There is something universally resonant about a group of kids, usually from the sticks, and their journey against-all-odds to attend a rock-n-roll show. Ever since the first rock rolled, the movies have understood this primal urge and exploited it. Rock, Rock, Rock, The Girl Can’t Help It, Rock Around The Clock, countless juvenile delinquent films and teensploitation flicks of the Fifties.
Every generation has their own Rock, Rock, Rock. Robert Zemeckis’ I Wanna Hold Your Hand is a wacky comedy chronicling Pam Mitchell’s (Nancy Allen) and Rosie Petrofsky’s (Wendy Jo Sperber) attempt to get into the Ed Sullivan Show, Pam to shag one of the Fab Four, Rosie to snap a photo and launch her career as a photog. Dazed and Confused is Richard Linklater’s ballad to growing up in the Seventies, a film about a lot of things, not the least of which is seeing Aerosmith in concert. A low grade spin on the same theme is The Stoned Age, a pay cable classic about getting high and getting laid and a very funny obsession with Blue Oyster Cult. As if Aerosmith and B.O.C. weren’t Seventies enough, Adam Rifkin’s latest, Detroit Rock City, is the story of four teenagers who embark on a hilarious adventure to scam their way into a sold-out KISS concert in 1978.
The Fifties, Sixties and Seventies are well-trod territories. But we are just now starting to see Eighties nostalgia creep its way onto the Big Screen. What would a gotta-get-to-the-big-show show set in 1983 be like, outside of the Members Only jackets and parachute pants? The following are suggested synopses for the next wave of fond memories.
With Or Without You: High school sweethearts Corey and Tawny are splitsville after Tawny mistakenly assumes Corey cheated on her with Sandy during the Model UN retreat. The only problem is Corey and Tawny’s seats are right next to each other at the U2 concert. Corey, in the dude’s car appropriately named the Beast, and Tawny, in the girl’s Cabriolet, travel to the venue, each encountering wacky adventures along the way. Finally, at the concert, Tawny attempts to ignore Corey, but Bono, through the poetry of his lyrics and the power of his voice, teaches the teenagers a thing or two about love.
Here I Go Again: Butterwhipped fistbanger Todd and his metalhead buddies Chuck, Steve, and Dave “Dave” Daverson and their band Modus Operandi lose the Battle of the Bands to their arch-rivals Top Gunz, who get to open for Whitesnake as the prize. The Whitesnake concert is sold-out and why wouldn’t it be? They are the greatest band on earth. After losing the Battle of the Bands, Todd is a real jerk to Frida. She vows to get even with Todd by sneaking backstage and sleeping with David Coverdale. When she gets her opportunity, she can’t go through with it because she’s still in love with Todd. Coverdale is impressed with her devotion, and so he and the rest of Whitesnake travel to Todd’s house for an impromptu jam with Modus. Coverdale says, “Top Gunz were pussies anyway.”
Let’s Go All The Way!: Sheila and Toby want to make it, but are naturally afraid of taking the step. Obtaining conflicting advice from their friends, Sheila and Toby are more confused than ever! When Sly Fox announces a concert in Houston, Sheila and Toby know they must travel from Waco against their parents’ strict admonishments and their own better judgment. Unfortunately, when they get to Houston, they discover the show is 18 and over! Denied time and again as they hilariously try to sneak in, Sheila and Toby finally resign themselves to listen outside the back door. As the first chords of Sly Fox’s hit single plays, the rain begins. Sheila and Toby run to a nearby motel where nature takes over. As it happens, Sly Fox is staying there as well!
The Heart Of Rock-N-Roll: When a local preacher bans rock-n-roll, the youths in this Kansas town know there’s only one person to whom they can turn: Huey Lewis. A massive letter-writing campaign and bake sale elicits no response. Davis, Chongers, the Maestro and Missy know they will have to set out for Missouri and the Huey Lewis concert in Kansas City to bring news of their plight to the News. They finally get an audience with Huey Lewis who is sympathetic to their plight. Returning with them to their tiny burg, Huey Lewis and the News join the teenagers in staging a defiant gesture of civil disobedience. The band plugs in and performs a free show proving once and for all that the heart of rock-n-roll is still beating.