Who Was at the Midnight Showing of Rock of Ages?
"I hate Tom Cruise, but I'll still see it for the music." - My 49-year-old mother when discussing a Rock of Ages commercial.
If that wasn't enough to make me interested in seeing the movie musical-cum-Broadway take on the late '80s Sunset Strip, then the thought of discovering who exactly would attend a midnight opening of said movie was more than enough.
The answer to that question? Less than 20 people. I arrived to the showing early in hopes of talking to some Rock of Ages super fans, and the few who were there were more than kind enough. A couple in their thirties was taking in the film because they thought there would be fewer kids at this showing, and they really wanted to hear the music from that time. The guy said his favorite band was Motley Crüe.
There is a father with his two sons, who like midnight movies and also talked about how awesome Motley Crüe is. Two young ladies in their early twenties are here because the movie "looks entertaining," and they "had no plans." I remember being 21 and I don't think I ever thought to myself, "There's nothing to do, let's go to a midnight showing of a musical!"
We get the usual plot line: The pre-fab love story where a small-town girl lives in a lonely world, catches a bus to L.A., and is welcomed to the jungle by a black hole of charisma with good hair. These crazy kids fall in love, out of love and back in, all set to power ballads that were made by men who wore pants two sizes two small and who tried to snort up Pablo Escobar's entire supply.
Tom Cruise is of course the big get, and plays "superstar" Stacy Jaxx with the same reckless abandon that garnered him critical praise in Magnolia and Tropic Thunder. In fact, Cruise's Jaxx feels like the perfect amalgamation of those two roles, except this time around he has a gun-toting monkey named Hey Man instead of Bill Hader as a sidekick. Catherine Zeta-Jones, who was so fantastic in Chicago, feels underutilized as a Tipper Gore stand-in. Bryan Cranston shows up as Zeta-Jones' mayor husband but goes campy with the role and spends most of the time tied up with rosaries and getting spanked. Poor Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand sing a bit but mostly seem like they did the film because of alimony payments. I'm still not sure why Mary J. Blige was in this, and I cringed every time Paul Giamatti showed up. That man should be past these types of roles.
Should you see Rock of Ages? Well, if you're like the two Dallas PD officers I saw standing in the corner singing along to Jefferson Starship, the answer is a resounding yes. If you are going solely to see the camp, just make sure you do as I did and fill your flask all the way to the top.