“I just gotta see this one, kid. So go home while I proceed to the cinema.” That was what I told my son after our afternoon stroll inside the mall last Sunday when I was itching to see the newly-released film “Rock of Ages.” I hope he didn’t mind that I decided not to take him with me as I was aware the movie might not be his cup of tea. We watch mostly action, sci-fi, even comedy movies side by side. But musical? The only time I dragged him to one was Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” – which he actually got to enjoy. Anyway the former secret mild rocker hidden beneath my temperate, quiet veneer opted to relish on watching this Tom Cruise starrer rock musical alone for some schmaltzy reasons.
Aah, the 1980s. I was this teenager who had dreamed of becoming a mellow rockstar one day (Yup, you read that right, no typo error there). But don’t we all fantasize of becoming one anyway?.. So I had no problem lipsynching or belting out Foreigner’s “Urgent” or Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield” in the privacy of my bedroom (which I actually shared with my sistah). These are among the songs I “digged” for the most part of my teenage years. Plus “Rock The Casbah” by The Clash, “One Thing Leads To Another” by The Fixx, and yeah of course, Guns & Roses’ or rather Axel Rose’s “Sweet Child of Mine.” And I thought I was cool.. It’s been a while since I heard the song “Sister Christian” and upon hearing it in the said movie, I was like transported back to the days when I was still wearing my highschool Catholic uniform singing:
Sister Christian there’s so much in life
Don’t you give it up
Before your time is due
-Sister Christian, Night Ranger, 1984
The superlative presence of the seasoned actors here are the ones worth viewing. It’s a thrill to watch Tom Cruise emoting as a wayward, over-sexed rocker who waxes incoherent under the heavy spirits of alcohol. Though I’ve watched this man through the years do his thing from one moneymaking movie to the next I never could consider myself his fan. That is, until this film. Perhaps because I’ve got misgivings about his infamous lifestyle and have had ongoing speculation about his true gender (I read too many celebrity tabloids I guess). After this movie though, I could only sing praises for this guy who undoubtedly deserves a special place in history as one of the finest artists we’ve had in motion picture industry. The passion he infuses into his art as an actor is evident in every film he has done. He can be anything he wants to be onscreen. Convincingly. Looking the part is always another plus for him. He must be in seventh heaven now reading critics’ reverence for his well-chiseled body that can definitely put 20 year olds to shame.
The huge glitch in this movie was the choice of the young lead stars who failed to register well on me. I felt out of sorts with Barbie and Ken (well, that’s what they look like to me).., chagrined even of their weak personas and mediocre performance (particularly the girl’s singing voice). Rusell Brand’s brand of humor couldn’t do it for me too.
Catherine Zeta Jones whose talent matches her exquisite beauty is amazing as the mayor’s take-charge and unrelenting wife determined to close down Alec Baldwin’s (He was outstanding in the film too) reportedly notorious gig joint. One of my favorite scenes was her rendition of Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With your Best Shot” inside a chapel with a group of women dancers in their 30s and 40s. That brings me furthermore to commend on the excellent choreography of all the dance scenes in this film.
A momentary blast from the past and another feel good movie no doubt. “Rock of Ages” was certainly worth my time and the price of its ticket. For nostalgic reasons..
And definitely for my refreshing reappraisal of Tom Cruise.