t that what a movie is supposed to do? Watch for some great cameos near the end of the movie featuring some period appropriate musicians. And full disclosure, I raced home and found the original versions of all the songs in the movie and created a Spotify playlist which I am listening to as I write this. I’m a dork. What can I say, but if this was the music of your youth, you need to see Rock of Ages. NOW! — Alan Yudman

One thought on “ROCK OF AGES

  1. Wish there were more movie musicals, Rock or otherwise, made today. Looking forward to rating this one and seeding it appropriately in the genre. I have always been particular to Hedwig And The Angry Inch when it comes to Rock musicals, and when I hear the song “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, I can't help but think of the comedy classic, Balls Of Fury! Yeah, I have refined tastes!! Thanks for the review, Mr. Yudman.


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