Rock of Ages
Part of my resistance to the grunge thing, and, frankly, I enjoy much of the music of that era far less than the aquanetted 80's, was they they just took themselves so damn seriously. Some bands moved beyond it, but I don't think Pearl Jam (who I really like) would still be around and popular if they continued acting like what they were doing was SO. DAMN. IMPORTANT.
It's not. Be it Pour Some Sugar On Me or Smells Like Teen Spirit, it's all 3 minute pop songwriting. It's dumb, any way you slice it.
Now, on the good side, Rock Of Ages embraces that sense of fun. On the bad side, outside of Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx, there's really not much else worth seeing here. It's a truly awful, awful movie. The painful thing is you can see something worthwhile in there.
Adam Shankman's idea of The Sunset Strip in 1987 seems to have emerged wholly from watching people play Guitar Hero. His main qualifications for making this film are about having worked on musicals. Rock Of Ages didn't need a musical director, it needed somebody who understood what was happening in LA at the time. It needed Penelope Spheeris (The Decline of Western Civilization, Part 2: The Metal Years, Wayne's World), or even Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Fast Times at Ridgemont High). It didn't need somebody who'd cast Diego Boneta, who's voice is far, far, far too legit to sing anything in this movie (his take of Twisted Sister's I Wanna Rock is beyond cringe-worthy), and who's version of "looking rock and roll" is a less-threatening Jonas Brother.
The only saving grace here is in the supporting cast. Cruise really is kind of amazing, a truly off-the-wall turn, and a testament of taking an actor and training them to sing what's needed. He knew he was singing rock, so that's what he did, and if you think his Pour Some Sugar On Me sounds a bit like an overly studio creation...well, I just think you need to re-listen to the original, which is the same thing.
The film does stray further into the Disney "standard" fairy-tale mode than any other PIXAR film has. There were some choices made about the Queen, and her performance, in the second half of the film that I think might've been more powerful if played far more realistic. That, however, is a matter of taste. The film is magical and exquisitely made. You can't say it's "bad," it's ridiculous to even hedge in that direction.
PIXAR is almost review-proof now. You're going to see this, child, adult, whatever. We all have built up such a tremendous well of belief in what PIXAR does that you simply have to see what they've done this time.
It think it's wonderful. I was in tears during the final moments. It's so good I don't even want to give any of it away, so excuse the briefness of the review.
I can't ask for anything more.
And the short before the film is wonderful, too.