Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Guilty Pleasures

Fave Rave: Detroit Rock City

I'm not quite certain why I love this movie so much. I'm not a huge Kiss fan-- not the way my friend Viktor Zeitgeist loved them as an teenager. I like them in sort of the kitsch-loving way I like Elvis. In fact, I had hated them in my 1970's adolescence. I felt like they were manufactured-- like a Heavy Metal Monkees, with bad costumes and even worse music. However, over the years, they grew on me as a reminder of a silly time, the same way disco music has.

Though I've warmed up to some of the music, I don't think that has anything to do with my love of the movie. I think that part of it may be that the story involves 4 guys who are about 17 years old in 1978 in the suburbs of a major rustbelt city-- my exact stats in 1978. In my case, it was Chicago-- in their case, a suburb of Cleveland.

The story revolves around the efforts of the four boys-- Lex,Trip, Hawk and Jam-- to get to a Kiss concert in Detroit. The boys are from very different backgrounds, but are united in their fanatic passion for the group Kiss. They've taken their love of the band to another level, forming a cover band that is, of course, horrendous.

There are so many reminders of the seventies and high school--spilling bongwater, jerks in Trans-Ams, high school security guards, crushes, etc that it's irresistable to me. In the end, it's a retelling of The Odyssey, set in the seventies. The night's journey changes each of the boys in a good way, regardless of whether or not they get to see Kiss that night (you'll have to see the movie to find that out!)

The movie tanked at the box office. It's only "name" actor was Terminator 2's Edward Furlong. But the movie's a gem, and the DVD comes with one of the best extras packages I've ever seen, including commentaries by director Adam Rifkin, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, cast members and Kiss themselves. Plus, it's cheap these days-- my favorite on-line DVD store, www.deepdiscountdvd.com has it for less than 6 bucks.

One related Fave Rave is the Kiss My Ass album. If you can imagine Kiss covers done by Lenny Kravitz (with Steve Wonder helping out), the Mighty, Might Bosstones, Garth Brooks and Anthrax.


lulu said...

One interesting fact about the Hell that is Mount Prospect is that Kiss played a concert in the River Trails Junior High auditorium in 1976.

I don't really know the full story, because I was still in grade school, but the junior high won the concert as some sort of a promotion sponsored by M&Ms. Sometime between the time of the contest and the time of the concert the band broke, and they ended up with a mini-riot on their hands.

My brother was there and has been dining out on the story for almost 30 years at this point.

Johnny Yen said...

Stxy, before they were big, played my high school, Lyons Township.

My ex-wife had a run-in with Kiss in the late eighties (1988?). She was going to live in England for a couple of months right after she finished college. She took a flight that was cheap, but you had to do a layover in Iceland. Obviously Kiss, who were pre-comeback, had to fly on the cheap to England as well. She said she remembers that they smoked like chimneys.

Remember when people smoked on airplanes?

Dale said...

I've never seen the movie but like KISS. That Garth Brooks cover of Hard Luck Woman on Kiss My Ass is better than any of his usual pap.

Johnny Yen said...

I've got to admit I do love Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places." My wife's cousin Larry and I became legends last year at her family's every-three-years reunion, when we got up and karoake'd to that one.

I'm a total karoake hound. I'm buying one for my step-daughter's birthday next month, but I think she's going to have to fight me for karoake time.

If you're lucky, someday you'll catch me doing my drunken version of "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." It always brings the house down.