Podcast 118: Rock of Ages

The 3 Guys Podcast

Recorded on 6/20/2023

Rock out to our latest podcast episode where we dive into the musical movie Rock of Ages! Tune in to hear our review, analysis and triva of this classic flick. Does good music compensate for bad acting? WARNING: There will be SPOILERS!

The 3 Guys Rating

1.4/5

Notes From The Show

  • Quick Synopsis

  • Released: June 15, 2012

    Directed By: Adam Shankman

    Screenplay By: Chris D’Arienzo, Allan Loeb and Justin Theroux

    Stars: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Åkerman, Mary J. Blige, Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise and a bunch of other actors.

    Plot: A small-town girl and a city boy meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams.

    Taglines:  Nothin’ But A Good Time

    How did this movie do?
    Budget: $75 Million
    Box Office:
    $59 Million

  • Casting

    • Constantine Maroulis, who played Drew in the original Broadway cast, appears as the Capitol Records executive during “Any Way You Want It”.

    • Several 1980s musicians also made cameo appearances throughout the film, including Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, Debbie Gibson, Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme, Joel Hoekstra of Night Ranger and Porcelain Black, during “We Built This City/We’re Not Gonna Take It”.

    • Alec Baldwin, who played Dennis Dupree in the film, was also critical, calling it “a horrible movie” and “a complete disaster”. Baldwin had asked New Line Cinema studio head Toby Emmerich to replace him in his role shortly before the beginning of production.
  • Trivia

    • On its opening weekend in theaters, the film grossed $14,447,269, ranking third place, behind the previous week’s holdovers Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and Prometheus. The film did, however, do slightly better business than the other newcomer, That’s My Boy.

    • Rock of Ages was a box office bomb, grossing $38,518,613 in North America and $20,900,000 in other territories for a worldwide total of $59,418,613, failing to bring back its $75 million budget. However, the film still has the seventh-highest opening ever for a musical.

    • Rock of Ages creator Chris D’Arienzo, though having not seen the film adaptation, spoke negatively on the final product. “When the trailer came out, I saw there was a monkey in it, and then I knew what kind of movie it was. And I think America knew what sort of movie it was”. D’Arienzo voiced disappointment in how the film depicted itself, stating.

      • Instead of coming from the point of view of “I’m going to validate this and elevate it,” they embraced the kitsch and just made it more kitschy. They made it more silly and goofy. Not that our show isn’t silly or goofy, but it’s always from the point of view of “This is really good. And if you don’t like Warrant’s ‘Cherry Pie,’ then you’re a fucking dick. Because it’s good! And we’re gonna show you why it’s good!”

    • Tom Cruise based his performance of Stacee Jaxx mostly on Jim Morrison and Axl Rose.

    • Tom Cruise rehearsed for five hours every day to get his voice ready for his rock performances.

    • Poison and Def Leppard performed live at the premiere with a Bourbon Room backdrop on the stage. Def Leppard dedicated their song Pour Some Sugar On Me to “our good friend Stacee Jaxx.”

    • The scene set under the Hollywood sign was actually shot on a garbage dump landfill in Pompano Beach, Florida.

    • Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones) leads a religious group called Ladies Organization to Stop Evil Rock Singers. The initials spell out the acronym LOSERS.

    • Despite failing to recoup its $75 million budget, Rock of Ages (2012) had the seventh-best opening of a musical.

    • In the “song duel” outside the club, the anti-rock protesters, who are obviously modeled on the Parents’ Music Resource Center (the group who imposed the “Parental Advisory” warning stickers on recordings), sing Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” In real life, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister was one of the PMRC’s most outspoken critics and testified against their proposals in the September 1985 Senate hearings.

    • The “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” number uses the choreography from the ending of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video.

    • Tom Cruise took voice lessons for four and a half months. His routine included push-ups and ab work.

    • Anne Hathaway and Amy Adams were offered the role of Constance Sack, but both declined due conflicting schedule for a superhero film. Hathaway was busy shooting The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Adams was shooting Man of Steel (2013). Malin Akerman, who appeared in Watchmen (2009), was ultimately cast.

    • Def Leppard coincidentally happened to be touring in America at the time of the film shooting, and were able to be present on the day that Tom Cruise filmed his interpretation of their song “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”

    • First ever musical for Tom Cruise.

    • Chris D’Arienzo, original book writer of the stage musical, admitted to having been disappointed by the movie, citing the unnecessary story changes, poor casting (was apparently shocked that Constantine Maroulis was not asked to reprise the role of Drew), and how glossy the singing sounded, saying that “It may have looked liked the 80s, but it’s missing the dirty-likability that made the 80s awesome”. He’s vowed that a possible remake will be independently-made rather then studio produced.

    • Constantine Maroulis plays a record executive in this film. He originated the role of Drew Boley in the Broadway production and was nominated for the 2009 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance.

    • To prepare for the film Julianne Hough (Sherrie) had to take basic lessons on how to strip, and was trained by a local stripper.

    • Paul Gill is loosely based on Doc McGhee, a noted rock manager who has managed such acts as Mötley Crüe and Ozzy Osbourne.

    • When Lonny calls the audience “a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors,” he is quoting William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Act II, Scene 2.

    • When Drew, love interest of Sherrie, is clocking in at the “Bourbon,” the soundtrack plays the first few notes of Steve Perry’s 1984 hit single, “Oh, Sherrie.”

    • Alec Baldwin disowned the film, calling it a “horrible movie,” and stated that the only reason he did it was to work with Tom Cruise.

    • Diego Boneta learned to play the guitar for the film.

    • Seth Rogen turned down the role of Lonny, citing his lack of singing ability.

    • Gloria Estefan was considered for the role of Patricia Whitmore. She was so heavily favored for the part that she even substituted for Catherine Zeta-Jones at some of the table readings when Zeta-Jones was unavailable.

    • Taylor Swift was considered to play Sherrie, but Julianne Hough was cast.

    • Cameo (Kevin Nash): The wrestler Kevin Nash is one of Stacee Jax’s bodyguards.

    • Will Ferrell and Steve Carell were considered to play Dennis Dupree.

    • The photo of Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) and her grandmother is an actual picture of Julianne Hough and her grandma. The writing on the back of the photo is just on a piece of paper. The reason for that is because Julianne didn’t want her picture ruined.

    • The title Rock of Ages refers here to the generations of people who like rock music, but is also a play on Rock of Ages, an extremely popular eighteenth century hymn written by Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady. In the song, the Rock is a natural formation which shelters a man during a storm, and is seen as a metaphor of God the Father protecting his children. It’s is also the name of a Def Leppard song from their Pyromania album.

    • Contrary to belief, the major changes to the story were not at the insistence of Warner Brothers, but that of Adam Shankman. Openly admitting that he didn’t care for the original stage play, he vowed to “fix” its problems, despite originally gaining critical praise and a cult audience. Much of the changes took away the “R” rated raciness in favor of something more appropriate for a general audience.

    • Joel Hoekstra, who at the time played guitar for the Broadway production of Rock of Ages and for the band Night Ranger, can be seen to the left over Will Forte’s shoulder during the “We Built This City” scene.

    • WILHELM SCREAM: When one of the members of the Z-guyeezz gets thrown off The Bourbon Room stage and falls to the floor.

    • The Bourbon room is based off of the Whiskey A Go Go which is located on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.

    • Gwyneth Paltrow and Olivia Wilde were considered for the role of Constance Sack before Malin Akerman was cast.

    • Denise Faye who plays one of the ‘Protest Mothers’ previously starred as one of the ‘Cell Block Tango’ dancers in Chicago (2002) alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones who played ‘Velma Kelly’.

    • When Sherrie and Drew are in the record store a copy of the original Footloose (1984) soundtrack can be seen in front of Sherrie. Julianne Hough starred in the remake, Footloose (2011).

    • When Justice (Mary J. Blige) finds Sherrie outside the Venus Club in the rain, there is a DeLorean parked outside the entrance.

    • Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin later worked together on Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

    • Jamie Dornan auditioned for the role of Drew Boley.

    • John Carney was first offered director’s chair, having directed the Irish musical Once (2007). He declined, stating a lack of knowledge of the “80s American hair rock” scene and was uncomfortable handling a larger budget.

    • Catherine Zeta Jones’ second movie musical, the first being Chicago (2002).

    • The film takes place in 1987.

    • “I am searching for the perfect sound that will make you want to live forever”, as said by Stacee Jaxx, is is a very similar to feelings Lestat has in the novel interview with the vampire written by Anne Rice when he has a brief stint as a rock star. Tom Cruise played Lestat in the motion picture an interview with the vampire. Stacee often moves and speaks in a similar fashion to Lestat.

    • Diego Boneta’s feature film debut.

    • One of Drew’s co-workers makes a remark in Spanish, which translates to, “Good luck with the gringa (white girl),” prompting Drew to dismissively reply, “Whatever that means.” In real life Diego Boneta, who plays Drew, is a Mexican-born Latino who is in fact fluent in Spanish.

    • Feature film debut of Arielle Reitsma.

    • The Movie takes place in 1987. In the background of Tower Records scene you hear Skid Row “I Remember you.” The album didn’t come out until 1989.

    • Adam Shankman’s second musical based on a musical. His first is Hairspray (2007).

    • Janelle Marie Rodriguez and Christina Rodriguez’s debut.

    • Mary J Blige was the first person to be casted in this film

    • Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston both appeared in Saving Private Ryan (1998). They don’t share any scenes in both movies. Giamatti also appeared with Bryan Cranston’s Malcolm in the Middle co star Frankie Muniz in Big Fat Liar (2002).

    • Cameos:

      • lead singer of the band REO Speedwagon, singing “We Built This City” with the people supporting The Bourbon Room.

      • the former lead singer of Skid Row is in the crowd next to Russell Brand during “We Built This City/We’re Not Going To Take It.” Skid Row’s song “I Remember You” is heard playing in the Tower Records store while Drew and Sherrie are shopping.

      • guitarist/vocalist for the band Extreme (whose song “More Than Words” is featured in the film), singing “We Built This City” with the supporters of The Bourbon Room.

Released: June 15, 2012

Directed By: Adam Shankman

Screenplay By: Chris D’Arienzo, Allan Loeb and Justin Theroux

Stars: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Åkerman, Mary J. Blige, Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise and a bunch of other actors.

Plot: A small-town girl and a city boy meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams.

Taglines:  Nothin’ But A Good Time

How did this movie do?
Budget: $75 Million
Box Office:
$59 Million

  • Constantine Maroulis, who played Drew in the original Broadway cast, appears as the Capitol Records executive during “Any Way You Want It”.

  • Several 1980s musicians also made cameo appearances throughout the film, including Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, Debbie Gibson, Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme, Joel Hoekstra of Night Ranger and Porcelain Black, during “We Built This City/We’re Not Gonna Take It”.

  • Alec Baldwin, who played Dennis Dupree in the film, was also critical, calling it “a horrible movie” and “a complete disaster”. Baldwin had asked New Line Cinema studio head Toby Emmerich to replace him in his role shortly before the beginning of production.
  • On its opening weekend in theaters, the film grossed $14,447,269, ranking third place, behind the previous week’s holdovers Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and Prometheus. The film did, however, do slightly better business than the other newcomer, That’s My Boy.

  • Rock of Ages was a box office bomb, grossing $38,518,613 in North America and $20,900,000 in other territories for a worldwide total of $59,418,613, failing to bring back its $75 million budget. However, the film still has the seventh-highest opening ever for a musical.

  • Rock of Ages creator Chris D’Arienzo, though having not seen the film adaptation, spoke negatively on the final product. “When the trailer came out, I saw there was a monkey in it, and then I knew what kind of movie it was. And I think America knew what sort of movie it was”. D’Arienzo voiced disappointment in how the film depicted itself, stating.

    • Instead of coming from the point of view of “I’m going to validate this and elevate it,” they embraced the kitsch and just made it more kitschy. They made it more silly and goofy. Not that our show isn’t silly or goofy, but it’s always from the point of view of “This is really good. And if you don’t like Warrant’s ‘Cherry Pie,’ then you’re a fucking dick. Because it’s good! And we’re gonna show you why it’s good!”

  • Tom Cruise based his performance of Stacee Jaxx mostly on Jim Morrison and Axl Rose.

  • Tom Cruise rehearsed for five hours every day to get his voice ready for his rock performances.

  • Poison and Def Leppard performed live at the premiere with a Bourbon Room backdrop on the stage. Def Leppard dedicated their song Pour Some Sugar On Me to “our good friend Stacee Jaxx.”

  • The scene set under the Hollywood sign was actually shot on a garbage dump landfill in Pompano Beach, Florida.

  • Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones) leads a religious group called Ladies Organization to Stop Evil Rock Singers. The initials spell out the acronym LOSERS.

  • Despite failing to recoup its $75 million budget, Rock of Ages (2012) had the seventh-best opening of a musical.

  • In the “song duel” outside the club, the anti-rock protesters, who are obviously modeled on the Parents’ Music Resource Center (the group who imposed the “Parental Advisory” warning stickers on recordings), sing Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” In real life, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister was one of the PMRC’s most outspoken critics and testified against their proposals in the September 1985 Senate hearings.

  • The “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” number uses the choreography from the ending of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video.

  • Tom Cruise took voice lessons for four and a half months. His routine included push-ups and ab work.

  • Anne Hathaway and Amy Adams were offered the role of Constance Sack, but both declined due conflicting schedule for a superhero film. Hathaway was busy shooting The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Adams was shooting Man of Steel (2013). Malin Akerman, who appeared in Watchmen (2009), was ultimately cast.

  • Def Leppard coincidentally happened to be touring in America at the time of the film shooting, and were able to be present on the day that Tom Cruise filmed his interpretation of their song “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”

  • First ever musical for Tom Cruise.

  • Chris D’Arienzo, original book writer of the stage musical, admitted to having been disappointed by the movie, citing the unnecessary story changes, poor casting (was apparently shocked that Constantine Maroulis was not asked to reprise the role of Drew), and how glossy the singing sounded, saying that “It may have looked liked the 80s, but it’s missing the dirty-likability that made the 80s awesome”. He’s vowed that a possible remake will be independently-made rather then studio produced.

  • Constantine Maroulis plays a record executive in this film. He originated the role of Drew Boley in the Broadway production and was nominated for the 2009 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance.

  • To prepare for the film Julianne Hough (Sherrie) had to take basic lessons on how to strip, and was trained by a local stripper.

  • Paul Gill is loosely based on Doc McGhee, a noted rock manager who has managed such acts as Mötley Crüe and Ozzy Osbourne.

  • When Lonny calls the audience “a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors,” he is quoting William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Act II, Scene 2.

  • When Drew, love interest of Sherrie, is clocking in at the “Bourbon,” the soundtrack plays the first few notes of Steve Perry’s 1984 hit single, “Oh, Sherrie.”

  • Alec Baldwin disowned the film, calling it a “horrible movie,” and stated that the only reason he did it was to work with Tom Cruise.

  • Diego Boneta learned to play the guitar for the film.

  • Seth Rogen turned down the role of Lonny, citing his lack of singing ability.

  • Gloria Estefan was considered for the role of Patricia Whitmore. She was so heavily favored for the part that she even substituted for Catherine Zeta-Jones at some of the table readings when Zeta-Jones was unavailable.

  • Taylor Swift was considered to play Sherrie, but Julianne Hough was cast.

  • Cameo (Kevin Nash): The wrestler Kevin Nash is one of Stacee Jax’s bodyguards.

  • Will Ferrell and Steve Carell were considered to play Dennis Dupree.

  • The photo of Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) and her grandmother is an actual picture of Julianne Hough and her grandma. The writing on the back of the photo is just on a piece of paper. The reason for that is because Julianne didn’t want her picture ruined.

  • The title Rock of Ages refers here to the generations of people who like rock music, but is also a play on Rock of Ages, an extremely popular eighteenth century hymn written by Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady. In the song, the Rock is a natural formation which shelters a man during a storm, and is seen as a metaphor of God the Father protecting his children. It’s is also the name of a Def Leppard song from their Pyromania album.

  • Contrary to belief, the major changes to the story were not at the insistence of Warner Brothers, but that of Adam Shankman. Openly admitting that he didn’t care for the original stage play, he vowed to “fix” its problems, despite originally gaining critical praise and a cult audience. Much of the changes took away the “R” rated raciness in favor of something more appropriate for a general audience.

  • Joel Hoekstra, who at the time played guitar for the Broadway production of Rock of Ages and for the band Night Ranger, can be seen to the left over Will Forte’s shoulder during the “We Built This City” scene.

  • WILHELM SCREAM: When one of the members of the Z-guyeezz gets thrown off The Bourbon Room stage and falls to the floor.

  • The Bourbon room is based off of the Whiskey A Go Go which is located on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.

  • Gwyneth Paltrow and Olivia Wilde were considered for the role of Constance Sack before Malin Akerman was cast.

  • Denise Faye who plays one of the ‘Protest Mothers’ previously starred as one of the ‘Cell Block Tango’ dancers in Chicago (2002) alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones who played ‘Velma Kelly’.

  • When Sherrie and Drew are in the record store a copy of the original Footloose (1984) soundtrack can be seen in front of Sherrie. Julianne Hough starred in the remake, Footloose (2011).

  • When Justice (Mary J. Blige) finds Sherrie outside the Venus Club in the rain, there is a DeLorean parked outside the entrance.

  • Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin later worked together on Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

  • Jamie Dornan auditioned for the role of Drew Boley.

  • John Carney was first offered director’s chair, having directed the Irish musical Once (2007). He declined, stating a lack of knowledge of the “80s American hair rock” scene and was uncomfortable handling a larger budget.

  • Catherine Zeta Jones’ second movie musical, the first being Chicago (2002).

  • The film takes place in 1987.

  • “I am searching for the perfect sound that will make you want to live forever”, as said by Stacee Jaxx, is is a very similar to feelings Lestat has in the novel interview with the vampire written by Anne Rice when he has a brief stint as a rock star. Tom Cruise played Lestat in the motion picture an interview with the vampire. Stacee often moves and speaks in a similar fashion to Lestat.

  • Diego Boneta’s feature film debut.

  • One of Drew’s co-workers makes a remark in Spanish, which translates to, “Good luck with the gringa (white girl),” prompting Drew to dismissively reply, “Whatever that means.” In real life Diego Boneta, who plays Drew, is a Mexican-born Latino who is in fact fluent in Spanish.

  • Feature film debut of Arielle Reitsma.

  • The Movie takes place in 1987. In the background of Tower Records scene you hear Skid Row “I Remember you.” The album didn’t come out until 1989.

  • Adam Shankman’s second musical based on a musical. His first is Hairspray (2007).

  • Janelle Marie Rodriguez and Christina Rodriguez’s debut.

  • Mary J Blige was the first person to be casted in this film

  • Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston both appeared in Saving Private Ryan (1998). They don’t share any scenes in both movies. Giamatti also appeared with Bryan Cranston’s Malcolm in the Middle co star Frankie Muniz in Big Fat Liar (2002).

  • Cameos:

    • lead singer of the band REO Speedwagon, singing “We Built This City” with the people supporting The Bourbon Room.

    • the former lead singer of Skid Row is in the crowd next to Russell Brand during “We Built This City/We’re Not Going To Take It.” Skid Row’s song “I Remember You” is heard playing in the Tower Records store while Drew and Sherrie are shopping.

    • guitarist/vocalist for the band Extreme (whose song “More Than Words” is featured in the film), singing “We Built This City” with the supporters of The Bourbon Room.

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