Thursday, June 21, 2012
Rock of Ages: A Review
I was born in 1974. That makes me... old. Not yet, as I often say, "Get off my lawn!"-old but old. So imagine my surprise and delight to see a musical that builds on the songs of my youth. Imagine further delight to see that musical being made into a film.
Before I get into the movie itself I do have to comment on what I find curious about my own memory. I was 15 when the 80's started their close. I was in high school during the rise of the Boy Band, and the downswing of MTV and what I think of as a fairly intense shift in Rock and Roll towards more heavy sounds, likely to separate it from the fluffy harmonies of groups like The Backstreet Boys.
Yet 80's rock and roll always seems to feel like the music of my youth. This was the music I first sang along to, even though I had precious little idea what I was singing about. For the lontest time I thought that "Papa Don't Preach" was about a girl who had detention.
But back to Rock of Ages....
The show follows a girl from Tulsa as she travels to Hollywood to find fame and fortune and love. There she takes a job in the iconic Bourbon House like every other would-be singer, musician and song writer and wackiness ensues as washed out rock legend Stevee Jaxx comes to play this last show.
The show that follows features some of the best mashups of the music of my youth I've ever heard. My only complaint is how short the numbers are. You are just starting to get your groove on to a mix of We Built this City with We're not Gonna Take It, and the scene is over and onto the other characters.
The plot is easy to follow with a few nice twists here and there but no real "Wow; blind side" moments. As such it's easy to over look if you're going in to see Tom Cruise et al rock out to the 80's in ways you probably don't quite remember. Of course mixed in the story are themes of love, respect, selling-out your dreams, and loyalty.
Overall the show is fun, the music is great, and while it won't tap your deepest of emotions for the characters, you might find yourself a little misty eyed just for the lost fun of our youth, those days we remember as being full of righteous rebellion that was nothing like the youth of today. We raised our fists at the man and shouted out filthly lyrics because we really were repressed, nothing like these kids now with their iPods and WiFi.