June 19th, Movie 20
I guess I did not know what to expect with Red Rocket, directed by Sean Baker. For some reason, I thought this was a French speaking film. I am not sure we could get further away from a French speaking film than this.
Former porn star Mikey Saber (Simon Rex) returned to his hometown of Texas City, Texas, to try and get his life back on track. He goes to his ex-wife (although she told him that they were still married) Lexi (Bree Elrod), who was living with her mother Lil (Brenda Deiss), and talked them in to letting him stay, promising to help pay rent.
He struggled to find employment as his porn star reputation got in the way, a reputation that he was actively trying NOT to hide. He winds up selling pot for a neighborhood dealer (Judy Hill) he knew from his days in Texas City.
When the money started coming in, Mike and Lexi started having sex again. However, after a trip to a donut shop, Mike met a seventeen year old girl Strawberry (Suzanna Son) who he fell for quickly and envisioned her as a porn star that he could manage, bringing him back to the top.
Simon Rex is a good actor and has some charm about him, but I so hated the character he played that I could not get past that. Mike is a horrible human being who is selfish, crude, cared only for himself, obnoxious… any sort of negative comment you could male about Mike would fit him well. He does not go on any sort of journey as out main protagonist, unless you consider him only getting worse. Not only is he having sex with the seventeen year old, cheating on his ex-wife, but he is preparing to take Strawberry to Hollywood and get her involved in the porn industry.
The other problem is that there just are not any characters here worth rooting for. Trailer trash, drug dealers, low lives. The only character worth anything turned out to be next door neighbor Lonnie (Ethan Darbone), who worshipped Mike and went out of his way to help him and eventually protect him. Mike did not appreciate poor Lonnie, and just uses the terrible thing that happened to Lonnie as a way to manipulate Strawberry.
The film ended with a scene that almost made me think that Mike would pay for his being such a jerk, but the movie does not take it far enough (although Mike running through the streets at night is pretty hilarious).
The actors all did exceptional jobs with their roles, but I just did not like anyone on the screen. The production of the film was top notch, and even if it is a metaphor for the Trump years, I just did not enjoy the trip. I was hoping it would end throughout the film.