Detroit Rock City

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Detroit Rock City Movie Poster Image
A valentine to sex, drugs, and cutting school.
  • R
  • 1999
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters are sexist, but female characters are strong and smart.

Violence

Some violence. Characters in peril, hold-up at gunpoint.

Sex

Typical for a teen comedy, the boys talk a lot about sex.

Language

The usual words.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drug use, including marijuana and drinking that results in getting sick.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is something of a valentine to sex, drugs, and rock and roll, to say nothing of lying, cheating, stealing, destroying property, and cutting school. Much of the humor in the film will be lost on people who don't know every KISS lyric and remember the KISS comic with the band's blood mixed into the red ink.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 16 years old Written byalibiXarcade March 27, 2009

Good but iffy.

It's one of my favorite movies of all time! A little obscene though.
Teen, 17 years old Written byCarrieKruger2267 April 25, 2016

An underrated masterpiece

Obviously this film is not for young children, the movie cover and the trailer should tell you as much. Nevertheless this movie is truly great. It is about fou... Continue reading

What's the story?

DETROIT ROCK CITY follows four high school boys who are die-hard KISS fans in spite of the overwhelming popularity of disco and the objections of the adults ("KISS stands for Knights In Satan's Service!") as they do everything they can think of to get seats to the concert in Detroit. One of the mothers burns their tickets and carts her son Jam (Sam Huntington) off to a Catholic boarding school that looks like it was dreamed up by Charles Addams. The other three have to figure out a way to spring him and to find four new tickets so they can see the show. This involves taking another mother's Volvo, feeding hallucinogenic mushroom pizza to a priest, entering a male stripper contest, foiling two separate robberies, stopping to have sex (one couple loses their virginity in a confessional), sneaking backstage, beating up some disco fans, getting beat up by various other people and by each other, and eventually making it into the sanctum sanctorum of the KISS live performance.

Is it any good?

There's little originality, wit, or credibility in the script, but in its own way it's genial and unpretentious and ultimately more winning than some recent overly focus-grouped big studio releases. Much of the humor in the film will be lost on people who don't know every KISS lyric and remember the KISS comic with the band's blood mixed into the red ink. And it is something of a valentine to sex, drugs, and rock and roll, to say nothing of lying, cheating, stealing, destroying property, and cutting school. Furthermore, it is very much a male fantasy movie, with four teen-age boys triumphing over huge bad guys and winning over beautiful women. It also includes one of the key cliches of the teen movie -- the character who has sex for the first time becomes suddenly more mature, braver, wiser, and more powerful. Parents of kids who see this movie may want to discuss these issues.

Most kids will not be interested, however. To the extent that the movie has appeal beyond hardcore KISS fans and those who appreciate the 1970's references, it is due to its young stars (including Edward Furlong, Natasha Lyonne, and Melanie Lynskey) and the loyalty they show to each other, to their idols, and to their dreams. This lends the movie a welcome sweetness that leaves the audience almost as happy that they make it into the theater as they are.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about one of the key cliches of the teen movie -- the character who has sex for the first time who becomes suddenly more mature, braver, wiser, and more powerful.

Movie details

For kids who love comedy

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate