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.
The film features a bunch of fresh young faces, at least as appealing as those in “American Pie,” and a wonderful understanding of the teenage male thought process. With the exception of Edward Furlong, a comeo by Natasha Lyonne, and Farrelly brothers regular Lin Shaye, most of the cast glides along as if they really were a bunch of teenage burn-outs cast convincingly to play themselves. The premise is simple: Lin Shaye playing the part of religious zealot and over dominating mother, decides to burn her son’s Kiss tickets, and in the process destroy the dreams of his three best friends. So what do they do? – borrow a car, road-trip to Detroit and break-out on there own to try to find tickets in. Along the way, all four of them end up in a variety of strange and hilarious situations. That’s it. Simple plot, but told in such a casual and entertaining way, that it shocks me how anyone could muster up the energy to actual resist finding this film clever. Well, I won’t bother preaching to the choir any longer, because if you’re reading this, I’m fairly confident you’ll enjoy the movie – and you should, shamelessly and unabashedly!