Detroit Rock City
Rating -

Comedy (US); 1999; Rated R; 95 Minutes

Edward Furlong: Hawk
Giuseppe Andrews: Lex
James DeBello: Trip
Sam Huntington: Jeremiah "Jam" Bruce
Lin Shaye: Mrs. Bruce
Melanie Lynskey: Beth
Natasha Lyonne: Christine
Miles Dougal: Elvis
Nick Scotti: Kenny

Produced by Michael De Luca, Kathleen Haase, Barry Levine, Art Schaeffer, Gene Simmons, Tim Sullivan and Brian Witten; Directed by Adam Rifkin; Screenwritten by Carl V. Dupré

Review Uploaded

Written by DAVID KEYES

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit through a film that felt like sticking your tongue in a fence of barb wire? Have you ever questioned the lengths a movie could go in testing your ability to stay awake for the entire running time? Have you ever witnessed a movie like "Detroit Rock City," in which the sights absorbed by your eyes reach the absolute core of cinematic idiocy?

Maybe you have, maybe you have not.

In any case, here is a movie not to be forgotten. Oh, it isn't something to enjoy by any means, but something to waste time, put moviegoers to sleep, and attempt to insult standard human intelligence. Certain movies are forgettable. Others are painfully remembered. This is the kind of travesty that sticks with you for the rest of your life, not because it's bad, but because it is dead from beginning to end. It is probably one of the first films in history to deserve a theatrical fast-forward button. There isn't even enough ambition in the movie to make us loath it.

The picture is the product of hair-brained, rehashed, stupid ideas that originate with teens of the 1970s--a time in which, I might add, drugs, parties, adolescence, stupidity, and alcohol were considered components in determining the adults of tomorrow. Such ideas are not that rare, either--in fact, almost half of the teen movies in today's market take place in the 1970s. Why that is, I dunno. The period may have been one of the greats for motion picture cinema, but it was also one of the worst for music and teen socialism.

Anyway, there's a story attached to all of this insipidness: four friends, also members of a garage band, have gotten their hands on tickets to their favorite rock band's concert in Detroit, Michigan. By this, I refer to KISS, a group that contains not one but four clown-like creatures, which can only be told apart from one another by the size of their hair. Nonetheless these guys idolize them--so much so that one of them, Jam (Sam Huntington) is willing to disobey his mother, a full-blooded member of MATMOK: Mothers Against the Music of KISS. Her attitude is the kind that believes music like this is the work of the devil (which seems illogical, because not even Satan would listen to this dull garbage). In attempts to keep her son away from this so-called 'devil's music,' she goes to great lengths, all of which are eventually defused by Jam and his buddies. The four eventually get in a beat-up old car, start driving to the concert, pick up on hitchhikers, shout out blatant dialogue.....yadda yadda yadda. You get the idea.

By bringing KISS, a legendary hair band, into this setup, the filmmakers were likely hoping for one of two things--either that people who love the music would dismiss the movie's uninspired tone, or that audience members would be all doped up at the time, and therefore find something mildly amusing about this ill-fated material. What they forget, however, is that moviegoers do not operate the same was as filmmakers--they are not morons, nor are they expected to fall for the most contrived, dull, tone-deaf things that show up on screen (that is, if you exclude "Patch Adams" from the evidence table). Things have changed. Movies about teens in the 1970s do not work anymore, because they aren't inspired, they aren't ambitious, and most importantly, they aren't funny. "Detroit Rock City" is a ponderous lesson in dead ideas and half-baked impulses that drive filmmakers to rehash them. To enjoy any moment of it is to enjoy sitting on nails.

© 1999, David Keyes, Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
All published materials contained herein are owned by their respective authors and cannot be reprinted, either in their entirety or in selection, without the expressed written consent of the writers.

© 2007