AIRHEADS (1996)

Directed By: Michael Lehman 
Written By: Rich Wilkes 
Cinematography: John Schwartzman 
Editor: Stephen Semel 

Cast: Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, Joe Mantegna, Ernie Hudson, Chris Farley, Amy Locane, Michael McKean, Michael Richards, David Arquette, Judd Nelson, Nina Siemaszko, Marshall Bell, Reginald E. Cathey, China Kantner, Michelle Hurst, Allen Covert, Harold Ramis, Lemmy Von Motörhead, John Melendez 

Three band members, hoping for a big break head to a radio station to play their demo tape and wind up holding everyone hostage with plastic guns when the head D.J. refuses to play them.


This movie came out at a critical time for me. When I was 15 and for some odd reason I remember every ad about it, the music video for the single BORN TO RAISE HELL by Motörhead with ugly kid Joe and Ice-T and even the premiere on MTV where it was obvious Chris Farley was drunk/high and the first time I realized he might have a problem.

I was the demographic for this movie that was for some odd reason Pg-13 I mean it was presented in the same way, but most of the material and spirit of the movie felt like this should have been an R-Rated movie. As it testily lacks the spirit and vision of over-the-top exuberance that rock was supposed to be but by the 1990s had mellowed to be more emo. Though these Characters obviously are more 1980’s types when it was hard rock, glam rock, and heavy metal. 

The film is the right film but at the wrong time. As it feels like a holdover trying to fit into the wrong time period. What I can appreciate about the film is that it works as nostalgia when radio stations still had power and were seen as important ambassadors between the bands and fans.

This film also unfortunately feels miscast. As much as I enjoy Brendan Fraser as an actor and he has proven to be versatile. He is just hard to believe as the lead singer of the band. Adam Sandler plays the drummer and is more the simple-minded of the group. He wanted to play the lead but the studio didn’t think he had any pulling power of an audience at the time.

Steve Buscemi is perfectly cast in the film, one of his first major studio films and one in which he is looked upon more as comic relief. 

The film is silly all around as you can’t take anything seriously. So that it comes off more juvenile than anything else

 The film has quite a respectable cast. Quite a few unfortunately in more small or bit roles. Even though Joe Mantegna is good, his look is less Rick and more disco holdover. 

The female roles don’t offer much other than angry girlfriend and object of lust. Which fits into the milieu and mindset of the time. As well as being treated more as eye candy. 

This film has surprisingly found an audience over the years, After the bombing in Its initial release. Due to not only bad marketing but it feels like it was over-marketed and misrepresented. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think It’s a good movie but I think everyone did try to make a decent film that came up short but deserves its Fans and its audience. 

It just wasn’t the great rock film people were expecting or at least hoping for. Somewhere there is a hybrid of this movie and PICK OF DESTINY where they swipe out each other’s weaknesses and build on each other’s strengths then maybe you would have the movie that the audience was looking for or expecting. If that film can still be made now.

As this film does have its moments, but ultimately fails to live up to the hype or potential. 

Grade: C 

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