There is a buzz about Sherry McGrale’s band among those in the know. Her song “Never Knew your Name”, a song about the brutal rape of a young woman, is making an impact on the charts and Sherry is already building a reputation as a singer-songwriter. But Sherry already seems set on a self-destructive, sex and alcohol-fuelled descent, delayed only by her dedicated and devoted manager, Chuck. When Owen, a senior reporter from Hollywood music magazine ‘Vinyl Fetish’, is given the task of writing a profile on Sherry, he has a head start. As an old childhood friend, he already knows her background and even the story behind the song, an event that has cast a shadow over their whole lives. Setting off for Cocoa Beach, Florida, Owen realises this is more than an interview; it is an opportunity to confront the past and put their future in their own hands.
2001 – Certificate: 18 – American Film
Rating Details: Strong sex, language and rape theme
8.0 out of 10
Actually I wrote this on Friday last week, but anyway… I’m sitting here writing this right now, (by which as I’ve just mentioned, means last Friday and not today, Wednesday). I’m sitting here and it’s very warm, it’s 30C in my living room. (It still is actually; we’ve had such lovely, warm and sunny weather recently, not at all like an English summer.) I’m sitting here feeling stupid, because I got ready to go out to a gig, before noticing on the ticket that it’s actually tomorrow night, (which is now last Saturday night) and not this evening, (which then was last Friday night, obviously). I’m sitting here wondering why it took me 20 minutes to locate my wallet tonight (i.e. last Friday night), only to find it was laying in the middle of the floor in the living room. I’m sitting here wondering if this is the start of Alzheimer’s. Then again, I’m sitting here remembering that I’ve been a multi-tasking wizard at work this week, (by which I mean last week, although I’ve been pretty good this week too), despite my in-built gender limitations. I’m now sitting here thinking I’m suffering from some sort of hormone imbalance. I’m sitting here wondering why I read medical stuff online too. Is that all clear? I hope so, because it’s all pretty serious stuff, a bit like this movie.
It’s hard not to take a film like this seriously, especially when the rape scene was filmed in the same house where the director/writer was raped herself at around the same age as the character in the movie. I doubt that’s a technique described in many self-help books. This could have been a truly great film. It does manage to be a really good film, but it didn’t quite achieve that final leap to amazingness. Some scenes really worked well and I got a proper emotional reaction from watching them. But others were comparatively lifeless and I started thinking that they weren’t very realistic either. Unfortunately, because I need to take this movie seriously, I can’t really mention that the nearest it has to a hero, Chuck, drives a Volvo. Dear me, I’m really not in the mood to write this tonight. There’s lots of really interesting stuff I could say about this film, but I’m just too emotionally detached from it right now. I’ve got a bit of a headache too; I’ve just taken a pain-killer, which I hardly ever do. Your sympathy is appreciated. Oh, I couldn’t find a proper trailer for it anywhere either, so I’ve settled for an excerpt of one of its more interesting scenes. Well it’s got some singing, swearing and violence in it anyway.
Getting the music right in a film which relies on it as a major plot element is never an easy thing to do. In this case they’ve gone for a ‘lead song’ that sounds really like the Beau Brummels 1965 hit “Just a Little”. (Which I just happen to have an advanced pressing of, where the title etc is written by hand on the label.) This isn’t a bad choice, as it gives it an ethereal, timeless quality that works well in the context of its subject matter. The rest of the soundtrack is pretty good too. A lot was written and performed by Sonic Youth.
Recommended for musicians, band managers, journalists and Volvo drivers.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Under the circumstances, the fact that Sherry didn’t end up wanting to do something very nasty to Owen is pretty badass. In fact her whole reaction to his news seemed a bit subdued.