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The Rough Cut: ‘Rock of Ages’ is a flashback that isn’t necessary

June 22, 2012 - Keith Frederick
I thought we were done with ’80s nostalgia.

I was under the impression that VH1 — with “Flavor of Love,” “Rock of Love with Bret Michaels” and three separate “I Love the ’80s” specials — had killed off the intense flashbacks to my childhood.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a proud, proud child of the ’80s. I remember, and love, most of the decade’s bad TV shows. “Mr. Belvedere,” “Small Wonder,” “Perfect Strangers” — I could go on for 10 paragraphs with that list. I love ’80s music. If you name a one-hit wonder from, say, 1984, I could most likely tell you the band’s name, sing the song and describe the video. (As an aside, never, ever watch the original video for Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax.” Just trust me on this.)

And, I admit, I was excited at first by the thought of “Rock of Ages” coming to the big screen. It seemed like a fun production. And it also seemed like the first time since at least “Tropic Thunder” that Tom Cruise would be interesting, playing Axl Ro... Stacee Jaxx.

Then I started watching the trailers past Cruise in a fur coat.

I don’t want to see Catherine Zeta-Jones and a bunch of church ladies singing “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”

I don’t want to see a badly wigged Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin sing a horribly off-key “I Love Rock and Roll.”

I don’t want to see Julianne Hough, or anyone else for that matter, singing a “More Than Words”/“Heaven” medley. (Look­ing back, “More Than Words” is a terrible song. Not to mention that it was released in 1990.)

I don’t think any of us need to be reminded of hair band music. After all, it’s the only thing Hollywood seems to remember, as they’ve showed us in countless flashback films. Now that I think about it, we just saw Anna Faris in big ’80s hair last year, in the bomb “Take Me Home Tonight.” My friends and I reminisce about childhood all the time. That doesn’t mean I want to relive it.

For a long time, the cycle of nostalgia seemed to run in 20-year increments. In the 1970s and early ’80s, “Happy Days,” “Mash” and “Laverne & Shirley” reminded people of the 1950s and ’60s. In the ’90s, bell bottoms, fluorescent colors, black light posters, guys with really long hair — outside of grunge, everything seemed to call back to the late ’60s and 1970s. “That ’70s Show” bookended that wave of flashbacks.

The ’80s nostalgia seems to be lasting a long time, however. We should’ve moved on to the 1990s by now, right? Not that I’m anxious to see hipsters wearing flannel and ripped jeans, but I’d love something new.

I can’t wait for the musical featuring 1990s hip-hop. If I get to see Drake crooning “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” to Rihanna in a big budget movie, I can die happy.

Mirror Staff Writer Keith Frederick can be reached at 946-7466, or by email at kfrederick@

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Blog Photos

The Associated Press I haven’t seen “Rock of Ages” yet, but in this scene, Julianne Hough and Diego Luna are probably about to very earnestly sing something that was played at your prom.