Film Review – Meal Tickets (2016)

Title – Meal Tickets (2016)

Director – Mat de Koning (feature debut)

Cast – Dave Kavanagh, Will Stoker, Mat de Koning, Matt Doust

Plot – A documentary 10 years in the making, Meal Tickets follows the ups and many downs of Perth band The Screwtop Detonators and their attempts to crack the big time in the music industry both at home and abroad.

“They’ve got it all; youth, looks, attitude, they’re a gang, all things that are important in Rock N Roll”

Review by Eddie on 08/02/2018

If you’ve ever wanted to be a musician, be in a band or generally be involved in the music industry, then local Aussie doc Meal Tickets might be enough to sway you away from such a career path.

A passion project that was filmed over the period of more than a decade, West Australian born director Mat de Koning’s dedicated himself to following the journey of his school mates turned wannabe Rock N Roll superstars The Screwtop Detonators on their bumpy road through their music careers, as they attempt to break into the crowded American scene, while making their marks in the local Australian market.

De Koning’s film offers a raw and uncompromising look at the trials of such lofty goals, there’s nothing glamourous about the early stages of attempting name brand recognition; back ally bars, crowded hotel rooms and multi-hour road trips the order of the day and with that unblinking eye ,Meal Tickets becomes a real and recognisably human portrait that we can all relate to concerning the attempt to mould our dreams with the more harsh realities of everyday life.

The Screwtop Detonators themselves might be a bit of a mixed bagged, filled with loveable larrikins and more self-absorbed slackers but their always shown in their warts and all glory and their often unwavering attempts to crack the big time ring in memories and comparisons of other music doc figures like the great Anvil.

De Koning’s film also offers a look at one time Screwtop roadie turned solo act Will Stoker who briefly flirted with mainstream success in the mid 2000’s supporting the likes of British group Kasabian and by following this complicated artist’s trials and tribulations, De Koning’s film encompasses a wider reaching range of material that shows very much so that the Screwtop’s are just a drop in the ocean of bands who have tried in earnest to climb the pinnacle, yet remained stuck at base camp until it was too late.

Final Say –

Meal Tickets may be rough around the edges and unpolished just like its subject matters but De Koning’s documentary is an often eye-opening and humanly real examination of what it takes to make it in the music business and a must-watch for fans of the Australian music scene.

3 ½ broken down vans out of 5      

Meal Tickets will be available on Vimeo on Demand from March 31st. Pre-order your copy HERE

To read more about the story of Meal Tickets visit the films official website –

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