Some of you remember the 80s, some of you were born in the 80s, and some of you think the 80s are only good for having trail-blazed the ironic fashion and facial hair you now wear with pride. All of you, however, should know the music of the 80’s. The heart-pounding-hair-band-anthems of that decade immortalized on MTV with girls dressed like prostitutes and men dressed like women. If your love for this time goes deeper than a passing reference to Bret Michaels on a bad VH1 reality show, then the new movie Rock of Ages should not be missed. Let’s hope.
Here’s the thing, I’m sure all of you know by now that Rock of Ages was (and is) a musical on Broadway. Full disclosure: I don’t love Broadway. I go to shows and literally sit in my seat wrangled with anxiety the second I sit down. I don’t just open my Playbill, lean back and enjoy. I sit and wonder how I am going to make it through an entire show without getting bored, or hungry, or having to pee (this doesn’t happen with movies, I’m guessing it’s the access to a blue raspberry Icee, and the fact that no one on screen will notice if I step out to the bathroom).
Everything was different for me when I saw Rock of Ages. There were waiters in the aisle during the entire show, selling liquor and encouraging the audience to party right alongside the cast. I got to pound Coors Light and shoot, what I can only assume was some kind of girly liquor (since it was pink), from a test tube, all while listening to covers of some of the greatest songs from the 80s. That is what Rock of Ages is. It’s a musical that has the audience dancing in the aisles because they are in on the joke (and generally pretty drunk)… it’s performance art / theater, drenched in 80’s nostalgia. And with the exception of still being mad at myself for not making the damn connection between the female lead’s name and the closing song. (I can’t believe I didn’t see it coming…), it was by far the best time I’ve ever had in a musical.
When they bring it to the screen, I don’t know how they will translate and capture that same element of fun, irreverence, and self-deprecating 80’s fabulousness - even with Alec Baldwin being awesome and Tom Cruise once again playing a arrogant-crazy-meglomaniac (I guess trying to strike gold twice after Tropic Thunder). Parts of the latest trailer look a bit like they tried to squeeze the film Chicago out of dancers at the Crazy Girls strip club circa 1986, which worries me. I hope the producers didn't over think it. I hope they didn’t try to make it be more than it needs to be, and I hope they didn't cast Julianne Hough without a thorough audition process.
And if they did do everything I’m afraid they did, I hope they at least find a way to serve me a Jello-shot or two during the movie.