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
by DAVID KEYES
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?
you have, maybe you have not.
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.
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.
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.
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, Cinemaphile.org.
Please e-mail the author here
if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.