Detroit Rock City Movie Poster Image

Detroit Rock City

(i)

 

A valentine to sex, drugs, and cutting school.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive role models

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
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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.

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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:August 13, 1999
DVD release date:December 21, 1999
Cast:Edward Furlong, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Natasha Lyonne
Director:Adam Rifkin
Studio:New Line
Genre:Comedy
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong language, drug use and sex-related content

This review of Detroit Rock City was written by

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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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.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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 four young aspiring rock stars risking it all to see their idols, KISS. The four main characters are basically outsiders at home. Weather it's feeling uninterested at school, alone at home, or disco being at every corner the boy's risk it all for the chance to see the hottest band in the world. The movie is hilarious, outrageous, and can truly merge both the real and cartoon like world. Regardless of what others might say there are some good messages in the film. Some examples would be facing your fears, not being judgmental, and being smart. In the movie one character confronts his abusive mother, another faces his fear of stage fright, another faces his fear of dogs. In a scene regarding the boys helping the disco loving girl Christine, the boys assume expect her to be horrible and quite easy for her music taste; however that is not the case, Christine ends up being the opposite of what they expected. Towards the end of the film the burnout character Trip, who is insulted throughout the movie for lack of brains, ends up needing to use his brains when needed most. Regardless of the other reviews I have read, this will always be one of my favorite movies. And of course it is perfect for any KISS fan!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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