By Jueseppi B.
Rock of Ages is an American musical film directed by Adam Shankman. The film is an adaption of the 2006 Chris D’Arienzo comedy rock/jukebox Broadway musical of the same name. Originally scheduled to enter production in the summer of 2010 for a 2011 release, it eventually started production in May 2011 and was released on June 15, 2012.
The film stars country singer Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta with an ensemble cast including Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Malin Åkerman, Bryan Cranston, with Alec Baldwin and Mary J. Blige. The film featured the music of Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Journey, Poison, Whitesnake, Night Ranger, Twisted Sister, and REO Speedwagon.
In 1987, Sherrie Christian travels from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a famous singer while barback Drew Boley prepares for another night of work at “The Bourbon Room”, a popular nightclub on the Sunset Strip (“Sister Christian“/”Just Like Paradise/”Nothin’ but a Good Time“). While passing The Bourbon, Sherrie’s suitcase, containing her favorite records, is stolen. Seeing the incident, Drew tries to catch the robber, but fails. He comforts Sherrie and, upon learning of her condition, he gets her a job at the Bourbon Room as a waitress.
The club’s owner, Dennis Dupree, and his right-hand man, Lonny Barnett, arrange for Stacee Jaxx, a famous rock star who recently announced he’ll split from his band, Arsenal, to perform with them one last time at the Bourbon Room, hoping that the income will help them with unpaid taxes that are threatning the club. Upon learning of this, Patricia Whitmore, the religious conservative wife of Mayor Mike Whitmore, organizes her church to protest in front of the Bourbon Room, planning to shut them down in an attempt to rid L.A. of its “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll” image (“Hit Me With Your Best Shot“). Meanwhile, Drew and Sherrie go to a used records store, where they both confess their dreams of becoming famous (“Juke Box Hero“/”I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll“). Drew decides to write a song for Sherrie. They later have a date at the Hollywood sign, where they slowly begin to fall in love (“Waiting for a Girl Like You“).
At the night of the show, Dennis learns that their opening act has cancelled, and Sherrie convinces him to use Drew and his band, Wolfgang Von Colt. Drew confesses his feelings for Sherrie and they kiss (“More than Words“/”Heaven“). Meanwhile, Jaxx’s manager, Paul Gill, schedules an interview between Jaxx and Constance Sack, a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, before the concert. She mentions the rumors that he’s difficult to work with and was actually kicked out of Arsenal, but Jaxx claims his life is much more complicated than it appears (“Wanted Dead or Alive“). He then seduces her, and they almost have sex (“I Want to Know What Love Is“) when one of his arrogant comments convinces her that it would be a mistake and causes her to leave.
A stressed Jaxx spots Sherrie and asks her to bring him a bottle of whiskey from his limo. When she returns she nervously tells him she’s a fan, and accidentally spills the drink on his pants. While Drew is waiting to go on, he sees Jaxx putting on a new pair of pants while talking to Sherrie. Mistakenly assuming they had sex, Drew uses all of his anger and rage to fuel his performance and is rewarded with thunderous applause (“I Wanna Rock“). He then angrily breaks up with Sherrie while Jaxx performs (“Pour Some Sugar on Me“). Heartbroken, she quits her job at the Bourbon Room and leaves. He decides to go after her, but is stopped by Gill, who watched Wolfgang Von Colt’s performance and believes he can make Drew famous. Drew agrees and leaves with Gill, who also takes the money raised by the show from Dennis, leaving him more endebted than before.
Sherrie struggles to find a job (“Harden My Heart“) and befriends Justice Charlier, the owner of a local strip club called “The Venus Club”. Justice sees something in Sherrie, and takes her under her wing, allowing her to work in the club as a waitress (“Shadows of the Night” / “Harden My Heart“). Meanwhile, Drew signs with a record company while Dennis searches for a way to save his club (“Here I Go Again“). Later at the Bourbon Room, Dennis and Lonny declare their romantic feelings for one another and become a couple (“Can’t Fight This Feeling“).
At the Venus Club, Sherrie doesn’t make enough to support herself and is forced to become a stripper. Justice teaches her the essentials of being an exotic dancer while Drew learns that he must change his rock star image into that of a boy band (“Any Way You Want It“). A depressed Drew visits the Hollywood sign, where he finds Sherrie, who reveals she didn’t sleep with Jaxx because she was in love with Drew, and is going back to Oklahoma. Drew tries to stop her, but fails. Sherrie and Drew lament the situation while Jaxx realizes he has feelings for Constance after reading the article she wrote about him (“Every Rose Has Its Thorn“). Drew returns to the used record store where he first asked Sherrie out and finds her previously stolen records (each one has her name signed on the cover). He leaves them at the Venus Club alongside a card telling her that things once lost can be found again. Meanwhile, Jaxx is horrified to learn that Gill stole the proceeds from the previous show and fires him.
That night, before Jaxx’s first solo show at the Bourbon, Patricia and her supporters square off against Jaxx’s enthusiasts, led by Lonny (“We’re Not Gonna Take It“/”We Built This City“). When Jaxx arrives, he recognizes Patricia and tells her that she “filled out well” after touching her breast. Lonny then recognizes Patricia as a partially nude woman in one of the covers of Arsenal’s old records and exposes her. It is revealed that Patricia only organized the protest against Jaxx because he never called her back after a one-night stand. Outraged, the remaining church ladies abandon the protest. Jaxx enters the club and finds Constance, who is there to cover his first solo show. Jaxx professes his love for her by having sex with her in the bathroom. He also has his security return the stolen money to Dennis, who uses it to pay the taxes and save the club.
Drew’s boy band begins to open the show, but Drew leaves the stage when he spots Sherrie in the audience. The two reconcile and Drew fires Gill, claiming that rock n’ roll will never die. Sherrie then reunites Wolfgang Von Colt for the opening act, where Drew performs the song he wrote for her (“Don’t Stop Believin’“). Jaxx hears the song from the bathroom and, recognizing real talent in Drew, joins in.
Shortly thereafter, Drew, Sherrie, and Jaxx, who have formed a new band, perform the song together in an arena, in front of a large crowd that includes Dennis, Lonny, Justice, a pregnant Constance, and Patricia, now divorced from Mayor Whitmore and back to her rock n’ roll persona.
How’s THAT for a plot summary??
- Julianne Hough as Sherrie Christian, the female protagonist who works as a waitress at The Bourbon Room but wants to be a singer.
- Diego Boneta as Drew Boley, the male protagonist who works as a barback at The Bourbon Room but dreams of being a rock star.
- Russell Brand as Lonny Barnett, the manager of The Bourbon Room and a close friend of Dennis.
- Paul Giamatti as Paul Gill, Stacee’s manipulative manager.
- Catherine Zeta-Jones as Patricia Whitmore, the main antagonist who wants to shut down The Bourbon Room. Replaces the character of Hertz from the musical.
- Mary J. Blige as Justice Charlier, the owner of The Venus Club.
- Malin Åkerman as Constance Sack, a Rolling Stone reporter who falls for Stacee.
- Alec Baldwin as Dennis Dupree, the owner of The Bourbon Room and a close friend of Lonny.
- Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx, the lead singer of Arsenal and Drew’s idol.
- Bryan Cranston as Mike Whitmore, the Mayor of Los Angeles. Replaces the character of Franz from the musical. The character is fictional; the Mayor of Los Angeles in 1987 was Tom Bradley.
- James Martin Kelly as Doug Flintlock, L.A power broker, is an antagonist who backs Mayor Whitmore in the interest of closing the Bourbon to build condos. Flintlock’s character was created for the film.
- Will Forte as Mitch Miley, a reporter covering Patricia’s protests.
- Anya Garnis as Destiny, one of the strippers at the Venus Club.
- Kevin Nash as Stacee Jaxx’s bodyguard.
- Constantine Maroulis (the musical’s original Drew) as a Record executive; sings part of “Any Way You Want It”.
- Kidus Henok
- Sebastian Bach and Debbie Gibson appeared during “We Built This City”/”We’re Not Gonna Take It”.
- Nuno Bettencourt
- Porcelain Black as a Hair metal singer
- Kevin Cronin
After the success of the original Off-Broadway production, the film rights were sold to Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema. Filming began at Revolution Live, a small music venue in Fort Lauderdale, FL. There was also filming in a Dania Beach Boomers. On July 18, filming took place at the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida for a concert scene with “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Wanted Dead or Alive”.
In June 2011, a full six-block section of N.W. 14th Street at North Miami Avenue in Downtown Miami was decorated as an early 1980s version set of the Hollywood, California Sunset Strip complete with the Whisky-a-Go-Go, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Tower Records, Angelyne Billboard along with other landmarks.
Tom Cruise played Stacee Jaxx in the film. Shankman knew Cruise was in when he heard him on the first go around of his voice lesson, confirming he “actually has a fantastic voice”. Cruise, since, had been singing five hours a day to prepare for his work as musician Stacee Jaxx. “It’s this brilliant mashup, it seems, of Axl Rose, Keith Richards and Jim Morrison“, Shankman said of what to expect from Cruise.
On February 14, 2011, it was announced that Mary J. Blige had signed on to play Justice Charlier in the film. On March 3, 2011, it was confirmed that Julianne Hough (of the 2011 remake of Footloose) would play the role of Sherrie, Drew’s love interest. On March 6, 2011, it was confirmed that Alec Baldwin would play the role of Dennis Dupree in the film. On March 24, 2011, it was announced that Paul Giamatti would be in the film, playing the manager of Stacee Jaxx.
Pretty Little Liars star Diego Boneta was confirmed to play the male protagonist, Drew Boley, on April 5, 2011. Not wanting an older actor to act like he is 23, Shankman thought it better to go as authentic as possible, “and Diego is absolutely that. He is [a] kid who came to Los Angeles with a dream and who sings and has an amazing voice, and drive. And he’s also as honest and sweet as you can possibly make him and he’s authentically the age. It creates a piece of something on screen that I don’t have to fabricate.”
Of Boneta’s audition, Shankman said, “It’s that feeling you get when you realized you’ve discovered lightning in a bottle. It reminds me of when Zac Efron auditioned for Hairspray, Channing Tatum for Step Up and Liam Hemsworth auditioned for The Last Song. When the guy walks in, the guy walks in!” Shankman also said he didn’t know that Boneta was a Latin music star until after he auditioned, “I have since seen him on stage and in his concerts, and he totally owns the room”, Shankman said. Constantine Maroulis (Drew Boley from the musical) made a cameo appearance in the film like Ricki Lake did for Hairspray. On April 13, Russell Brand was confirmed to portray Lonny.
Both Anne Hathaway and Amy Adams declined to play a journalist who interviews Jaxx during the song “Wanted Dead or Alive” and is easily seduced by him. The two declined due to scheduling conflicts, with Hathaway filming The Dark Knight Rises and Adams filming Man of Steel. Catherine Zeta-Jones joined the cast on April 20, and portrayed an original character added to the story line. The unnamed character is described as “the Villainess of the movie” who “wants to shut down rock’n roll in the great city of Los Angeles”. On May 1 Bryan Cranston joined the cast as the Mayor of LA, who is the husband of Catherine Zeta-Jones‘ character. Malin Åkerman completed the cast when she was added on May 3, 2011.
Singer Porcelain Black made a cameo in the film, playing a 1980s hair metal singer. She performed one of the sole original tracks for the film, “Rock Angels”. ”Rock Angels” was written by Adam Anders and Desmond Child. Professional wrestler Kevin Nash played Stacee’s bodyguard.
The film is distributed by New Line Cinema under the rule of Warner Bros., and was released theatrically on June 15, 2012. The first official trailer was released on December 14, 2011, attached to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
The film has received mixed reviews from critics. Currently, the film has a 43% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 161 reviews, but a 66% “liked it” audience rating based on 28,200 reviews. The critic consensus being “Its exuberant silliness is almost enough to make up for its utter inconsequentiality, but Rock of Ages is ultimately too bland and overlong to justify its trip to the big screen.”
|Directed by||Adam Shankman|
|Produced by||Adam Shankman
|Screenplay by||Justin Theroux
|Based on||Rock of Ages by
Mary J. Blige
and Tom Cruise
|Music by||Adam Anders
|Editing by||Emma E. Hickox|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.
New Line Cinema
|Running time||123 minutes|
- ‘Rock of Ages’ needs more Cruise control | 2 stars (kansascity.com)
- ‘Rock of Ages’ review: Rockin’ the ’80s forever (sfgate.com)
- Film Reviews: Movie review: Rock Of Ages (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Review: ‘Rock of Ages,’ a Musical Starring Tom Cruise – New York Times (movies.nytimes.com)
Filed under: Celebs & Fame, Joy & Happiness, Movie Reviews, Music, News, Videos Tagged: | Adam Shankman, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Def Leppard, Diego Boneta, Mary J Blige, Paul Giamatti, Rock of Ages