Thursday, June 9, 2011


Adam Rifkin, 1999
Starring: Edward Furlong, Sam Huntington, Giuseppe Andrews, James DeBello, Lin Shaye

Lately my roommates and I have been having some lengthy movie marathons. We don't really have similar taste in movies, so we've been watching a lot of '80s and '90s coming-of-age teen comedies, like Dazed and Confused and Empire Records. I had never seen Detroit Rock City, which seems ridiculous, but when it came out I was 16 and basically refused to watch anything other than horror films. I was afraid that watching it a decade after it's release would mean I was well past my moment to enjoy it, but I really enjoyed it.

If you also never gotten around to watching it, it's essentially a coming-of-age comedy with KISS. A group of four friends in a KISS cover band lose their prized tickets to the up-coming show and devise a desperate plan to see the band by any means necessary. They bust a friend out of Catholic school, steal a car, and hit the road. One boy has to face his dogmatic and religiously conservative mother, who rightly believes that KISS is the devil's music. Another faces a pack of bullies, a third joins a male revue contest, and the fourth relies on his wits and ability to run away from trouble and into some more.

The writing and acting are pretty standard for this type of film and I don't have many complaints. There's a predictably great soundtrack with KISS, Blue Oyster Cult, Thin Lizzy, Cheap Trick, and AC/DC. For some reason the film bombed at the box office, but has since become a minor cult classic, which is really no surprise, as I'm sure every KISS fan owns a copy. I really can't understand most of the bad reviews. One reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes says that the film is a "valentine to sex, drugs, and cutting school." That's pretty accurate. Though it will never be as wonderful as Rock 'n' Roll High School, I still recommend it, but only for people who like rock 'n' roll and fun.

I'm reviewing the region 1 single disc DVD. Though I haven't watched any of them yet, there are a boatload of different commentaries available, from the director and Gene Simmons (!!!), all of KISS and the cast and crew. I can imagine that they're pretty entertaining, but I don't love the film enough to watch it back to back. Next time.

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