Check out my brand new review of Rock of Ages on my movie review blog Rom Coms and the Real World!
As a big fan of guilty pleasure movies I had high hopes Rock of Ages would fall squarely into the so-bad-it’s-good category. Sadly, the movie is not so-bad-it’s-good, so much as so-bad-it’s-boring; a shiny, sleek, dull tale of 1980s hair metal that gets so bogged down by lifeless performances that not even the best Journey songs can save it.
Following in the footsteps of pioneering movies like Coyote Ugly and Burlesque, Sherrie (Julianne Hough) is a small town girl with big city dreams who wants to be a famous singer but ends up working at a strip club. Meanwhile Catherine Zeta-Jones crusades to shut down the infamous Bourbon Room, Alec Baldwin struggles to keep it open, and Russell Brand proves he can land a joke no matter how weak the material.
Like Hairspray, director Adam Shankman’s previous attempt at a movie musical, Rock of Ages can’t quite seem to find a way to blend the songs and book scenes. My current theory is this has something to do with the lack of applause. In live theatre applause is a natural button to a song and a transition from the fantastical production numbers to the more grounded book scenes. On screen, high energy songs just end and people start talking again. I’ve yet to see a modern day movie musical that makes the transition work seamlessly. It doesn’t help that while Rock of Ages’ dialogue may have played well in a big Broadway stage, it feels hokey when it takes place on a real street. (Upon seeing The Bourbon Room Sherrie exclaims, “I have like 10 record that were recorded there.” “Don’t you mean had?” Drew quips.)
View of the city from the South Side.
Thanks sidewalk! You’re awesome too. Seen in Lakeview.
With the warm weather finally hitting Chicago, it seems fitting to post photos of the gorgeous flowers at The Lincoln Park Conservatory. Apparently as a child I used to call it the “flower zoo,” which is pretty darn adorable. The greenhouse is free and open daily and well worth a visit!
Starting at 2am tonight, Chicago begins massive overhauls of the southern portion of the Red Line. Red Line stations south of Roosevelt will be closed for 5 months. It’ll be a major inconvenience for those living on the south side (although the city has created alternative bus routes), but since I mostly stay north of the city the biggest change I’ll have to deal with is the new signs at all of the CTA stops. Very odd not to see trains headed toward “95th/Dan Ryan.”
I got a chance to check out the Picasso exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute on its final weekend. When I go to big exhibits like this, I always find myself people-watching almost as much as art-watching.
I’ve recommended a lot of restaurants on this blog, but Taco Diablo has to be one of my all time favorites. Taco D (as the kids call it) is located in Evanston, an easy walk from the Davis Street Purple Line stop. The servers were incredibly friendly, the bartender was fantastic, and the margaritas were delicious.
I ordered the taco plate which came with 3 tacos and a huge serving of rice and beans for about $12. I tried the potato, vegetable, and catfish tacos and I ended up loving them all. The real star of the evening was the orange chili salsa that was actually more of a creamy sauce and that I would happily drink with a straw. It was sweet and tangy and not really like anything I’d had before. It’s a bit of a trek up North to Evanston, but Taco Diablo is well worth the trip.
RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THIS WEEK’S SMASH
Episode 2.15 “The Transfer”
- It’s official, Smash won’t be returning to our TV screens next season. The series finale will air at 9/8c on Sunday, May 26th (because that makes sense) and I’ll be there to cover all the Tony-award-themed drama.
- Wow that transfer happened fast. And totally changed the aesthetic and musical stylings of the show.
- I thought Jimmy was fired. Is Sam still playing his part?
- Lip-syncing is not one of Katharine McPhee’s special skills.
- Look around Karen, that knit hat is not appropriate for this restaurant.
- A Dev reference (sort of), Smash must be reading my blog!
- “I did like Mendes’ Cabaret.”
- Jack Davenport is so good. I hope he flies free and finds success elsewhere. He and Megan Hilty can have a spin-off where he’s snarky and she belts a lot.
- “It’s everywhere. The boards. The blogs.”
- “Where have you been staying?” “Around.” Really Smash writers? That’s the best response you could come up with?
- At what point does a fake commercial become a real commercial?
- Karen to Derek: “It’s always about you!” Yup, totally accurate Karen. It’s never about you, you are so selfless.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda! Laura Benanti Norbert Leo Butz! Alice Ripley! Smash really went all out with the Broadway name-dropping tonight. (Also Lin-Manuel Miranda is welcome on my TV at any point.)
- So we’re all just okay with the fact that Hit List has apparently become an entirely different show?
- Man was the choreography of “I’m Not Sorry” awful. Derek must have been having an off week.
- Nice work with the end of that angry phone call Christian Borle, you can be in the spin-off too.
- And this burlesque number can be the theme song.
- Hit List is as relevant as Gossip Girl!
- I actually really liked Debra Messing’s average-sounding voice. I’m glad they didn’t autotune her too much.
- Eileen’s idea to leak news of the Tom/Julia split really was brilliant. Voters would be eager to award a long-standing team for their final collaboration.
- This blackmail plot is really an all time low for Smash. It’s a shame we have to end on such a sour note.
- Nevermind, the pregnancy plot is an all time low. What would Dev say about all of this? I guess we’ll never know. Unless the baby is HIS!!!
- See y’all in two weeks for the grand finale!
Happy Mother’s Day! My mom is in town visiting so I’m lucky enough to get to spend the day with her today. For those of you who can’t be with your mothers, here are so flowers to “send” to them.
Thanks for the follow Lincoln Park Zoo! If you want to be as cool as the zoo, you can follow me on Twitter here.
Check out my new Play-By-Play feature on my movie review blog Rom Coms and the Real World. This week I take a look at the Hilary Duff vehicle Beauty and the Briefcase.
“I just got hired by Cosmo, the world’s greatest magazine, to go undercover and date hot men in suits. Does it get any better than this?”
I’m not saying Beauty and the Briefcase is the worst thing to ever happen to feminism, but I do think it probably cracks the top ten. To be fair, I’m talking about an ABC Family movie produced by/starring Hilary Duff so it’s my own fault for going in with any sort of expectations. Beauty and the Briefcase is shallow, stupid, and entirely devoid of emotional resonance. It’s the elevator music of movies, a bland film with so little soul it hardly even merits critical thought. So let’s just make fun of it, shall we?
The script for Beauty and the Briefcase was most likely written in one night as the screenwriter downed a box of wine and marathoned Never Been Kissed, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and a handful of Sex and the City episodes. Presumably thanks to the producer cred, most of the movie is just Hilary parading around in sexy outfits. The script is about 95% narration and the characters are so thinly drawn they are practically invisible.
Our little Hil stars as Lane, a would-be fashion writer determined to work at THE BEST MAGAZINE IN THE WHOLE WORLD Cosmo. (I’m assuming Cosmo singlehandedly funded this movie based on how much product placement they get.) Lane’s life is, like, so hard because there are no guys for her to date. After all, “The guys in fashion do wonders for my wardrobe, but they do nothing to help me find my magic man!” Lane has standards, you see, namely a checklist of…. [Read the full review]