Don’t Stop Believin’
Why am I writing about this topic on my family-building support blog? Simply put, the 4 hours I invested in the film (I watched it twice over the Holiday break) allowed me a truly enjoyable mental retreat. I thought you might also like to travel back in time and escape.
The soundtrack includes 80’s anthems like: Sister Christian, Any Way You Want It, Every Rose Has Its Thorn, and of course Don’t Stop Believin’; the music alone made me genuinely nostalgic. The
spirit of the picture feels like a medley of Glee, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Spinal Tap. I laughed out loud at no less than 5 scenes. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays the self-righteous villain, Patricia Whitaker. ‘Patty-Cakes’ is the prim and proper wife of the Mayor and she is on a mission to shut down The Bourbon Room. The scene that ranks at the very top for me is where Zeta-Jones and a group of church women break out in song while singing Hit Me with Your Best Shot in the pews of a church. In it, she is wearing a peach, pleated secretarial suit and the 80’s dance gestures she busts out are beyond hilarious. It’s just one of many gleeful scenes for me.
Admittedly, a big part of my joy came out of being so closely connected to the period in which this story took place. Sherrie, the main character, looked exactly the way I wished I had back in 1987. My spiral perm just never took the way hers did. The sides of her hair were perfectly fanned-out and symmetrical. Her teased bangs were the right amount of high with her sparkly scrunchie. I'm embarrassed to admit it but hair was the pinnacle of my existence back then and mine often fell completely flat or curled perfectly on one side but not the other. Moving on from Sherrie's hair to her attire…Tragically, my mother never bought me the Bedazzler she obviously used to adorn her short, cut-off, jean skirt. Speaking of jeans, she donned a faded, cropped jean jacket that would have looked AMAZING with so many of my torn Guess jeans and long, off-the-shoulder sweatshirts that I liked to pair with my thick, hip-hugging belts. I could almost smell the soft, clean fragrance of her CoverGirl pressed powder and strawberry Bonne Bell lip balm.
Alec Baldwin plays, Dennis, the bar owner. Dennis is on the brink of becoming irrelevant. He originally promoted the big-time rocker Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) and is holding onto the past but in a naïve and endearing way. Some of Alec Baldwin’s scenes were the funniest for me. His facial expressions were beyond priceless.
Speaking of Tom Cruise—I have to say that I am typically not a huge fan of the roles he chooses. That said, Stacee Jaxx kind of did it for me in this movie. The naughty, dirty rocker drinks, gyrates and of course has countless sexcapades. The sex scenes are far from salacious; instead they offer up amusing and awkward moments that provoke laughter and ultimately produced side stitches for me. His bedraggled, nonsensical, rants are comically seductive. I saw Axl Rose in his character. As it turns out, Shankman said of Cruise’s performance, "It's this brilliant mashup, it seems, of Axl Rose, Keith Richards and Jim Morrison,"
Another perfect casting choice, in my opinion, was Mary J. Blige as Justice Charlier. Justice is the manager of the Venus Gentleman’s Club. Blige costumes are fantastical! I love her voice and the music she belts out while her girls are contorting on their respective poles is rousing.
In one of the later scenes, Kevin Cronin, lead singer of REO Speedwagon, appears out of nowhere. He is merely singing in a group but I knew him the moment I saw him. How can you mistake Kevin Cronin for heaven’s sake? I actually rewound my DVR to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. As it turns out, there are also cameos from Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt and Sebastian.
In summary, the actors’ voices were authentic and surprisingly good. The only person who wasn’t flawless was Alec Baldwin but he certainly wasn’t horrible.
The one downside to this film is that a very attractive character appears on stage hugely pregnant in the very last scene (literally 3 minutes before it ends). While it fits the template given the majority of the 80’s rocker films like to end with the front man's girl with child (case and point, Cocktail--also starring Tom Cruise), I can definitely understand how that detail alone could be an enormous buzz-kill for you.
If this movie doesn’t appeal to you but you grew up lining your eyes in cobalt blue and killing the ozone with Aqua Net, consider listening to the soundtrack. I think Don’t Stop Believin’ may be a good mantra for you!