Blasphemy, Tom Cruise and how to debase one art form with another

Motley Crue

“Ohhhhh what a beautiful moooorrrrnnnninggggg…”
Yep, doesn’t work..

So a movie was released in theaters this past weekend called Rock of Ages, you might have heard of it. This film seems to be based on a musical about hair metal in 1980’s Los Angeles.

Read that statement again:

This film seems to be based on a musical about hair metal in 1980’s Los Angeles.

If you don’t find something wrong with that statement, our value systems are drastically at odds.

I first caught on to this abomination in the local movie theater.  A cardboard setup with a dumpy fake guitar was attached to a wall.  Being an avid Rock Band gamer, it caught my eye.  I didn’t even know it was about a movie, I thought it was some dumb arcade game that had broken down.

Then I saw the trailer.  By god, did I want to tear my eyes out of their sockets.  What the FUCK is wrong with the world?!?  Has it been long enough that movie producers think that they can cast Tom Cruise as Bret Michaels, Russell Brand as Nikki Sixx, and Diego Boneta as Creed front-man Scott Stapp’s father? See for yourself. This is not okay.

The 1980’s metal scene was a complex melting pot, but basically boiled down to the best bands shedding the LSD induced yuppie disco/new wave rock music movement and tearing faces off with their no holds barred shredding and enthusiasm towards wrecking havoc.  There is nothing glamorous about this lifestyle.  True, partying on the Los Angeles strip when Mötley Crüe was tearing up the town might have been awesome, but it wasn’t for the whole family to enjoy.  It was a raw, bloody, gritty, dangerous environment free from oversight and glorious to behold.  However, my view on this type of glory vastly differs from the Broadway-turned-Hollywood abomination of Rock of Ages.

Consider this way of looking at the movie from Zach Baron: (emphasis mine)

Rock of Ages attempts to appeal to the childhood nostalgia of audiences in the 25-54 age demographic in the same way that Battleship and MIB3 and any number of other summer blockbusters spawned from preexisting brands do, though the ongoing assumption that people will just continue to care about Journey until the end of time remains chilling. More chilling is the way Rock of Ages treats the music of that era, which is to divorce it from any sense of context or intended meaning and instead use it to play Mad Libs. I have no particular reverence for Starship or Twisted Sister, but the scene in Rock of Ages in which two mobs face off by singing “We Built This City” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” at one another is somehow deeply depressing. (Imagine a version of this film in which a depressed group of Nirvana devotees chanting the lyrics to “Lithium” are brought back from the brink by a chorus of people singing LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends.”) It makes you feel like the destiny of every song you ever loved is to become a sock puppet in a movie musical starring Tom Cruise.

Besides being incredibly well written, Baron strikes true on what hits my spleen when I think about the existance of this filthy animal.  My greatest fear is that all those youth Hairspray fans, who don’t remember when using hairspray was cool, watch Rock of Ages and get the wrong idea about what those times were really like.  I predict that they’ll go back to listening to their auto-tuned copies of the soundtrack, and when they hear the real thing they’ll squeal and exclaim, “omg reallyz i has that song on my iPhone, but MY version sounds wayyyy better” in which case I will punch that little twerp in the shoulder and turn Kiss up even louder.

About: Esteban

Esteban is the Editor in Chief of RantingEsteban.com. Check out his page on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @RantingEsteban, or send him an email.

Leave a Reply