Judge Victor Valdivia is a world-famous drugged-out rock superstar, except without the world-famous rock superstar part.
Sex, Drugs, & Rock 'n' Roll.
Sure, Rocks of Ages is yet another unauthorized music biography, but it does have one notable distinction, however dubious: This is the first biographical DVD that doesn't actually talk about the subject's work at all. You read that right-there is not one word about any of the Rolling Stones' albums or songs here, apart from a brief mention of the band's last, and least essential, album, A Bigger Bang (2005). Oh, 1967's Between the Buttons is also mentioned, but not for its music; instead, for its cover photograph. How's that for in-depth analysis?
What Rock of Ages does address, sloppily and tediously, are all the same scandals every viewer with even a slightest interest in music already knows about. Mick Jagger's jetsetting and womanizing, Keith Richards' arrests and drug addictions, Brian Jones' drugged-out demise, Bill Wyman's marriage to a teenage girl, whatever the hell Ron Wood does—yet again, the same exact stories you've already heard a million times before are rehashed here for your, uh, pleasure. Clocking in at a pitiful 47 minutes, or one minute per year that the Stones have been an active band, Rock of Ages is meager even by unauthorized DVD standards. Calling it utterly useless would be an insult to utterly useless things across the Western Hemisphere.
That's not even to mention how appalling this documentary is technically. Interview and press conference clips of the Stones are jumbled together in a chaotic mess, with sound bites that sometimes have nothing to do with what is being discussed. The archival footage is even more mishandled; for instance, footage from the '70s is used to illustrate something that happened in the '80s, or even the '90s. Names of Stones associates and relatives are dropped in without explanation or context. The only interviewee seen here is photographer Gered Mankowitz, who shot pictures of the Stones in the '60s. He gets exactly two sentences, neither of which is important. The hyperbolic British narrator is practically breathless with every sentence, and his voice is so irritating that you'll want to punch his lights out somewhere around the 10-minute mark. Of course, there are no actual Stones songs here, so you'll have to make do with an inane generic guitar riff that doesn't even sound like the Stones. There is also some bonus footage (28:53) that isn't bonus at all—it merely repeats what the main feature says again. Actually, to be fair, there is an additional interminable segment on the Martin Scorsese-directed concert film Shine a Light, which is inexplicably treated like the Stones' artistic high point. Oh, and both the video and audio transfer are barely passable, looking and sounding like a cheap VHS tape.
Honestly, how long is it going to take for the Stones to put together their own DVD history? A band with such a long and storied career could easily put together a collection that would rival the Beatles' Anthology and would render cheap drivel like this disc irrelevant. Until that day comes (if ever), you'd be well advised to save your money instead of spending it on this junk.
Guilty of botching the sex and the drugs and leaving out the rock 'n' roll.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: Infinity Entertainment
• Bonus Footage
Review content copyright © 2009 Victor Valdivia; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.