Detroit Rock City (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Not a bad entry in the "innocent stoner doofuses triumph over authority and bullies" sub-genre of comedies, Gen X style.

Four teenagers have only one goal - tickets to a 1978 KISS concert. Their moms don't really approve. "Do you know what KISS stands for, young man? Knights in Satan's Service." Given that they aren't going to be able to buy tickets, they have to figure out a scam to get in. Although they are complete losers, they eventually work it all out. 


several naked chicks partied outside of KISS's trailer

one anonymous fan got naked in the KISS audience

four words: Shannon Tweed fully dressed

 Some amusing 70's period detail (some of it anachronistic - two songs actually appeared after the events pictured in the film!), and funny real-sounding dialogue from the young performers, make it watchable. The critics had it pegged right at a watchable but uninspiring 2.5 stars. Half of the critics liked it, half did not. IMDb voters were similarly divided. It's a film with a defined target market, but it never did manage to get the message out to its target audience, and bombed el grande at the box despite a pretty good pre-release campaign.

Although it targeted people born 1960-1965, it was most popular with kids who recognized that the relationship between slackers and authority figures hasn't changed that much. Your likelihood to appreciate the film is inversely proportionate to your age.

Age IMDb score
under 18 7.1
18-29 6.4
30-44 5.9
45 or more 5.5

On the other hand, I'm in the bottom group and I thought it was OK

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1

  • see the main commentary

It is memorable as one of the few times Shannon Tweed (who is actually breeding with one of Satan's Aforementioned Knights in real life) kept her clothing on throughout a film.

This was one of the most sophisticated of the early DVD's, and is still near the top of the heap. It lets you choose between visual or aural menus. It has 15 minutes of deleted material. It has alternate camera angles on several scenes. It has not one but THREE commentary tracks (one by the director, one by the cast, and one by KISS!!), plus the script-to-screen feature. 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two and a half stars. Berardinelli 2.5/4, Apollo 60, 3/5.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 48% positive.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.2, Apollo users 85/100
  • With their dollars ... it bombed badly. Made for $15 million and released across an optimistic 1800 screens, it grossed only $4 million domestically.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. Fun for fans of KISS, 70's nostalgia buffs, and lovers of lowbrow "loser comedies". No crossover appeal if you aren't predisposed to like those things.

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