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Film: Detroit Rock City
Sometimes to be tough you need to be tender

Detroit Rock City is a 1999 comedy film staring Edward Furlong, Guiseppe Andrews, James De Bello, and Sam Huntington. Set in January of 1978, the film follows four high school students who are trying to gain entry to a sold-out KISS concert. The film was a box office flop and was met with mixed reviews from critics, but among KISS fans it has become a Cult Classic.

This Movie Contains Examples Of:

  • Abusive Parents: Jam's mom never turns down the opportunity to belittle him and tell him how horrible of a son he is simply because he listens to "Satanic" KISS records.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Inverted; Jam is the sweetest of the four.
  • Bad To The Bone: A badass moment is underscored by "Iron Man".
  • Berserk Button: When Kenny and Bobby destroy Hawk's Love Gun 8-track, it prompts Hawk to retaliate with violence. His friends quickly follow suit.
    • Hawk loses it again when his half-witted bandmate it's Trip costs them a set of replacement tickets.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While the boys did succeed in their goal of making it to the KISS concert, Jam may spend the next 2 years at a religious boarding school where he'll be cut off from his friends and likely miserable.... or perhaps not, given that he did stand up to his mom.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Trip's stolen wallet.
  • Cool Car: Averted. The car that the boys "borrow" from Lex's mom to get to the concert is a brown Volvo sedan.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In Jam's subplot, he runs into both his mother and Beth while wandering the streets of Detroit.
  • The Ditz: Trip.
  • Face Your Fears: Every one of the boys has to overcome his own personal demons over the course of this film.
    • Lex has to face his fear of dogs.
    • Hawk has to overcome his stage fright.
    • Jam has to confess how he feels to the girl he likes, as well as stand up to his mother.
    • Trip actually has to use his brain to solve a dilemma.
  • Fanservice Extra: Averted. The strip-club patron who takes an interest in Hawk is played by Shannon Tweed, a former Playboy Playmate who made a career out of taking her clothes off in B-movies that typically aired on late-night Cinemax or Showtime. In this movie, however, she keeps her clothes on.
    • Perhaps understandably, since she was by this point the mother of Nick and Sophie Simmons. Eventually she and Gene tied the knot, too.
  • Garage Band: Mystery
  • Genius Ditz: In an uncharacteristic moment of quick thinking, Trip tricks the security at the KISS concert into believing that Chongo and his crew beat he and his friends up and stole their tickets. This ultimately enables the boys to gain entry to the concert.
  • In-Joke \ It Will Never Catch On: At one point in the film Christine comments that "Disco is so huge right now it wouldn't surprise me if KISS did a disco song," prompting dismissive laughs from the guys. One year after the film takes place KISS would release the disco song "I Was Made For Loving You", much to the dismay of many of their fans.
  • Jerk Jock: Chongo - but then again his aggression is understandable since Trip tried to rob his little brother.
  • Joisey: Although the film is set in Michigan, all of the disco fans speak with New Jersey accents for some reason.
  • Large Ham Announcer: The MC in the strip club, played by adult film star Ron Jeremy.
  • The Movie: The working title for Detroit Rock City was The KISS Movie.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Jam loses his virginity in a church confessional booth.
  • Mrs. Robinson: The aforementioned Ms. Tweed plays a cougar who offers money to Hawk for sex. He refuses the money up front, they have sex anyway, and she STILL gives him the money.
  • My Beloved Smother: Jam's chain-smoking, bible-thumping mom who burns the gang's KISS tickets. She doesn't even let him get dressed in private.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: Lex is definitely the fourth man of the lineup.
  • The Seventies: And how. The opening title sequence is a catalog of every significant media trend of the decade, interlaced with KISS footage.
  • Sex as a Rite-of-Passage: After losing his virginity to Beth, Jam finally works up the courage to stand up to his mother, and acts noticeably more self-confident and less meek for the remainder of the film.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: The backstage area of the KISS concert is portrayed as a hive of hedonism and debauchery, complete with a jacuzzi full of beautiful topless women.
  • Shown Their Work: The feud between disco fans and rock fans depicted in this film was a real thing. By the late 1970s anti-disco sentiment was growing across the United States, with many people wearing t-shirts bearing slogans such as "Disco Sucks" and "Death Before Disco". In 1979 the public backlash against disco resulted in Disco Demolition Night, a massive anti-disco demonstration that made national news and is credited with playing a major role in Disco's fall from popularity.
  • Speed Sex: Between Hawk and the "cougar". The second time goes better.
  • The Stoner: All of them to different degrees.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Kenny and Bobby are a pair of cocky, aggressively macho disco fans.
  • Theme Naming: The female characters Beth and Christine both share their names with KISS songs.
  • Toronto Doubling: Most of the movie was filmed in Toronto, despite being set in Detroit.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In an attempt to overcome his stage fright, Hawk drinks a large amount of alcohol before performing his strip tease. This results in him throwing up onstage and filling up an entire pitcher.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Lex is terrified of dogs, something that he has to overcome to save Christine.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Hawk does a striptease to KISS's "Strutter".
Desert HeatFilms of the 1990sDeuce Bigalow
Dazed and ConfusedThe SeventiesDick

alternative title(s): Detroit Rock City
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