Wednesday, May 23, 2012

For Those About To Rock, Go Fuck Yourselves

Chances are no matter where you live you're used to being inundated with ads for really crappy-looking upcoming movies you have no desire to see. If you happen to live in Los Angeles, though, that pummeling is positively inescapable, since this place is ground zero for the unholy work of the film business's promotional machine. The last several weeks saw every billboard, bus bench and ten-story building in sight turned into the equivalent of an odious carnival barker, screaming his lungs out in an effort to get somebody, anybody to see Battleship.

And now that that movie has, well, sunk -- it's time to move onto the next high-profile piece of shit that Hollywood knows it's going to have to ram down the throat of the public if it wants to turn a bad greenlight decision into some kind of a profit.

That movie would be Rock of Ages.

The promotion for it around town right now is simply impossible to avoid. Everywhere you look, there's Tom Cruise shirtless in a fucking cowboy hat, fur coat and sunglasses; an uncharacteristically prudish-looking Catherine Zeta-Jones brandishing a handmade, PMRC-style anti-rock sign; Russell Brand looking like Russell Brand, and the rest of the large and otherwise indistinguishable cast of this Broadway-to-Hollywood nightmare. I've already mentioned here how I'd rather have a screwdriver rammed through my head than see Rock of Ages, but I have to throw the question out there: Who is this movie for?

No, really.

Millennials don't care about Poison, Def Leppard and -- oh dear God -- Foreigner (it's one of the few admirable attributes you can ascribe to that particular generation). There isn't a latter-day metalhead in the world who honestly wants to see a silly Broadway musical, let alone one that features Tom Cruise doing Glee-ified versions of 80s metal songs in leather pants (once again nicely putting to rest all those gay rumors). Anyone with a hint of dignity who's still somewhat enamored of what's possibly the single darkest period in rock history isn't going to be caught dead anywhere near this thing. Hell, most people who remember that era are still embarrassed they ever kind of liked Poison in the first place; it took two full decades of listening to Radiohead and Miles just to constitute an appropriate penance for our transgressions against decent music and make us feel whole again. So, again, who's it for?

The best I can come up with is 40-something suburbanite women; the ones you never wanted to get anywhere near when they were girls listening to this shit unless it held the promise of easy sex; the ones who've gone on to cling desperately to their youth through the dreck their daughters like (see: Twilight) and soulless, cloyingly nostalgic faux-celebratory horseshit they can see with their equally tragic girlfriends, like Rock of Ages. In other words, the women who still keep Bon Jovi inexplicably and unforgivably away from the state fair circuit after all these years.

I just can't see that crowd being enough to make this movie a success -- but what the hell do I know? As H.L. Mencken famously said, nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. And nobody understands that better than Hollywood.


Anonymous said...

This should be posted as companion piece to your fawning confession of a deep and abiding love for Billy Joel.


Marc McKenzie said...

Chez, the best thing I can say is...don't see it. Just shut it out of your mind. Focus on PROMETHEUS instead, since that is certainly a film that will be worth seeing (hopefully).

I'm not bothering to work myself up into a lather over ROCK OF AGES (and whether Cruise is gay or not--I honestly do not f***ing care at this point). If people see it, great. That's their choice. I'm already worn out from the anger I felt of JOHN CARTER's mauling by the critics who ran in with the long knives and basically took that film out back and gave it the business for no other reason than they were pissed off about its budget (and the fact that they couldn't even bother to Google the film's literary roots).

I'm not bothering to see ROCK OF AGES. I'm not worrying or caring about it. I'm moving on.

But I loved the rant anyway. Definitely worth the read.

Just my 2-cents.

Michael said...

I cannot disagree with a single word of your assessment.

FabMax said...

Sadly, I can, Micheal.

You should take a look at the comment sections for articles about Rock of Ages over at Pajiba.

Nostalgia is a very powerful force. It's frightening, really.

ntx said...

Classic Rock: The baby boomer case of chlamydia that just won't clear up.

Anonymous said...

I know, I can't wait to see this movie too.

Busayo said...

So they're releasing this movie when 'The Avengers' is deity-smashing its way across global theatres, and 'The Dark Knight Returns' and 'Brave' are preparing to do the same in just a matter of weeks?

Yeah, good luck with that.

namron said...

Is this about the Rock of Ages target audience or The View's?

Anonymous said...

I thought we were supposed to mellow out when we aged. WOW!

I don't "inhale" anymore, but maybe you should consider it.

There are bigger issues out in this world that are actually worth the rant.

Chez said...

Blow me.

Mary Beth said...

My friend Stacy and I go see terrible musical movies together. They don't make that many! We've seen Burlesque and Footloose, then we hit a bar. Obviously, we're pretty stoked about Rock of Ages.

It's kind of like how some people get turned on by car accidents. Not that I also don't get turned on by car accidents but you get the point. Car accidents don't have Tom Cruise singing Bon Jovi.

So there you go.

Except that Foreigner is AWESOME. Cold as Ice!

Dr. Squid said...

It's the same crowd that gives American Idol its ratings and its votes; why else do you think White Guy With Guitar has won 5 straight and 6 of the last 7?

rented_car said...

Anyone who quotes Mencken is worth a look. The movie...not so much.

Anonymous said...

80's nostalgia is a very big deal. Go look at the line at the House of Blues the next time Steel Panther plays. It goes around the block, and it's all 20-somethings. Kids today love 80's music.

MJG said...

Two points:
Tom Cruise in James O'Kiefe drag ??
The hype inversion principle - the larger the advertising budget, the shittier the movie.

George said...

So I actually went to see ROA on its national tour last year (when Constantine M. (American Idol) was on it). No, I didn't pay. The firm I was working at took us, and we then got to meet and drink with the cast, which was quite fun.

That said, although most of the people with me were not necessarily the target audience (24-30 on average), we enjoyed it -- probably because it was on stage and not, you know, a Tom Cruise movie. I don't think this version, however, will be worth it. In fact, I'd rather see Tom Cruise jump on a couch again.