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?
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.