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Four members of a high school band called Mystery do everything they can to attend a KISS concert in Detroit. In order to make it to the show they must steal, cheat, strip, deal with an anti-rock mom and generally do whatever it takes to see the band that has inspired them to be musicians. Written by
an Urban Achiever
I was a huge KISS fan for much of my teenage life (finally seeing the original band on their 1996 Reunion Tour was one of the highlights of my life, as I was too young to witness them in their '70s heyday), so DETROIT ROCK CITY was mandatory viewing for me when it first hit video. I would've loved to have seen it during its short theatrical run, but sadly, this overlooked movie tanked at the box office and disappeared within a week of its release, which astounds me to this day, because even if you're not a KISS fan, any rock and roller past or present should be able to relate to this story of musical fanaticism, no matter what band(s) you might be into.
The film does share many similarities to an earlier classic, 1979's ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (starring the Ramones), but thanks to the more liberal time period in which it was made, DETROIT ROCK CITY is a lot more foul-mouthed and raunchier, which may have cost the producers a PG-13 rating, but it just fine by me... after all, real high school kids don't say "darn" and "heck," they spew the F-Word liberally into every sentence! Anyway, our story revolves around four high school misfits circa 1978 whose main goal in life (other than playing bad covers of KISS songs in their basement rec room) is to finally see KISS live in concert at Detroit's Cobo Hall arena. When one boy's fundamentalist Mom discovers the "demonic" concert tickets in her son's jacket and burns them, it sets the four friends on a quest to figure out how to get into the concert at all costs, and they set a hilarious series of misadventures in motion along the way. In no particular order, the boys run afoul of a gang of disco-loving toughs on the highway, get mixed up in the middle of a convenience store robbery (thwarted by a Stretch Armstrong doll!), take the stage in a male strip joint to win money for tickets, get their car towed from the mean streets of Detroit, and rescue one of their own from a Christian boy's school. The film's eye candy quotient is filled very nicely by a cameo from Shannon Tweed (real-life companion of Kiss' Gene Simmons), and there's even a tender moment of teenage romance as one boy loses his virginity (in a church's confessional no less!). All this madness is set to an irresistible hard-rockin' soundtrack that features not only Kiss but other 70s titans like Blue Oyster Cult and Ted Nugent. Do the boys finally make it to Cobo Hall to see their heroes? I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet, therefore I highly recommend that you check out this overlooked comedy gem. DETROIT ROCK CITY is a hysterical trip down memory lane for anyone who's ever cranked up their favorite song extremely LOUD...and as Kiss themselves once said, if it's too loud,you're too old. Thankfully I'm not too old to enjoy this movie!!
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