Detroit Rock City

"Weak"

Detroit Rock City Review


In 1978, those gratifying but decidedly untalented hard-rock circus clowns known as KISS made a rotten yet strangely enjoyable Z-grade sci-fi flick called "KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park."

In it, the leather and spike-attired, goth-metal band members pathetically cue-carded their way through hero roles in which their famous greasepaint gave them superpowers which they used to battle alien invaders at an amusement park in between terribly staged songs. But they knew the movie stunk. The audience knew the movie stunk. It was part of the fun.

Twenty-one years later comes "Detroit Rock City," another KISS-centric movie that focuses -- wisely or unwisely, take your pick -- on the band's sadly dimwitted, white trash fan base instead of on the band itself.

The random and near-plotless misadventures of a quartet of Beavis and Butthead-styled high school stoners trying to score tickets to the big KISS concert, "City" isn't as bad, or as much dumb fun, as the band's earlier celluloid outing. But unlike "Phantom of the Park," it refuses (unfortunately) to acknowledge -- let alone embrace -- its idiocy.

It's fairly evident that unapologetically low-brow director Adam Rifkin ("The Chase") must have been one of these brain damaged dudes in the '70s, since he honestly wants us to identify with these losers, who are the movie's heroes only by merit of having their musical freedom of choice quashed by unfairly conservative adults.

Played all too well by Edward Furlong ("Pecker"), Giuseppe Andrews ("Never Been Kissed"), Sam Huntington ("Jungle2Jungle"), and movie rookie James DeBello, these dolts dumb-luck their way through a sloppy, soundtrack-and-sight-gags script that seems to have been inspired by a few too many bong hits. Most of the loosely strung together scenes -- many of which do little more than demonstrate the extent to which this guys will go to see KISS -- probably had their inception in ideas that started with the question "Wouldn't it be funny if...?"

More often than not the answer is no, which is a pity because some pretty good performances -- especially from Furlong, Huntington and Natasha Lyonne ("Slums of Beverly Hills"), as a disco chick hitchhiker -- are wasted on this energetic but futile fable.

The movie's saving grace is its antagonist, the venomous, Jesus freak mother of one of the boys who screams abusively and spits scripture in her quest to save her son from "the devil's music!"

Played by the fearless Lin Shaye -- the leather-skinned, dog-smooching neighbor in "There's Something About Mary" -- she is so hilariously hateful that you want to just jump through the screen and smack her. She's a character only an evangelist could love, and Shaye nails her with persnickety perfection.



Detroit Rock City

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th August 1999

Distributed by: New Line Cinema

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 21

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Lex, as Trip Hurudie, as Hawk, as Jeremiah 'Jam' Bruce, as Mrs. Bruce, as Beth Bumsteen, as Christine, as Elvis, as Kenny, as Barbara, David Quane as Bobby, Rodger Barton as Mr. Stewart Bumsteen, Kathryn Haggis as Mrs. Stewart Bumsteen, David Gardner as Detroit Priest, as Amanda Finch, Kristin Booth as Cashier, as Father Phillip McNulty, Cody Jones as Little Kid, as Chongo, Joan Heney as Study Hall Teacher

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.