Box Office Preview: ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘That’s My Boy’

Rock of Ages

OK, so “Rock of Ages” is an adaptation of a Broadway musical that uses hair metal the way “Across the Universe” used The Beatles. First problem: who the hell likes hair metal? It’s certainly not baby boomers or kids these days. The target audience seems to be the tiny sliver of the American population that was both a teenager during the 1980’s and enjoyed the crap, excuse me, music, at the top of the pop charts at the time. Maybe that’s a decent amount of people, but I sincerely hope not.

Anyway, on to the plot. Small town girl Sherrie (Julianne Hough), who’s presumably living in a lonely world, boards a midnight er, bus, going specifically to Los Angeles, which I suppose is close enough to “anywhere.” She’s mugged soon after arriving, but is saved by city boy Drew (origins unknown). Cue love story. Drew (Diego Boneta) is a busboy at Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand’s (character’s) nightclub, The Bourbon Room, but dreams of being a rock star (imagine that). The club is struggling, but its owner hopes Stacee Jaxx’s (Tom Cruise) final show before going solo will help spark revenues. That may just be the one upside in this movie, anyone who’s seen “Tropic Thunder” knows when Cruise gets a little self-deprecating it can earn major laughs. Meanwhile, Mayor Mike Whitmore (Bryan Cranston), along with his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) are launching a campaign to clean up the city, starting with The Bourbon Room. You disappoint me Bryan Cranston, but I doubt I’ll see this movie and “Breaking Bad” starts in a month, so my love for you shall survive.

Despite its star-studded cast and Cruise making an ass of himself, “Rock of Ages” is at a 44 percent on the Tomatometer, and Bullz-eye’s David Medsker had this to say:

If you look at “Rock of Ages” as a movie that knows it’s beyond salvation and is interested in finding out just far down the rabbit hole it can go, then it might earn some respect as the next cult classic in the making. Unfortunately, this is far closer to “The Apple” (look it up, if you dare) than it is to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” In the end, it’s just one of those movies that was never going to work. Pity no one realized this before they spent tens of millions to make it.

There you have it, if you’re a huge and I mean huge fan of musicals, hair metal, or any of the actors involved (Paul Giamatti’s in there too, somehow it never came up) then see this movie. But you’ve probably got better things to do.

That’s My Boy

So, it has come to this. Andy Samberg is Adam Sandler’s son, laughs ensue, or they would if this movie didn’t look so god awful. Also, is it just me or is the above picture a really bad photoshop job? Anyway, let’s just stick to the official synopsis:

While still in his teens, Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son, Todd (Andy Samberg), and raised him as a single parent up until Todd’s 18th birthday. Now, after not seeing each other for years, Todd’s world comes crashing down on the eve of his wedding when an uninvited Donny suddenly shows up. Trying desperately to reconnect with his son, Donny is now forced to deal with the repercussions of his bad parenting skills.

Specifically, Donny shows up because Todd is a hot shot hedge fund manager and he owes $43,000 to the IRS. He recieves this information from lawyer Jim Nance, played by Rex Ryan. That’s right, Rex Ryan, head coach of the New York Jets. I love sexy Rexy but c’mon, what does a football coach with no acting experience getting a part tell you about this movie?

If you didn’t get it from a thousand other hints, it tells you that it sucks. “That’s My Boy” is at an abysmal 23 percent on the Tomatometer. The best line of a review I’ve read so far comes from Adam Graham of The Detroit News: “Sandler’s Berger is the most loutish, annoying character he’s come up with since ‘Little Nicky.’ Nicky came from hell; viewers of ‘That’s My Boy’ will feel like they’re in it.”

  

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Kristen Wiig follow-up: SNL got the memo

If you type “Kristen Wiig sucks” into Google, the very first link you will see is to a piece I wrote. I am not proud of this.

Here’s the back story: in February of last year, I wrote a rant where I complained about the overexposure of Wiig, who was at one time my favorite new “SNL” cast member. But the exposure itself wasn’t the problem – it was Wiig’s tendency to play characters that, if they showed up at a party you were at, you would leave the party. She never played anyone sweet, or friendly, or even just strange. Her characters all had one thing in common: they were incredibly annoying. And they were in every other skit. I’d had enough, and so I posted “Memo to Saturday Night Live: Kristen Wiig must be stopped.” I wish I had posted that one to Reddit. It would have been huge, though at 162 comments and counting (they’re still coming in, 21 months later), it is easily the biggest response we’ve gotten to anything posted on this site, though John Paulsen’s companion piece, “Gilly: The unfunniest returning SNL character…ever,” is not far behind.

And that’s why I feel so awful. I never intended to be the lightning rod for the ‘Kristen Wiig sucks’ movement, because she doesn’t suck. She’s actually very talented, but has a weakness for playing obnoxious people. But silly me, I should have known that the commenters of the world would not have been as level-headed in their remarks as I attempted to be in my piece. The first wave of comments were all pro-Kristen, telling me I didn’t “get” her (one of my favorite comment cliches, because it’s mostly used when there’s nothing to “get”) or that I had no sense of humor. Slowly, though, people started rallying in my defense, and now, well, it’s a bloodbath. One commenter even said, “I typed ‘Kristen Wiig sucks’ into Google, found this piece.” My first reaction to that was, “Wow, I wish I had the free time to do that.” My second reaction was, “Shit. This is not what I wanted.” All I wanted was for the show to have more balance, and for Wiig to tone down the ‘does it offend you, yeah’ factor to her characters. Bring the “Two A-Holes” skit back, or have her do more impressions (she does a dead perfect Bjork).

Well, she’s still not doing impressions – and the “Two A-Holes” skits remain inexplicably shelved – but it appears that my other prayers have been answered this season. I just watched the episode that Scarlett Johannson hosted, and Kristen had one lead skit (the one-upping Penelope). One. In everything else, she was a co-lead or not in the scene at all, and for me, it made for a much more enjoyable viewing experience, especially since it opens up space for “The Miley Cyrus Show” (my new favorite recurring skit) and Jay Pharoah, who’s got ‘breakout star’ written all over him. If I’m lucky, I’ll never have to see another skit featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, Kathi Lee Gifford, the woman who can’t keep a secret, and if I’m really lucky, this woman.

Man, is she painful to watch. Ha ha, let’s laugh at the cripple. Jesus.

So thank you, “Saturday Night Live,” for righting the ship. You are now a hundred times more watchable than you were just a few months ago. And Kristen, I’m sorry that my piece became the sounding board for some malicious comments. I just wanted my TV to be more funny. And now it is. Ahhhhhh.

  

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The MTV Movie Awards…Bringing People Together

So, just to explain myself real briefly, for the time being you’re going to see the tiny little letters of my name a lot more often ’round these parts, as I’ll be blogging a couple of times a day, every day (or close to it), on movies and such. I’m going to try and keep things short and sweet but my record on those matters is a bit, er, mixed. It’s just very important to me that you know the whole story.

Anyhow, one interesting aspect of this gig is that I’ll be paying attention to things that before might have only gotten a cursory glance from me. Like the MTV Movie Awards.

Not surprisingly, as per Variety, Twilight” won the most awards and High School Musical 3: Senior Year” won stuff as well in the teeny-bopper friendly proceedings, while Andy Samberg and Will Ferrell performed a routine noting the ever increasing filmic phenomenon of movie tough guys who are so cool they refuse to look at explosions. (I haven’t seen the clip, which has already been pulled off YouTube, but that action film cliche goes back at least 13 years to “From Dusk ‘Till Dawn” and continues on into 2007’s “No Country for Old Men” and beyond I’m sure. Personally, I really would like to see Daniel Craig or Russell Crowe as a movie bomber pause to look at an explosion and go, “Wow…that’s so cool; I probably just incinerated a bunch of people, too. Sweet.”)

But none of that is the big news. That would be Sacha Baron Cohen, promoting his upcoming film starring his very, very gay character, Brüno, by doing what he always does — and his target was the rapper most frequently associated with the word “homophobia.” A video is worth a thousand words. (Via Nikki Finke.)

MTV Shows

So, the big question is: Was the event staged and, if so, to what degree? Eminem looked genuinely surprised and angry to me and Nikki Finke’s commenters (those elusive “industry insiders” perhaps?) have theories on how some, but not all of it, might have been spontaneous. He might be an okay actor, but I don’t think his reaction, though somewhat understandable if all is as it appears, does anything for the extremely talented but seriously messed up Shady’s image, so why would he fake that? Also, if a hand-puppet could get him angry, a real Anglo-Israeli’s buttocks and barely covered private parts should really do the trick. Via MTV, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, has already weighed in. (“I sat on Eminem’s face long before Brüno ever did.”) Any other thoughts?

Somewhat more “real” movie news coming later today.

  

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Motherlover

How do you follow up an Emmy-winning hit like “Dick in a Box”? With a tribute to mothers everywhere, just in time for Mother’s Day.

Kudos to Susan Sarandon and Patricia Clarkson for signing on to play the “loved” mothers.

  

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Andy Samberg sure likes his penis jokes

Okay, so it’s no “Dick in a Box,” but Andy Samberg’s latest Digital Short – which finds him teaming up with fellow Lonely Islander Jorma Tacone – is still pretty damn funny. The expression on Samberg’s face sells the whole joke for me, and a cameo by Justin Timberlake never hurts. Check out the video below, and be sure to watch for the groups’ debut album, Incredibad, out early next year. With “Flight of the Conchords” possibly leaving the airwaves after their second season, The Lonely Island might be a worthy replacement.

  

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