'Tuff Luck': Film Review

TUFF LUCK Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Velocity Films

TUFF LUCK Still - H 2015

An amateur ode to almost-were rock stars.

In the world of Ratt and Poison, they could have been huge.

A homemade testament to every teenage rock band that seemed good enough for the big leagues but never quite made it, Andrew Klein's Tuff Luck tells one story that, aside from its tragic end, might well describe the trajectory of kids you knew from high school. First-timer Klein delivers an unpolished account of the eponymous band's rise and fall whose overemphasis on the sad death of drummer Todd Klein is explained by the fact that the two were brothers. Though the group was hardly well known enough for the film to attract attention beyond its South Florida home, there are likely enough aging fans of hair metal to ensure a small payoff as it makes its way crosscountry in one-off engagements.

Klein isn't the only one convinced of the skills of his brother and of lead guitarist Dave Scott: He's backed up by industry figures including shredding expert Mike Varney, who featured Scott in his Guitar Player "Spotlight" column and once offered to sign them to his Shrapnel Records label. But the group balked at the specifics of this deal — just as they had when an earlier incarnation, called Cryer, attracted interest from CBS. We're left with the impression that, if they didn't exactly shoot themselves in the feet, the young men expected a bit too much from any would-be Big Break. (On one occasion, they blew off legendary Atlantic producer Tom Dowd because they had no idea who the bell-bottomed oldster was.)

But they had fun, and they certainly looked the part, with haystacks of hair and spandex to match their late-80s glammy scene. Klein offers a bit more detail about personnel changes than we need, and not quite enough proof that their tunes were any match for their technical prowess: Though stage photos suggest they were fun in person, long clips of songs like "Sleaze If You Please" present a band that never approached the (ahem) songwriting heights of their more successful peers.

Production company: Velocity Films

Director: Andrew Klein

Screenwriters: Andrew Klein, Dave Scott, Matt McUsic

Producers: Andrew Klein

Executive producers:

Director of photography: Matt McUsic

Editor: Barry Kolsky

Music: Dave Scott

No rating, 97 minutes