Detroit Rock City

Detroit Rock City
Director : Adam Rifkin
With : Edward Furlong, Lin Staye, Natasha Lyonne

In an age where films like “There’s Something About Mary” and “American Pie” are seen as legitimately clever and profoundly entertaining films, it seems a little odd that a similar film like “Detroit Rock City” barely managed to muster many even lukewarm reviews. The film is an effortlessly funny story set in 1978 about four likable high school stoners from Cleveland, who live for the music and attitude of Kiss.

These four kids have a band (Mysterious) that plays only Kiss covers, wear mostly black Kiss t-shirts and jackets, and smoke a lot of weed. Now being from Cleveland, for at least part of my life, helped a bit in identifying these people as at least historically accurate. These kids were a lot like many of my neighbors and friend’s older brothers! So I would argue that this kind of geographically based period piece, is not unlike many of the early John Hughes films. These movie are considerably more delicate undertakings than the more general teenage movie plotlines that deal with say- losing one’s virginity. Granted I’m nitpicking, but I think this film deserves credit for attempting to capture such a specific time and place the way “Dazed and Confused” managed to. After all a premise like “four high school stoners from Cleveland road trip to Detroit to see Kiss,” should be, and is, a comedic lay-up.
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American Beauty

American Beauty

Director : Sam Mendes
With : Annette Bening, Kevin Spacey, Thora Birch

I love backpacking when I’m on vacation, but every once in a while I have to admit it’s nice to sleep in a good hotel room with nice tight sheets and cool quiet air conditioning. I feel the same way about movies. Although I love gritty cleverly scrapped together independent films, occasionally it’s really nice to see a big budget Hollywood film, complete with stars, a high production value and a dramatic film score. In fact sometimes there is nothing more rewarding than that magical feeling you can get while watching a really intelligent studio funded pseudo art-film. If we’re lucky we get one or maybe two of these a year, “Shawshank Redemption,” “The Usual Suspects” and “Eyes Wide Shut” to name a few.
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