Rock: It's Your Decision is a 1982 Christian film about the evils of rock music.
The film centers on Jeff Sims, a teenager who is put under a bet by a preacher to give up rock music for two weeks, and research whether or not it's good for him as a Christian. Jeff takes him up on it, and soon ends up alienating everyone in sight as he becomes increasingly against rock and roll.
Trope: It's Your Decision:
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Jeff's mother wanted her son to stop listening to rock music. He did and becomes an ungodly pain in the ass who treats her much worse than he did prior to her intervention in his life.
- Black-and-White Insanity: Jeff sees all rock and seemingly all popular music as evil and immoral by the end, even fairly harmless stuff like The Eagles and even Captain and Tennille, pretty much the last pop act anyone could accuse of being sinful or dangerous. He also directs his ire towards the soap operas his mother enjoys as well for similar reasons.
- Broken Aesop: The action in this film is spurred by Jeff's mother becoming concerned about Jeff's recent bad attitude. Examples of his "bad" behavior include mouthing off to his mother and other boundary-pushing behaviors found in pretty much all children of any time period. In fact, Jeff seems to be a pretty good kid; he even feels guilty about talking back to his mother and delivers an unforced apology. It's later, after he's supposedly a better person, that he unrepentantly screams at her for being a hypocrite. Somehow showing us a kid that's pretty normal, or even better-behaved than average (if anything, talking back to your parents at least a little bit is considered healthy, part of a perfectly normal stage of development as a teen begins to set boundaries and define themselves as separate from their parents), turning into a judgmental creep doesn't exactly sell the "rock music makes your kids rebellious" message.
- Clueless Aesop: The movie is supposed to have "Rock music will lead you down a life of sin if you don't reject it and accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior" as an aesop. It might've done an adequate job... if the main character didn't instantly turn into a supreme Jerkass and a holier-than-thou religious zealot when he finally did, turning on his friends and even his own family (who were trying to steer him away from rock music in the first place) when he starts viewing his mother's soap operas as evil, too, and ending the special raving about the evils of rock music (and homosexuality while he's at it) in front of his church group. In addition, Jeff prior was a perfectly normal and well-behaved kid whose only crimes were being a little bit mouthy to his mother, making any concern about how he is going to end up seem completely irrational.
- Easy Evangelism: Jeff goes from a rock fan to a rock hater at his pastor's and his parents' urging.
- The Fundamentalist: Hoo boy, Jeff. After changing his views, he becomes an insufferable, self-righteous boor who his former friends can understandably no longer tolerate.
- HeelFace Turn: What we're expected to see Jeff's arc as. It doesn't quite work, to put it mildly.
- HeelFaith Turn: Jeff's arc is intended as this. It ends up as something else entirely.
- Heteronormative Crusader: Jeff brings up some rock musicians being gay as a mark against the genre at the end. Especially jarring as it's the only mention of that in the whole film.
- Hitler Ate Sugar: Some rock stars lived "immoral" lives, and there were even a few who sang about it. Therefore all rock music, or even all "secular" music, is automatically an endorsement of Satanism and the Occult, drugs, drunkenness and promiscuity. Even Captain & Tennille.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Jeff's mother uses a pastor to get her son off rock music, which ends up making him a loony fundamentalist that berates her for watching soap operas.
- Informed Flaw: The plot is kickstarted by Jeff's mother feeling his bad behavior is due to his music and the film expects us to agree. But Jeff really doesn't seem bad at all. He's a bit mouthy but that's normal for any teen and he even sincerely apologizes at one point for getting angry at his mom. He's overall less a sinner headed down a bad road than a normal kid who just happens to like rock music. If anything, he becomes much worse after changing his views on the subject.
- Large Ham: Jeff's speech at the end is done with more ham than William Shatner could ever hope to amass, and Jeff also serves it up with plenty of stuffing and gravy. Seriously, don't watch that scene while eating or drinking anything, because you'll start laughing so hard you'll choke.
- The New Rock & Roll: The entire film is basically the tract "The music Kids These Days are listening to is evil!" in movie form. Well the music their parents listened to at that age anyway, thanks to Two Decades Behind.
- Parental Hypocrisy:
- Pastor Owen tells Jeff's mother that while she may not approve of his listening to rock music, scripture can be interpreted just as easily against her hobby of watching soap operas. She ignores this. Later, when Jeff angrily calls her on condemning his behavior while watching "sex with commercials", she gets defensive and slaps him. Near the end, a line implies she is re-evaluating her lifestyle in the same way he did, and like him will begin preaching against something she once enjoyed harmlessly.
- Marty sees his father this way for pressuring him into attending church on Sundays, but being a Jerkass and using profanity the rest of the week.
- Poe's Law: The aesop is so warped by poor delivery that it's indistinguishable from a parody of itself. As noted elsewhere on this page, it comes off as more of a warning of the dangers of Fundamentalism than of rock music, and Jeff comes off as a strawman.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Jeff's final speech against rock music brings up that some popular musicians are gay as a mark against it because the film makers apparently felt he wasn't charming enough already.
- Propaganda Piece: Being it's a fundamentalist-driven screed against the supposed "horrors" of rock music.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Pastor Jim Owen. While you may disagree with his views, he at least seems to have given them real thought, is fairly moderate about it and doesn't judge others for their choices, even seeming to understand why kids like said music. Contrast him to Jeff who becomes insufferably self-righteous and refuses to let anyone else enjoy music he deems immoral, even when at their home. Brad Jones even praises him as a decent character in his otherwise extremely negative review of the film. And in the re-review of the film, has him call out Jeff over his sermon.
- Rotten Rock & Roll: According to the film, all "rock music" endorses evil, even fairly moderate stuff like The Eagles.
- Satanic Panic: Throughout the film, Jeff gradually learns the supposed horrors of rock-and-roll and begins to perceive all of it as Satanic.
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Rock music's association with this trope doesn't do it any favors with Jeff and his church.
- Sex Is Evil: By the end of the film, Jeff has adopted this mentality. He tells his mother that soap operas are nothing but "sex with commercials" and attacks songs for having sexually suggestive titles and lyrics.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Jeff starts the film as a fairly normal, decent kid who just happens to like rock and metal music. Upon his conversion, he becomes abrasive, controlling, incredibly ignorant, insufferably self-righteous and even a bit bigoted to his friends, family, Pastor Owen, and even complete strangers. And yet the film bizarrely expects us to see his arc as a positive one.
- Two Decades Behind: This came out in 1982, long after the Christian backlash against rock music had become a joke in all but the most fundamentalist circles (which Jeff's church clearly isn't). Almost all of the songs Jeff cites are from the '70s as well, though album rock remained popular well into the 1980s.