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Movie Review

Rock of Ages

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, suggestive dancing, some heavy drinking, and language.

Reviewed by: Brian C. Johnson

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Musical Romance Comedy Drama
2 hr. 3 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
June 15, 2012 (wide)
DVD: October 9, 2012
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

HYPOCRISY IN THE CHURCH—“I would never be a Christian; they’re a bunch of hypocrites.”


fornication in the Bible

Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

heavy drinking

Teen Qs—Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens—Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.

music in the Bible

dancing in the Bible

How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer

How can I decide whether a particular activity—such as smoking, gambling, etc.—is wrong? Answer

Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer

Couple in love. Photo copyrighted
TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer
Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.


GAY—What’s wrong with being gay? Answer
Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?

What about gays needs to change? Answer
It may not be what you think.

Read stories about those who have struggled with homosexuality

Featuring: Tom CruiseStacee Jaxx
Julianne HoughSherrie Christian
Malin AkermanConstance Sack
Bryan CranstonMayor Mike Whitmore
Alec BaldwinDennis Dupree
Catherine Zeta-JonesPatricia Whitmore
Russell BrandLonnie
Paul GiamattiPaul Gill
Diego Boneta … Drew Boley
Will Forte … Mitch Miley
more »
Director: Adam Shankman—“A Walk to Remember,” “Hairspray,” “Bedtime Stories”
Producer: Offspring Entertainment
Corner Store Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

It’s a tale as old as time. Small town girl with big dreams and a song escapes her ho-hum life and heads to the big city to make that dream a reality. Along the way to capturing her star, she meets some ne’er-do-wells, makes some really bad choices, and realizes that her real dream was to fall into the arms of her Prince Charming, her Knight in Shining Armor, her dreamboat. Same old, same old.

Young wanna-be starlet, Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough—“Footloose,” “Burlesque”) leaves Oklahoma with stars in her eyes and a suitcase full of autographed vinyl albums and gets off the bus in Hollywood. There she meets Drew Boley (Diego Boneta—better known for his TV roles on “90210,” “Pretty Little Liars,” and “Mean Girls 2”), a strapping young musician paying his dues by working at the hottest rock joint in Los Angeles. Yada, yada, yada, they fall in love and beautiful music together—literally, this is a 80s rock musical, after all (think “Glee” on steroids with a truckload of extra strength super hold hairspray!).

As usual, their young love is tested by external forces; in this case, Stacee Jaxx, a rock legend, alcohol-guzzling womanizer, and otherwise tortured soul (masterfully played by Tom Cruise) shows up, and their love gets a huge test. Stacee’s troubles are also compounded because the new mayor Mike Whitmore (played by Bryan Cranston) and his wife, Patricia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) have plans to clean up the Los Angeles strip—which includes shutting down the famous “Bourbon Room.”

As a fan of 1980s rock and heavy metal, this movie had me ready to dance down the aisles. The list of hits goes on and on, from the likes of Journey, Van Halen, Twisted Sister, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Pat Benatar and more.

Sadly, in terms of the moral and Christian values presented, the praise stops there. Beware—the PG-13 rating is a misnomer. The film is rife, as one would expect, with overt sexuality. I would love Hollywood ratings makers to understand that just because a film doesn’t show nudity doesn’t mean that it is OK to be shown to young teens. Maybe that message should be sent to parents, as well. Surprisingly, the language was not as coarse as I thought it would be; it’s still not recommended for younger ears.

One subject that pertains to Christian viewers is that of the influence of secular music on individuals and society. Jaxx and his fellow rockers are frequently called to question about the impact of their music—regrettably, the film pokes fun at the Christian community who wants to promote godly values. Once again, the Hollywood machine promotes the stereotypical image of Christians as nothing more than hypocritical and dogmatic. Patricia Whitmore and her cronies are gyrating Bible thumpers who lead double lives.

All in all, while it was refreshing to see Tom Cruise in an atypical role, and an incredibly star-studded cast, including the likes of Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, and Mary J. Blige, each belting out songs in tune; the film is flat and predictable. It provides rocking musical sentimentality, but it is definitely not for kids.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Heavy—OMG (12), “Jesus” (2), “Oh Chr_st,” “Sweet baby J_sus,” “My G_d,” “G_d,” “Oh G_d,” “hell” (2), “d_mn,” “f” word, “s” words (10), “t_ts,”, etc. / Sex/Nudity: Heavy—numerous scantily clad people, a homosexual kiss between two men (including pelvic thrust), sexual lyrics, many vulgar sexual comments and actions

Editor’s Note: Christian Spotlight strongly recommends you skip this film. As always, before deciding to view, please see the negative Viewer Comments below for further details.

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—The movie has to be based on the idea that it’s about rock “n” roll, and is not meant to be an endorsement of the lifestyle it talks about, but the greater theme of the story. The film has to be seen in context of its finished story arcs of the characters. Stacie Jaxx goes from a sex rock god to recognizing that what he wants is not sex, drugs and rock “n” roll, but he wants to “know what love is.” Sherrie is hurt by her boyfriend’s rejection of her and finds herself “hardening her heart” and as she becomes more hurt, allows herself to become more part of a strip club. But finally, she recognizes that she too is looking for love, and realizes to “don’t stop believin” and love draws her out of this lifestyle.

The hypocritical mayor’s wife is to me, not a smack against Christianity, but Phariseeism. When the Christian characters create a barricade condemning the other side, and the other side says, “we built this city on rock and roll,” this shows to me in a comical way the divide we as Christians create with the rock and roll/entertainment world, rather than bringing them into love through relationship.

By no means am I endorsing the values of the characters, but just like the biblical story of Hosea is about Hosea marrying a prostitute and showing him God’s love, the movie’s true message is that what we really are seeking isn’t fame, drugs, and sex, but love and the hope of dreams coming true. It may not be an all-ages kids” movie, but the truth is I believe the filmmakers are intending to parody and satirize the 80s, and this is meant as parody of the lives of the rock stars themselves.

The message the filmmakers ultimately are trying to say is to “don’t stop believin.” I would look at this film like the Samaritan woman at the woman at the well—how are reaching out to bring youth into love rather than religion?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Jason, age 34 (Canada)
Positive—Note: I saw the PG-13 version in HD via XFinity On Demand. The film “Rock Of Ages” is a terrific rock musical starring Julliane Hough, Diego Boneta, Malin Ackerman, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Bryan Cranston, Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones and Tom Cruise as Stacie Jaxx. The acting is top-notch, and the songs are really good. My favorite songs are “Paradise City” (played in its entirety during the end credits), “Sister Christian,” “I Want To Know What Love Is,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” “Any Way You Want It” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane” (cut from the film, but partially heard during the latter portion of the end credits), “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and “Don’t Stop Believin.”

The choreography is outstanding. Tom Cruise literally disappears into the role, becoming Stacee Jaxx. Biblically speaking, there’s no actual nudity, but very suggestive dancing and sensual scenes take place throughout. Stacee’s entrance in the film is particularly telling of the sexual content. There’s also some mild-to-moderate profanity, with one use of the f-word, but thankfully, no profaning of God’s Name (i.e., combination of His Name with a mild curse word), and a kiss between two men at the end of a beautiful song by REO Speedwagon, which I think was poorly used here. I lowered my eyes when they were about to kiss, so I didn’t see that part.

I don’t see why film-makers feel the need to insert the aforementioned erotic element between two men in a movie. Just implying it the way they did during the song was enough, in my opinion. That is taking something that God designed to be between a woman and a man and perverting it. God calleth that an abomination. With a caution about the heavy sexual content, I recommend this movie. Rated PG-13 (heavy sexual content throughout including suggestive dancing, some language, drinking and brief violence).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—D, age 27 (USA)
Negative—As a child of the 80s, I was interested to see how this song and dance movie would do. I was not ready for all the inappropriate sexual scenes! This film left my husband and I speechless. It was not at all the film we thought it would be, a tribute to the 80s and rock of that time. Save your money and buy an LP.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Traci, age 45 (USA)
Negative—I would not recommend this movie for anybody. While there is no nudity in the film, twice it shows bikini-clad women pole-dancing in a strip club. The film seems to justify a young woman turning to stripping just because she can’t make it financially doing legitimate work in Hollywood. Tom Cruise plays a rock star, sex magnet, and alcoholic on the downhill side of his career, to whom women have an uncontrollable attraction. While some viewers will correctly see in Cruise’s character the potentially tragic consequences of excess drinking, other moviegoers may be even MORE attracted to drinking alcohol, as a result of watching this film. While only the back of the woman’s legs are shown, at one point in the film it is obvious that Cruise’s character is looking at the genital area of a woman who has her legs spread wide open. At least twice in the film, a large female mannequin, which is clothed in hotpants and a top, is shown near a marquee with its legs spread wide open. There is also some bad language in this film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Ed, age 57 (USA)
Negative—The music was great. The story was fun. But the sexual content was offensive. There is also a scene where Alec Baldwin’s character and Russell Brand’s character realize they are in love. If it wasn’t for the crude sexual content and homosexuality, the movie would have been pretty good. I would not recommend anyone to see this movie, and I wish I wouldn’t have wasted my time and money on another filthy Hollywood film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Brandy, age 35 (USA)
Negative—Film promotes sexuality and homosexualism. Should be rated R for extreme sexual content and full face kissing scene of two adult male homosexuals. Parents who feel safe in allowing older teens above age 13 to see a PG-13 movie would be shocked at the content of “Rock of Ages.” This film crosses the line by covering the bizarre with 80’s music and fresh young couple in love. Parents might want to review this before allowing their older teen to see it under the guise of PG-13 rating.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Sharon, age 73 (USA)
Negative—I, too, grew up during part of the 80s, and hate to admit I have much of the music from this movie on my iPhone. I did enjoy seeing how they would weave the music into the script. That being said, the movie was way over the top with sexuality. I guess they kept the PG-13 rating with limited profanity and no actual nudity. But if a person is basically liking someone’s crotch, does it really matter if they still have a wisp of cloths on? And, of course, we have to have a very pro-homosexuality theme woven in (reminded me of “Mama Mia”). I’m afraid I could not recommend this to anyone.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Wesley, age 48 (USA)
Negative—We finally reached our limit with this movie and walked out about 2/3 of the way through; three other people had just done the same before us. This movie was the most offensive movie to date that I had ever seen. The PG-13 rating was totally incongruous with the EXTREME SEXUAL NATURE of this film. I have seen many R-rated movies that did not have this many overtly sexual scenes included in them. Do not support this film.
—Julie, age 50 (USA)

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