I have never understood why my husband gets so worked up over comic book movies. He hated ‘Daredevil’ which is probably one of his favorite characters; I just assumed it was because of Ben Affleck. When ‘Spider Man 3’ came out, he talked for weeks, and still to this day, about how upset he was in that movie. I again assumed it was because of Kirsten Dunst. ‘Star Wars Episodes 1, 2, and 3’ almost ended him. To this day he still flies into red faced Star-Wars-rants (Dear Disney, I beg you to fix Star Wars for the sake of my marriage). Turns out he hated the way the stories were told, specifically, the way the story was changed into something he didn’t recognize. I never really understood the rage until tonight. Dear ‘Rock of Ages’ the movie; I AM RAGING AT YOUR EXISTENCE!
Back story, I love the Tony nominated musical ‘Rock of Ages.’ I saw it last year in London’s West End (fancy, I know) and then again when it came to Omaha later this past spring. I even drug my husband along who claims to hate musicals, although I will debate this because I am pretty sure one of his favorite movies is ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, which correct me if I am wrong, IS A MUSICAL (editor’s note* I love classic musicals, the key word being “classic.” Wife’s note: So then by that definition it looks like we will be seeing the classic ‘Les Miserables’ come December.) Boom!
Anyway, ‘Rock of Ages’ takes place in 1987 on the Sunset Strip, and is basically about a small town girl (Sherrie, obviously with an ‘ie.’ Ending a name with a ‘y’ is so overrated and surprise, she becomes a stripper later) who meets a big city wannabe rocker (Drew, from Detroit) in LA’s most famous rock club and they eventually fall in love. Most of the songs in the musical are 80’s hair-metal hits aka guilty pleasures, including hits from Poison, Bon Jovi, Asia and Journey to name a few.
The musical never takes itself too seriously. It’s just fun and it is all narrated by a chubby sexually-charged mulleted man named Lonny. So obviously I am all in. Words cannot express my joy when I heard the musical was being turned into a movie. Bonus, Russell Brand (who I’m oddly attracted too, I know, right) would be playing the part of Lonny. Perfect casting in every way. Even the first trailer for the movie had my hopes up. It looked cheesy, fun, and perfect. Things came up and somehow I never managed to see it in the theater, I blame my husband who refused to go. One look at the preview and he turned, laughed at me and uttered, “Yeah, I am not seeing that piece of shit.” Rude.
I defended the preview many o’ times to him saying things like “Oh, I am not worried”, “Sure, Tom Cruise will make a great Stacee Jaxx (the lead singer of the band Arsenal who is going solo pretty much because he’s a certified rock-star asshat in the vein of Axl Rose or Brett Michaels) and “Well, I mean, at least it will be fun.”
When the bad reviews started rolling in I defended the movie again. The only other thing I passionately defend this much is Pink (the singer, who my husband has a strong hate for). I’m not getting into it here but she has an amazing voice live and puts on a show. So you go girl!
Months had past and I figured it’s about time the movie should be available on one of our five streaming services (seriously, we have five streaming services, I can’t even tell you why and what they are). Score! I found it on Apple TV and after a Sunday Funday including a morning run, spiked hot chocolates at Krug Park, ‘Skyfall’ and dinner with the in-laws, I couldn’t wait to come home and watch ‘Rock of Ages.’ My husband during this time was in the other room editing his podcast, which he claims was in protest, whatever.
From the very first scene, I knew it would be different. Of course they have to change certain things. BUT THEY CHANGED EVERYTHING!!
What was missing you ask, oh just everything amazing or funny about the original musical. Below is a list of changes that I hated, and I apologize if you haven’t seen the musical or the movie this probably means nothing to you but I’m mad!
Drew pointing to his hand when he tells Sherrie he is from Detroit, Michigan. THIS SETS THE TONE OF DREW AND THE PLAY SO IT OBVIOUSLY MAKES SENSE TO LEAVE IT OUT!
LONNY. Not having Lonny narrate the play is like the Lord of the Rings without Gandalf (it pained me so much to write that, but sigh, it works here).
Alec Baldwin as Dennis Dupree, the owner of the Bourbon Room (the rock club on the strip) and Lonny’s BFF. It was just Alec Baldwin wearing a terrible wig trying not to be too Alec Baldwin-y. I would even go as far to say it was embarrassing. Also, DENNIS DIES IN THE PLAY (sorry spoiler), come on, that is one of the funniest bits and you leave it out. Bitch, please!
STACEE JAXX. Ugh, where to even begin. In the musical he’s a drunk, egotistical, sex-addict, rock star who sleeps with anything. Oh yes, anything, including a LLAMA. In the movie they made Stacie Jaxx a decent person who travels with a monkey and SPOILER ALERT reunites with Arsenal at the end of the movie and settles down with a reporter that had a two minute scene in the original musical. SO MUCH HATE FOR EVERYTHING I JUST TYPED. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Stacie is supposed to be a washed up drunk that hits on a teenager and flees to Mexico to sing a verse of Don’t Stop Believing and hooks up with a llama. Not fathers a child and gets sober. I HAVE SO MUCH HATE I AM RAGE TYPING RIGHT NOW. I AM TYPING WITH A PURPOSE.
Paul Giamatti singing. Remember when Pierce Brosnan “sang” in ‘Mamma Mia’ (unless you are a gay man or have a vagina, then you probably don’t but whatever, it was bad)? Yeah, this might be worse.
And what about the missing and new characters. Missing where Regina, Franz and his dad. They play a huge role in the plot to save/clean up the Sunset Strip and also have one of the best (spandex outfits!!) songs in the play. In the movie version they are nowhere to be found but a new character, the Mayor’s wife (the mayor was in the musical for maybe one scene sans wife), played by Catherine Zeta-Jones who is the one who is trying to clean up the strip for decency reasons. In a “what a twist!” moment, she turns out to be a former Stacee Jaxx groupie and was just out for revenge. Dumb! I can’t even make myself type anymore, SO MUCH HATE RIGHT NOW.
In the words of Twisted Sister, “We’re Not Gonna Take It! No! We ain’t gonna take it!” That is how I feel about this movie adaptation; I am not going to take it. In fact, it doesn’t even count. So, I apologize for the rage. I also apologize for ever thinking my husband was overreacting about a bad comic book adaptation. I have just experienced it, and I understand. I totally understand. Now, I am going to go watch ‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never’ (currently available on Netflix, you’re welcome) to cleanse my palate. You know it had to be bad if I am calling on the higher powers of Bieber-fever to settle me down.
Ohh, and before I forget, the trailer for ‘World War Z’ looks NOTHING like the book. RAGE!!!!!!!! Which I admit I haven’t finished because it’s too scary (it’s part of my “five-year-reading-plan”; it’s been two years and counting) although I lie to my husband and tell him I just don’t like it.
Kacie Baum is a professional partier, mother of two pugs, and the wife of Matt Baum. She tolerates the constant presence of the Two-Headed Nerd in her home each week. She did not write this bio. Pre-THN entries of Girl Meets Nerd can be found here.