Guest Blog: No shame here. No shame there. No shame in the new Tom Cruise rock musical
"Rock of Ages" nails it!
Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx is high octane sex on guitar. Malin Akerman (Constance Sack) as a reporter from Rolling Stone matches Cruise with the passion that only can come from connecting with a rock 'n' roll superstar.
I know because that’s how it was when I met Rod Stewart.
We were at a party in the Hollywood Hills when Rod sent DJ J.J. Jackson over to invite me to meet his entourage on the other side of the room. Moments later we were at the private club On the Rox, above the Roxy. When I say we, there were five other women waiting for "the word" from the rock idol. I sat in the corner of the banquet telling myself not to look eager — and to my delight Rod came to me.
"Would ya like ta come by m'place for a drink?" Rod said.
"I have a toy poodle who hasn't had dinner yet."
"Well, let's fetch doggie, then," he said as the five blonde women disappeared.
As I jumped into my yellow Fiat convertible, he got into his white Lamborghini and I led him and his manager, Tony Toon, to my apartment on La Cienega where I picked up my toy poodle, Tutu, and his can of dog food.
When we arrived at his estate on Carolwood Drive, Tony Toon went to his room and Rod and I went to his room, with Tutu following us up the spiral staircase wagging his tail. Rod immediately showed Tutu to Rod's salle de bains. One thing led to antoher, and we dated for up to a year, with Tutu always invited along on our dates.
Rod and I remain friends to this day. When he performs in Philadelphia, my husband and I are his guests and are given front-row seats. One song he introduced by saying," This one's for you, Carole." And he sang Maggie May.
No shame here. No shame there. No shame in "Rock of Ages," based on the hit Broadway musical. The passion mounts as the music becomes more intense the further into the film you climb. And I say climb literally. This film has a slow, ho=hum, start, but fasten your seat belts ‘cause it’s a rocky road featuring the music of Def Leopard, Foreigner, Journey, Twisted Sister, Poison,Quarter Flash, Joan Jett but all the singing is done by the can’t–top-this cast.
The film begins with an innocent Julienne Hough (Sherree Christian) getting off a bus in Hollywood from bumpkinville and her suitcase is stolen.She meets Diego Bonneta (Drew Boley), who arranges for her to have a job as a waitress in a club modeled after the Whisky a Go-Go on Sunset Strip titled the Bourbon Room. What else? They sing to each other, and for a minute I thought I was in a "Glee" sequel.
Then the energetic British beauty Catherine Zeta Jones (Patricia Whitmore) gets the ball rollin’ singing "I'm Not Gonna Take It" in a church to protest Stacee Jaxx’s rockin' and rollin' his outrageous sex appeal. As the mayor’s wife, she is determined to silence what she refers to as “sex, hateful music, and sex,” or immoral rock 'n' roll.
At first I thought she was going to steal the film until the camera focused on a pearl- and diamond-encrusted codpiece covering the crotch of a muscle -bound, tattooed rocker none other than Stacee Jaxx in bed with six women. Then the movie takes off. When Jaxx struts his sexual stuff on stage all the Cruise naysayers will blush. His tattoos make all the right moves.
With his long hair (Cruise should never have short hair), he is covered in sweat when he gyrates and oozes unforgettable appeal and pulsating desire as he sings — yes, folks, it is his voice — "Pour Some Sugar on Me." But it is the scene where he sings Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is,” inches away from Constance Sack's bikini-clad buttock then flips her over on the pool table, spreads her legs and sings, “I want you to show me,” to her wide open still-covered-in-undies soul — that tore down the house.
Paul Giamatti, plays Paul Gill, a dishonest manager of Stacee Jaxx and has all the crafty moves. After Gill tries to cheat club owner Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin)out of Jaxx’s take, Jaxx fires him. Gill’s chicanery is uncovered with the help of Sack, who discloses this in her Rolling Stone interview with the super rocker.
Mary J. Blige (Justice Charlier) as the manager of a strip club picks up the pace when it is getting too cute for Sherrie Christian, who quits the Bourbon when she suspects her beau of being unfaithful and sings QuarterFlash's “I’m Gonna Harden My Heart.”
Down and out Charlier tells Christian, “The stage is a pedestal. When you are up there, you are untouchable.” After Charlier sings, “Anyway you want it,” she offers Christian a job as a waitress and then a pole dancer and then a stripper.
This is fine ensemble acting, but it is important to withhold judgment until Cruise enters center stage. Then the pieces fall into place. "Hairspray" director Adam Shankman directed this gem/bijou written by Justin Theroux, Chris D’Arienzo and Allan Loeb. It's the kind of rock opera that will replace the "Rocky HorrorPicture Show" as ageless midnight musical theater.