Rock of Ages

Tom Cruise in hair-band heaven.

I went into Rock of Ages—an adaptation of a Broadway jukebox musical dedicated largely to hair-band hits of the 1980s—with expectations that barely rose to the level of modest. Whitesnake? Twisted Sister? Tom Cruise? What sort of Hell-brew might we have here?

The opening offered scant reassurance. Perky blonde ingénue Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) is onboard a bus taking her from her native Nowhereville to L.A. to pursue her dream of becoming a singer. Suddenly, in a moment of blinding cliché, she breaks into song—specifically, Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian.” Bad enough. But then the bus driver chimes in, and very soon all the rest of the passengers are singing along, too, and whatever small hope you may have had for this picture begins to wilt.

Sherrie arrives in L.A., meets a cute guy named Drew (Diego Boneta) and gets a job waitressing in a wild Sunset Strip rock club called the Bourbon Room, run by an aging longhair named Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin!). Dennis is being harassed by a priggish moral crusader named Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones!), who’s determined to clean up the Strip. In arrears on his taxes, Dennis is banking on a one-night appearance by wasted rock god Stacee Jaxx (Cruise), who got his start at the Bourbon Room, to save his club.

Somehow, against all disinclination, this limp setup begins to stir your interest. Cruise, with his chest full of tattoos, his pet baboon (who doubles as a bartender) and his odd jeweled codpiece, is very funny. (Told that people are saying he’s succumbed to egomania, he responds, “Have these people even met themselves?”) And the wall-to-wall hits—by Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Journey, and, I’m afraid, Starship—exert a period pull that’s hard to fend off. There’s also a hip-cocking, air-punching Zeta-Jones rendition of Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” that has to be seen to be disbelieved. (Her fearless commitment to this nonsense is stirring in itself—she’s really good.)

There’s still the tepid love story to deal with, of course—what would a cheesy musical be without one? (Sherrie and Drew’s love connection is sundered by a dopey misunderstanding, but they’re reunited in the end.) And the withered flesh of earlier movie tune-fests peeks through the ambient glitter. Patricia’s buzz-kill campaign against Hollywood rock naturally recalls Footloose (in last year’s remake of which Hough starred), and a plot turn into a PG-13 strip club (run by Mary J. Blige!) summons unwelcome memories of the Cher/Christina Aguilera vehicle Burlesque (in which Hough, who strongly resembles Aguilera in both looks and belt-prone vocal delivery, also featured).

Problematic as well is the admirable Paul Giamatti, who, even equipped with a ponytail and ear stud, is too innately likable to be convincing as Cruise’s sleazy manager. And then, of course, there’s the dialogue. “It’s not fame and fortune you’re searchin’ for,” Blige tells the downcast Hough. “It’s love. And love left this place a long time ago.”

But there are also moments of invention so outré you may feel yourself being won over against your will. In one of these, club-owner Dennis and his assistant, Lonny (Russell Brand playing Russell Brand), reveal their long-buried romantic yen for each other in a duet version of REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” And in the movie’s centerpiece scene—a wild sex wrangle involving Cruise and a fetching Rolling Stone reporter (Malin Akerman), set to the swelling strains of Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is”—we are presented with a number of unforgettable things: Cruise sinking down to sing directly to Akerman’s pantie-clad butt, and Akerman, in turn, ripping open Cruise’s black-leather trousers with her teeth.       

It was at this point that I surrendered. However ridiculous Rock of Ages may be, its goofball charm is difficult to resist. However much you may once have scoffed at some of the chart-fodder hits on parade here, in this giddy context they (mostly) pull you in; and Cruise’s stumbly, ’luded-out performance trumps the picture’s abundant absurdities. Unlike so much else in the movie, he actually rocks.

Kurt Loder is a writer living in New York. His third book, a collection of film reviews called The Good, the Bad and the Godawful, is now available. Follow him on Twitter at kurt_loder.

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  • Whiterun Guard||

    If this was redone with black metal songs and was about a girl (portrayed by Will Ferrell) going to Oslo to live her black metal dream; and the entire rest of the cast is played by members of Watain in multiple roles. Then, I would watch it.

    I would gouge out my eyes before I watched any of THIS travesty, no matter what Loder says.

  • JW||

    Yeah, I 'm having trouble thinking about what could ever compel me to want to watch this Cruise-stained drek.

  • sungosang||

    Sounds like a pretty rock solid plan to me dude. Wow.

    www.Anony-Web.tk

  • Ken Shultz||

    Hairbands have been the new disco for a long time now.

    It's still too soon for a revival.

    I still can't forgive. I'll never forget.

  • Corporate Drone||

    *hands you the doll*
    Show me where Bon Jovi touched you. Did he touch you in a no-no place?

  • KDN||

    The entirety of the band grew up in my area. Those who knew them don't really like them. Bag tends to get affixed to the ends of words by members of their generation when referring to JBJ and the gang.

  • Loki||

    I think it's more likely he was roofied by C.C. Deville. Then Brett Michaels, David Coverdale, and all the members of Bon Jovi, Skid Row, and Winger ran a train on him while he was passed out.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I remember when all my fave punk rock bands started going metal. People talk about that time period in hardcore as if they were innovating. They were selling out. Metal was the mainstream, and they were selling out of hardcore big time.

    Even the underground metal bands started selling out. So, the underground goes underground metal? Okay, as long as the show's great and they're comin' to Fenders! But then the underground metal bands started selling out.

    I went to see Celtic Frost one time. There was this huge skinhead dude, I remember, with the graphic from the cover of Morbid Tales tattooed on each of his forearms. Everybody's there to see "Into Crypts of Rays". Celtic Frost came out and did this...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI74tyUefY4

    This skinhead guy keeps pointing to his forearms and screaming "Fuck You!" at the band. Then the bass player started dancing around like a chick, so the skinhead jumps up on stage and lays the bass player out... Things went from bad to worse from there.

    Yeah, I saw underground bands sell out to be like Motley Crue or Bon Jovi. It was like seeing Rod Stewart and the Rolling Stones put out disco records--but much worse.

    There were a lot of great bands that were completely ignored just for being associated loosely in people's minds with hair bands. Most people never heard Kyuss or Sleep until after they were long gone.

    Mainstream metal sucked in a lot of ways. And the people who liked it? They sucked too.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    This skinhead guy keeps pointing to his forearms and screaming "Fuck You!" at the band. Then the bass player started dancing around like a chick, so the skinhead jumps up on stage and lays the bass player out... Things went from bad to worse from there.

    Why you would want to sell out on fans like that I just can't understand. Stupid bands, not wanting cheap ass psycho Nazi-loving fans any more!

  • Ken Shultz||

    Meanwhile, most of the mainstream bands can't even get a gig anymore.

    It's the underground metal bands that are still touring.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Underground anything bands always get work. They're cheap.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You're not getting it.

    There isn't really an underground anymore, but the bands that were underground bands back in the '80s? They're the ones that are still touring!

    Not the mainstream bands from the '80s. Sure, there are a few of them that can still tour, but not most of them.

    When Celtic Frost tours? Believe me, they're not playing the sell out stuff. They're billing themselves as an old thrash/death metal band.

    If you can still make money here 20 years later? It ain't because you can bill yourself as a hair band without any underground roots.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    People talk about that time period in hardcore as if they were innovating. They were selling out. Metal was the mainstream, and they were selling out of hardcore big time.

    Well, sure they sold out--they sold out Madison Square Garden, Giants Stadium, the Cow Palace, the Boston Garden the Summit, the Great Western Forum, and dozens of other arenas.

    When a bunch of junkies have a major label come up to them and say, "Hey, junkies, sign with us and you'll have more drugs and more pussy than you can possibly handle," what would you expect them to do? Say, "No thank you, good sir, the music is more important than drugs or pussy"?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well, sure they sold out--they sold out Madison Square Garden, Giants Stadium, the Cow Palace, the Boston Garden the Summit, the Great Western Forum, and dozens of other arenas.

    The hardcore bands that sold out didn't play any of those places.

    When Suicidal Tendencies went from Institutionalized to Join the Army, they did not start selling out Madison Square Garden.

    They may have sold out CBGBs, but even then, probably not like they had back in '84.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Has Suicidal Tendencies ever been mainstream?

  • Ken Shultz||

    No.

    That's the point, isn't it.

    Suicidal Tendencies can still make money touring.

    Does anybody give a shit what Whitesnake is doing this summer?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Does anybody give a shit what Whitesnake is doing this summer?

    Does anybody give a shit what Suicidal Tendencies is doing this summer?

  • Azathoth!!||

    What at a matinee? That's when I saw them. No one band sold out CBs matinees. Hell, how could you tell it was sold out at a matinee?

  • Cloudbuster||

    This actually sounds delightfully awesome.

  • ||

    Kurt, stop being a dick.

    Either like the movie or not. Are you so insecure that you need to put up a front that the concept is so far beneath your "highbrow sensibilities" that you could only be surprised when you actually liked it?

  • KDN||

    It looks terrible, and I don't have highbrow tastes. Surprise is the only appropriate reaction if it actually is any good.

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    Suddenly, in a moment of blinding cliché, she breaks into song — specifically, Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian.”

    Yeah, I don't think this scene will dethrone the best use of Sister Christian in a movie.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Not even Julianne Hough's tight bod can overcome that awesome scene.

  • tdeaton||

    "It's Cosmo; he's Chinese..."

  • mr simple||

    I was tricked into seeing the musical, having no idea what it was about. It was awful. I know musicals aren't exactly known for their strong plot lines or character development, but whomever wrote this didn't even try. They also skipped the one thing musicals can have going for them: original, clever music. It was unoriginal, uninventive tripe with facile music choices. It was basically a sing along for people who grew up in the 80s. If that's what you want, save yourself the money and time and buy a Time-Warner Monsters of Rock collection or something.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Hey man, is that Freedom Rock?!

  • ||

    Well crank it up, dude!

  • ||

    I saw this on Broadway too. The plot was pretty much every bad cliche... small town girl with stars in her eyes trying to make it big, shy guy who likes her but is too much of a pussy to tell her, there's a "cool" guy that she likes but is really a dick, shy guy of course finds this out but can't tell her. Then of course she finds out he's a dick and shy guy declares his love for her, two secondary characters randomly declare that they're gay for each other and everyone smiles and says that's great and that they are accepting of their alternative lifestyles.

    It really seemed like someone bought "Monster Ballads" off the TV and then decided to see if they could wrap a generic script around it and swindle a bunch of idiots.

  • Kinsey||

    And what's wrong with that, whipersnapper?

    Is there any Journey in the movie? If there's no Journy, I'm not watching it.

  • Kinsey||

    Sorry - meant to reply Simple's "it's basically a sing along for people who grew up in the 80s."

    I always screw up replies in threaded comments.

  • sarcasmic||

    Suddenly, in a moment of blinding cliché, she breaks into song—specifically, Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian.”

    That's when sarcasmic gets up and demands his money back.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm imagining people standing up in the theater holding up their cigarette lighters.

    Make it stop!

  • mr simple||

    As soon as I heard her name, Sherrie Christian, I thought "So they're going to sing Sister Christian and Oh, Sherrie (Steve Perry)." And sure enough they did. I bet it took them about an hour to write this garbage.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, it sounds like that musical with all the Abba music.

    Seems to be a simple formula. Take music people used to love but now love to hate--write a loose script to somehow tie it all together and voila!

    It should be said, too, that this is the music that destroyed the genre.

    The way Bon Jovi destroyed whatever credibility mainstream metal had, Journey destroyed hard rock. "Open Arms" did to hard rock what "You Give Love a Bad Name" did to mainstream Metal.

    Once everybody's little sister gets into it, the game is over. The genre is spent. These people should be hating Journey for what they did to hard rock. They should be hating Bon Jovi.

  • sarcasmic||

    Can't sell a record without a power ballad.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Can't sell a record without a power ballad.

    That was one of the conflicts Axl Rose and Slash had when "Appetite for Destruction" was being produced. Slash didn't want to have anything to do with Sweet Child O' Mine because he thought the song was a joke, but Axl knew if they really wanted to hit the mainstream they'd need a power ballad to do so. And to the skinny psycho's credit, he was right, because the song ended up going #1 and people STILL flip out when the opening riff is played.

  • sarcasmic||

    The skinny psycho ain't skinny no more.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvs.....ounds.html

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I guess cocaine only stimulates your metabolism for so long.

  • ChrisO||

    And the opening guitar figure is a blatant rip-off of Rush's "Xanadu."

  • ||

    Ken

    FOADIAF!

    ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING about the 80's rocked.

    I apologize for NONE of it. The greatest generation in the last 70 years.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Um...I was there.

    And of all the great things about the '80s? None of it had to do with hair bands.

  • Nyarlathotep||

    I was there, too, and I must concur with Ken. There was decent music in the 80s -- X, Gun Club, the Cramps, the Birthday Party, Black Flag, Misfits, to name a few -- but you had to dig for it and sometimes literally get chased down the street for liking it. I proudly hated and despised everything that the hair-farming drongos that comprise this movie stood for ... and I was still in high school.

    When, by college, the so-called Alt.Rock wave arrived in the mainstream, I celebrated the fact I could finally turn on FM radio and not be deluged with an unrelenting torrent of over-compressed, JD No.7-reeking, bandana-tying shit.

  • ||

    Oooooh, dude, you are soooo cool. You listen to music no one else has ever heard of. I want to be you.

    Honestly N, I'm a child of the 80s and I've (proudly) never heard of ONE of the bands you mentioned.

    The 80s were just plain fun. Only to be replaced by rockers moving to Seattle (or Portland) where there are 3 days of sunshine per year, and start singing about suicide and how shitty life is.

    Fuck that. I loved all of it, big hair, leg warmers, Capitalism, spandex, hair bands,John Hughes, Friday Night Videos, Red Dawn and REO Speedwagon.

    Haven't seen the movie, but I'll go just to hear the music.

  • gagster||

    I like vanilla ice cream, which makes me vastly superior to those of you who like chocolate.

    Either that, or different people just have different tastes and one person isn't better than another for it.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Hard rock was already terminal and barely hanging in on life support. It was a mercy, really.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I disagree.

    Bands like AC/DC, Van Halen, etc., were new and exciting once. When that turned into Journey, it was just a matter of time. It lost its vitality and was supplanted by mainstream metal because of it. Then mainstream metal met the same fate for doing the same thing.

    This is the way things work. That they've got both Journey and Bon Jovi in this film is telling. They were both wildly successful, and they both destroyed their respective genres.

  • John||

    AC DC was plenty exciting clear into the 80s.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Of course. But Bon Jovi and Guns and Roses being big--that's circa, what, 1989?

    I remember Guns Roses being a big draw at the MTV music awards, when Nirvana infamously dissed them. that must have been '91 or so. That's probably the moment when it became clear to everybody buy Guns Roses that it was over.

    AC/DC was still vital circa '82, but if they were it was because, like Ozzy, they sort of made the transition from a hard rock act to a metal act.

  • John||

    Bon Jovi broke big in the spring of 87. That is when Living on a Prayer came out. They were reasonably big before that. But they got huge then. Guns And Roses broke in the summer of 88 and then got big into the spring of 89.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    John, "You Give Love a Bad Name" was their first big hit from that album, and it was #1 in 1986.

  • John||

    Late 86 Bolger. Spring of 87 they were huge.

  • radar||

    AC/DC's still awesome today with them all in their 60s. There's something to be said for a band that knows what they do better than anyone, and sticking to it. Being formulaic isn't a problem if you have an incredible formula.

  • John||

    I agree Radar. ACDC never sold out. never did a cheesy ballad. Never tried to anything other than the most kick ass straight 4/4 rock band of all time. You have to respect them for that.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    Still, it would be nice if they would at least sell out enough to allow their music to be sold on iTunes. I don't know when was the last time that I actually bought an album in hard copy.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The way Bon Jovi destroyed whatever credibility mainstream metal had, Journey destroyed hard rock. "Open Arms" did to hard rock what "You Give Love a Bad Name" did to mainstream Metal.

    When was metal really mainstream? After Quiet Riot? Christ, the album that made them famous is nothing more than a bunch of Slade covers. Bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest were never really mainstream until later in the 80s when all the goofy hair metal bands like Bon Jovi and Poison led casual fans to begin listening to the NWOBHM groups that they were imitating. Up to that point, the only people that listened to metal were the anti-social FUCK YOU DAD burnouts. It's hard to believe now, but one of Metallica's hallmarks in its early days was that the band went out of its way to AVOID the mainstream like the plague, and didn't jump on that bandwagon until they realized after releasing the video for "One" that they could make a shitload of money expanding their audience beyond the core fan base of high school stoners.

  • Ken Shultz||

    When Bon Jovi was big, mainstream metal was big. When Motley Crue was doing Dr. Feelgood, mainstream metal was big. When Guns and Roses was big, mainstream metal was big.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    And when Def Leppard was big, mainstream metal was big. What exactly are you trying to say there?

  • Ken Shultz||

    When was metal really mainstream?

    You asked a question.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I think mainstream is by definition big?

    I mean if they're playing your song on WROK HOME OF THE NON-STOP ROCK BLOCK you're not exactly The Atlas Moth.

    Violent Femmes notwithstanding (because they're both an aberration and an abomination).

  • John||

    I love it that Blister in the Sun is now in some computer commercial.

  • ||

    The hero is also "just a city boy... born and raised in South Detroit".

    No, of course I'm not joking...

  • Corporate Drone||

    Kurd Loder; movie troll.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Dennis is being harassed by a priggish moral crusader named Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones!), who’s determined to clean up the Strip

    Apparently the Patricia Whitmore character wasn't even in the original play--the character was written specifically for the movie so there could be a definable villian.

    Which is probably the perfect metaphor for liberals needing to continually create boogeymen to legitimize their own broken psyches. Who other than paranoid liberals would believe that some holy-roller is going to have any stroke to shut down a fucking rock club on the Sunset Strip in the 1980s? Christ, it's like they forgot it was Al Gore and his nannyist wife who led the censorship efforts during that decade.

  • ChrisO||

    That's a good point.

    It's also worth noting that the PMRC was very good publicity for the record business. By the late '80s, if your record didn't have that stupid warning sticker on it, you were clearly falling down on the job.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Here's a good example of what I'm talking about, provided by histrionic queen Alan Ball:

    “My first instinct about going into religion and politics was from watching Michele Bachmann, who thinks she has a direct line to God.” Ball told EW. “What would happen if she became president? A lot of right-wingers would like to see a theocracy in America. From there we thought, ‘What would a vampire theocracy be and how would you justify it? What kind of impact would it have on humans?’”

    Would Alan Ball even know what the fuck a theocracy was if he saw it? Probably not--so he creates this boogeyman, XTIAN BIGOTS UGH, and uses it as a metaphor for vampires.

  • John||

    Tom Cruise is in his late 40s. How fucking ridiculous would someone in their late 40s look running around the hair metal or really any other young rock band scene? This isn't much different than casting Cruise as a high school student. That alone makes the movie ridiculous.

  • ||

    That alone makes the movie ridiculous.

    He actually turns 50 on July 3, which tips it into pathos.

  • sarcasmic||

    I've got the same birthday as him? Fuck, I feel like I should be ashamed or something. Not like it's my fault, but still.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    He did an interview talking about how he had listened to Def Leppard when he was growing up, and I was like, what the fuck? He was already into his 20s when Pyromania was released.

  • John||

    I am thinking he listened to Boston and Styx growing up. What a douche bag.

  • ChrisO||

    Mick Mars of Motley Crue was probably in his late thirties by the time the band hit its peak in the mid-late '80s, but of course his trollish appearance was part of the act.

    I agree that Cruise is way too old for the part he plays. I'm also not sure WTF is going on with casting Alec Baldwin, either, based on what I've seen in the TV commercials for this film.

  • John||

    I was front row at a Crue concert on their first headline tour (the Shoot at the Devil tour). And yeah Mars was a strange looking dude. He looked like a real live vampire. Nickey Six was so stoned his eye balls were sticking out and I am not sure he blinked the entire show.

  • sarcasmic||

    Shoot!
    Shoot!
    Shoot!
    Shoot at the Devil!

  • ChrisO||

    I never did see Motley Crue live--they were a little too "Los Angeles" for me. I was always more into the English bands like Sabbath, Maiden and Priest. Mick Mars actually used the Motley Crue name (with different spellings) for earlier bands going back to the early '70s. There are pictures floating around the Internet of his earlier bands, where he looked like he belonged in Foghat or the Doobie Brothers.

  • John||

    My affinity for them wore off very quickly. I am like you, I like all of the English metal. I saw Maiden and Priest multiple times in the 80s. Great shows every time. That to this day is really the only metal I can listen to. I lost interest in metal when Metallica took over. I loved the British metal because it had great pop hooks and riffs to it. It was really melodic. All of that went away after Metalica. To me it just sounded like some guy garfing up a hairball after that.

  • sarcasmic||

    I still maintain the Megadeth was one of the best shows I've ever seen.

  • John||

    I like Dave Mustain for no other reason that he spent his early career beating the shit out of and terrorizing the whinny little bitches in Metalica.

  • ChrisO||

    It took me awhile to get into thrash metal, but I eventually did. I generally prefer Testament to either Metallica or Megadeth, though I like all three. My heart is still in melodic English metal, though.

  • ChrisO||

    BTW, if you listen to the Judas Priest albums prior to British Steel, that's basically the roots of thrash.

  • John||

    I know Chris. And I like Priest post British Steel. Just can't get thrash.

  • sarcasmic||

    That's funny, because I like (pre-Black Album) Metallica and Megadeth, but I never got into that theatrical British metal. My wife loves it.

  • ChrisO||

    BTW, John, have you ever listened to the band Symphony X? They're a current band out of New Jersey that does "real metal" incredibly well. Their singer, Russell Allen, is in the same league as Ronnie James Dio and Bruce Dickinson.

  • John||

    No I have not. I will look them up. I need something new to listen to.

  • John||

    And I always liked Dio. I think Holy Diver is one of the most under appreciated records of the 80s.

  • ChrisO||

    I recommend Symphony X's albums "The Divine Wings of Tragedy", "V", and their newest one "Iconoclast." The first two of those are slightly prog-metal, and Iconoclast has a slight bit of thrash, but they're all melodic metal and all excellent.

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    I just looked at one of their videos on youtube... good stuff, nice to see a metal singer that can, you know, sing. Most of vocals for the newer metal-ish singers I have heard recently either sound like hip-hop artist with guitars or sound like an angry doberman.

  • sarcasmic||

    I saw Vince open for Van Hagar in the early 90s.
    By then everyone was clean and sober, and Eddie's hip was shot so he stood still when he wasn't hobbling around with a cane.
    At least I got laid after the show.

  • John||

    I always like Sammy. I saw both versions of Van Halen back in the day. The original was the best. But that was only because David Lee Roth was such a lunatic and brought so much energy. Musically they were probably better with Hagar. People forget that after Van Halen II, Van Halen with DLR put out one sucky record after another.

  • ChrisO||

    Disagree. My two favorite VH records are Women and Children First and Fair Warning. Darker and less poppy than the first two. Fair Warning has aged the best out of the entire VH catalog, and I like almost all of it except OU812.

  • John||

    I stand corrected Chris. I am getting old. I forgot about those two. It was Diver Down that was all of the sucky covers. And then 1984 was bad synth pop. You are right, those two are really good. I had completely forgotten about those two records and assumed all the stuff I liked were on the first two records.

  • sarcasmic||

    I am getting old.

    "Damn kids and their crazy music! Get off of my lawn!"

  • ChrisO||

    Diver Down is definitely where the wheels started coming off. They basically had no songs, since they were constantly on the road and were "having a good time, all the time." I've warmed up to 1984 recently, but I didn't like it much at the time. The F.U.C.K. album with Hagar is a great record, by contrast.

  • sarcasmic||

    The F.U.C.K. album with Hagar is a great record, by contrast.

    That was the tour I caught.

  • ||

    I liked Sammy before Van Hagar, but I could never quite force myself to believe VH was still VH without Dave.

  • John||

    I saw them on the Diver Down Tour. It was insane. It was a rock show like you could never have today. The pot smoke filled basketball arena, the lights, the 120 decible sound system, the girls throwing the underwear at the stage. It was a Rock Show. They were fantastic.

    I think the wheels also came off because Eddie just never understood what they were. Van Halen was never a "serious band". They were always a party band. It was a joke. But it was a great joke and only they could tell it. They a real sense of humor. Few bands have that. I always felt that as time went on Eddie was intent on being taken seriously that he lost site of why the band was great to begin with.

  • ChrisO||

    As a musician, I understand Eddie's desire to be taken seriously as a writer and to improve his craft. DLR's vocal abilities were a serious limiting factor on the band's growth potential. I will say that DLR is a better songwriting partner for EVH than Hagar turned out to be. The Van Hagar albums are much more Hagar than EVH, I'd say. In an interview, Hagar said that EVH was very slow to develop new material or add his stamp to Hagar's songs. Since EVH's substance-abuse issues were getting bad, Hagar sort of had to be the grown-up in the band who could make sure the albums got finished.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The F.U.C.K. album with Hagar is a great record, by contrast.

    That one's actually aged really well, given the time period it was released. VH could probably release it today and it would still go platinum.

  • ChrisO||

    I was a hair metal guitarist in the '80s (no apologies, either), and I have absolutely no desire to see this shitfest.

    In fact, it's depressing to see "my" era turned into such a poor caricature. I have to think my parents' generation feels the same way about "Mad Men."

  • ChrisO||

    Oh, and I love "Mad Men", by the way, and am in no way comparing it qualitatively to this Rock of Ages crap. Just pointing out how retro pieces never really capture the truth of the era they depict.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Sure - but contemporary pieces rarely do, either.

  • John||

    My parents felt that way about Grease. They both grew up in the 50s and loathed that movie with a passion.

  • ChrisO||

    Grease is a much better comparison. Thank you. It's basically true that the audience for Grease consisted mostly of boomers who were little children in the '50s. My dad was a '50s greaseball who liked to work on hot rods, but he was far too cool and macho to be prancing around the schoolyard singing.

  • John||

    The 50s were a very sophisticated and explosive time. In many ways much more interesting than the 60s. The boomers just slag on it as Leave It To Beaver as a way of making themselves feel more important.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Over time, I've found that the audience for Grease, like a lot of musicals, is basically women and gay men.

  • ChrisO||

    When the Grease musical came out in the mid '70s, though, I think it was more of a mainstream sensation.

  • John||

    When the movie came out in 78 or 79 it was huge. Every bit as big as Saturday Night Fever. Frankie Valley had a big hit from it. IT was so big it allow Frankie Valley to be relevant in 1979. yeah, it was that big.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Oh, no doubt. I remember my uncle listening to the soundtrack when I was little. But I doubt he'd even admit to liking it today.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    I grew up in the 70s, and Olivia Newton John was beautiful.

  • Voros McCracken||

    Limozeen was the greatest of the hair metal bands.

  • Vapourwear||

    No ways.

    Taranchula, FOREVER!

  • ||

    It was at this point that I surrendered. However ridiculous Rock of Ages may be, its goofball charm is difficult to resist. However much you may once have scoffed at some of the chart-fodder hits on parade here, in this giddy context they (mostly) pull http://www.ceinturesfr.com/cei.....-c-27.html you in; and Cruise’s stumbly, ’luded-out performance trumps the picture’s abundant absurdities. Unlike so much else in the movie, he actually rocks.

  • joy||

    Bad enough. But then the bus driver chimes in, and very soon all the rest of the passengers are singing along, http://www.riemeninnl.com/riem-bally-c-5.html too, and whatever small hope you may have had for this picture begins to wilt.

  • MoreFreedom||

    I've not seen the movie, but reading reviews at imdb.com I think Loder does a fine job. While Drudge reports it's a flop, I expect it is still entertaining, but certainly (based on the non-professional reviews) some will definitely not like it.

    From a libertarian perspective, the mayor's wife's efforts to close the club offer a look at abuse of government power for personal reasons, and an individual's attempt to overcome it and save his club. That is a good plot line, but I'm guessing it takes a back seat to the romance and music.

    The excellent supporting actors apparently steal the show from the leads (this I suspect leads to the poor reviews). It's probably just a good escape for 2 hours, especially if you like the music. Unfortunately (for people like me) it apparently is lacking any theme regarding morality, preferring the entertainment value of the music and romance. I've not seen any reviews commenting on things like the downfall from pride or fame that might be explored with Cruise as the aging rock star, or the downside of being a groupie. Exploring these and other themes is of interest to me as a movie goer. But I can enjoy a good escape as well.

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