Detroit Rock City
Detroit Rock City is a 1999 cult film about four teenagers in a Kiss cover band who try to see their idols in Detroit in 1978. Detroit Rock City takes its title from the Kiss song of the same name. The movie bombed at the box office, grossing fewer than five million dollars domestically, and it disappeared from theaters somewhat a month and a half after its release. Detroit Rock City has since become a cult classic for Kiss fans, rock music fans and metalheads in general. The movie was originally to be called The Kiss Movie. Detroit Rock City has been often compared to the 1993 film Dazed and Confused.
Detroit Rock City starts in Cleveland, Ohio 1978 Mrs. Bruce (Lin Shaye) is relaxing at home when she plays a Kiss record thinking it’s a Carpenters album. This greatly disturbs Mrs. Bruce, who believes that KISS is “the Devil’s Music” Three blocks away in a basement, Hawk, Lex, Trip, and Jam are four rebellious teenagers whom emulate Kiss in the tribute band called MyStery. Jam’s ultra-conservative mother, Mrs. Bruce, races up to the home and drags Jam to the car and throws away Jam’s Love Gun album.
The three remaining boys discover that their KISS concert tickets are missing in the morning figuring that Trip’s jacket carrying the tickets got swapped with Jam’s. Jam is not able to retrieve the tickets from his jacket before school. As Jam is talking to his crush, Beth (Who Unknowingly also has a crush on jam), Jam’s mother comes over the P.A and demands him to come to the office. He arrives and is made to sit while he watches in silence as Jam’s mom lights the KISS tickets on fire and uses them to light her cigarette. With the other three in the distance watching in horror as their concert experience to be shattered.
Mrs. Bruce rips Jam out of school and storms off then places Jam in a Catholic boarding school upstate. This leaves the remaining boys in a state of shock but are shortly brought out of it by the schools security guard:an older greaser nicknamed “Elvis”. They quickly run off to the girls bathroom in the second floor. While everything is clear the boys spots a girl going to the bathroom they quickly stand a on a toilet. the toilet the boys are standing on breaks due to their weight and also destroy the bathroom stalls.
While in workshop three remaining boys hear a radio contest for KISS concert tickets at Cobo hall that night. Forming a plan they get Trip out of class, so he can call the contest line and wins the tickets. They ditch school to bust Jam out of the Catholic school again evading Elvis. Lex manages to take his mother’s Volvo while she is away at a conference so they can drive up to the boarding school. The trio arrives and hawk disguises himself as a passing pizza delivery guy and delivers a pizza is spiked with hallucinogenic psilocybin mushrooms to the priest that is scolding jam which makes him high as the guys bust jam out.
With the band reunited they head to Cobo Hall in the Volvo eating the remaining unspiked pizza. On the freeway a Solar Gold 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am) is riding their bumper. Trip drops some pizza on his lap and Trip throws the slice of pizza out of the window. It hits the windshield of the car Trans-Am carrying some disco-loving “guidos” and their “stellas”. The Trans Am regains control and then pulls beside the Volvo demanding that they pull over and begin to ram the boys. Pulling in front and stopping them, pulls out Hawk and rubs his face in the pizza on the windshield upsetting one of the Stellas and she leave, walking down the freeway.
Discovering that they listen KISS, the Guido rips a 8-track of the Kiss album Love Gun and tosses it into the way of an oncoming truck, smashing it. After a quick discussion Hawk knocks the guy to the ground. they then leave the car that the guidos were driving in a ditch. The Guidos and remaining Stella awake from a daze and find that they are chained to a guard rail, and their faces are painted to look like Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. Christine, one of the stelas who walked away from the fight between Hawk and the Guido, is walking down the road and the boys decide to give her a ride. While in the car, Trip lights up a joint and passes it to Christine, who later passes out and is left in the car when they reach Detroit.
When they get to Detroit, they find out that Trip did not stay on the phone long enough to give the radio station his information, forcing the station to give the tickets to the next caller. Hawk breaks down in the elevator and attacks Trip. When coming back outside Lex notices that the car has been stolen, and they suspect Christine, who they left in the car. Hawk states that the boys go their separate ways in order to find Kiss tickets, and agree to meet in the same place later. When Jam starts to walk he hear something familiar and it turns out to be his mother. Mrs. Bruce finds him walking in front of her anti-Kiss rally, Mrs. Bruce grabs his shirt and tells him “I do not know how you got here tonight and i do not want to know all i know is you are going to pay dearly for this one young man” and drags him to a church across the street. Beth is sitting at dinner with her parents and sees Jam being pulled into church and follows him. Hawk than starts to walk around but when a ticket person tell him he has a ticket but for 75$ Hawk did not have much money the ticket person clams in order to get 75$ he needs to go a strip club but Hawk (whom suffered from severe stage fright) can buy scalped tickets if he can get the money and winds up dancing at the strip club to win the money for the tickets and meeting a MILF who is played by Shannon Tweed. Trip goes to a smiley mart store and finds 2 six year old kids to mug for their tickets but tells him Kiss sucks Trip gets ferious and grabs the boys toy and they run from him than inside the store he finds a blonde boy playing a Kiss pinball game. Trip tells him give his tickets to him but Trip is confronted by the 12 year old blonde boy older brother and his friends. Meanwhile Lex sneaks into backstage area with the Kiss loading crew to help set up the concert, but is soon discovered and found running away from hall security and manages to get where the band’s trailer is located Meanwhile, Trip tries to pay them so they don’t mug him, but they take his wallet and threaten him to come up with more. Beth finds Jam and starts to talk to him about how she loves him. Trip decides to rob the store to get the money to pay the kid, but another man beats him to it. Lex meanwhile is caught and tossed over a fence by the guards. A group of junkyard dogs almost starts to attack him. Trip manages to get the robber on the floor and saves the store. Even though he had the money his is again assaulted and robbed. Jam and Bess confess their feelings for each other (which they could never get the courage up to act on in school, and Beth is now moving away), and lose their virginity in the confessional booth. When the pastor comes back to the booth Jam starts telling him a lie story the pastor than starts saying underwear items Jam and Bess escapes from the church. When the dogs starts to kill Lex a little wiener dog-like comes with a Frisbee to throw. In a nearby building he finds Christine and his car in a chop shop with 2 drunk men, Hawk meanwhile starts to have sex with a MILF in a car. Lex than uses his newly befriended dogs. The dogs chases the 2 thugs into a back office room, saving Christine and his mom’s car Lex and Christine starts to kiss. Bess tells Jam to think about the what’s happening today and not the past they share one last kiss and says goodbye and Jam goes back to the rally, determined this time to take a stand. Trip pays the boy and thugs him. Trip has the toy when the 2 little boys also thugs him with a cupcake.
Jam finally stands up for himself getting revenge at his mother for her controlling and domineering ways by yelling at her before the assembled crowd, telling her that forcing religion and morality down his throat are the reasons that he has been rebelling lately and demands his drumsticks be given to him, only to get one of them back (the other one being broken in half, most definitely by his mother in protest). As Jam walks away with his remaining drumstick, his mother watches him with pride and a smile eventually stating that “They grow up fast, don’t they?”.
When the boys meet up again, none of them have had any luck getting tickets, so in a last-ditch effort, Jam decides that they should beat each other up and say that muggers took their tickets. They do so, and upon arrival at the concert, they tell the guards that they were mugged by four people. The guards don’t believe them, so Trip points out to the guards the thugs from the store, who are just entering the concert hall. The guard finds Trip’s wallet (with his Kiss Army picture ID) in one of the guy’s pockets, and hands him the tickets, ejecting the others outside. In the concert, Gene Simmons blows fire and spits blood, Paul Stanley sings his heart out and smashes his guitar, Ace Frehley’s guitar smokes and Peter Criss throws his drumstick into the crowd; Jam, jumping up, catches it, making up for the one that his mother broke. KISS plays the title song of the movie, “Detroit Rock City”.
Detroit Rock City