Reviews

Rocked with Gina Gershon (2004): Gina Gershon

Will Harris

Gina Gershon's made quite a name for herself as a B-movie actress.


Rocked With Gina Gershon

Cast: Gina Gershon
Network: New Video Group
First date: 2004
US Release Date: 2004-07-27
Amazon

Gina Gershon's made quite a name for herself as a B-movie actress. I'll pause for a moment to let any of her fans throw a conniption fit over my opening comment, yet if you really plan to argue that she's anything but, then perhaps you should pop over to the Internet Movie Database and do your homework like I did. This isn't a statement made lightly, because, believe me, if someone asks, "Who thinks Gina Gershon's hot?", I'm the first one with my hand in the air. But I checked and double-checked to be absolutely sure, and, when you get right down to it, the predominance of her career has consisted of roles in films that either did fair to middling box office or, in many cases, barely got out of the starting gate before heading quickly to your friendly neighborhood video store. Sorry, Gina.

As it happens, Gershon's recent collaboration with the Independent Film Channel, Rocked, is a tale about one of those films, Prey for Rock and Roll, written by Cheri Lovedog and Robin Whitehouse, and directed by Alex Steyermark. The film was based on Lovedog's real-life experiences as an aging punk rocker in Los Angeles, and it found Gershon performing her own vocals and, with a little tutoring from Joan Jett, playing guitar as well. When the time came for the film to be released, the distributors apparently put Gershon over a barrel and said, "If you don't go out on tour to promote the flick, then we'll only put it in three theaters."

Okay, so that's a quote from Gershon's voiceover during the opening credits of Rocked rather than from the distributors themselves, so it's hard to know if that's precisely what they said, but, whatever the case, Gershon clearly decided that her options were limited. So she found herself a backing band in the form of Girls Against Boys and took to the road.

Rocked is an interesting story of what an actor will do to promote a film that she truly believes in, but it also shows the lifestyle of a band on tour. Gershon, a diehard music fan, is aware of how the general public perceives the concept of an actor turned musician, and she does her best to demonstrate that she stands out from the pack. She's pretty successful at it, too. Her vocal range is somewhat limited, but, when she's really on, there's an undeniable similarity to Chrissie Hynde; when she's not on, her stage presence is still undeniable, with the phrase "smoldering sexuality" not even beginning to cover it. The shows may not sell out, but they're consistently filled with a combination of diehard fans, (her lesbian fanbase seems to be right up there with Melissa Etheridge's, if the interviews with the attendees are any indication), and curious people who just think she's hot and are willing to buy a ticket to see her up close.

Gershon's frustration at the film's distributors, who seem never to have promoted a movie in their lives, is understandable; viewers will be left just as seething mad as Gershon at the way they bungle chances to publicize the film at every turn. Despite that, she gives it her all at every concert, even when she's battling illness or sheer exhaustion.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the show is the opportunity to see various celebrities when they're being "just plain folks." Chris Rock, for instance, shows up backstage at one of Gershon's shows, and it's amazing how low-key and (relatively) soft-spoken he comes across. At the same time, though, Drea de Matteo, Gershon's co-star in Prey for Rock and Roll, shows that her roles as Adriana La Cerva (The Sopranos) and Gina Tribbiani (Joey) are really just opportunities for her to play herself.

Gershon's voiceovers are the only part of the show that gets tiring. She seems to be searching for a breezy, nudge-nudge kind of style, where she's talking to the viewer as if they're her buddies, but it generally comes off sounding forced. She'd have been better served to fill in the narrative gaps by interspersing footage of the tour with interview segments done after the fact. Also, in that she's an executive producer of the show, one can't help but suspect that this isn't entirely the no-holds-barred story of life on the road with Gina Gershon. Surely, any truly embarrassing bits were left on the cutting room floor.

Rocked with Gina Gershon will, if nothing else, make you think about indie films in a completely different light. The next time you walk into a video store and see a movie on the shelf that you never even knew was in theaters, your instinct won't be to think that it's awful; instead, you'll think, "Geez, this movie's promoters must've really sucked!"

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

It's just past noon on a Tuesday, somewhere in Massachusetts and Eric Earley sounds tired.

Since 2003, Earley's band, Blitzen Trapper, have combined folk, rock and whatever else is lying around to create music that manages to be both enigmatic and accessible. Since their breakthrough album Furr released in 2008 on Sub Pop, the band has achieved critical acclaim and moderate success, but they're still some distance away from enjoying the champagne lifestyle.

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image