The general consensus is that Prey for Rock & Roll is terrible. In fact, the trailer looked terrible.
But it’s about a LA-based band named Clamdandy (shudder) comprised of queer women supposedly past their prime. One of my favorite scenes in Whip It! is when Juliette Lewis’s character Iron Maven admits to Ellen Page’s Babe Ruthless that she didn’t find something she was really good at until after turning 30. I root for the underdog. You know this. Bonus points for a movie that features Lori Petty and Drea De Matteo, the latter of whom broke my heart as Adriana La Cerva on The Sopranos and looks like she was born to play in a rock band.
That said, wow what a pile of garbage Alex Steyermark’s directorial debut is. He’s since retreated back to his roots as a music supervisor and I think that’s for the best. I had no idea that a movie which opens on close-up fragments of Gina Gershon’s bare midriff, leather adorned chest, and open pout had nowhere to go but down.
But the movie has bigger obstacles than poor technical execution. It’s hard to overcome a script as hackneyed as the one first-time screenwriters Cheri Lovedog and Robin Whitehouse penned. Let’s count the regressions and clichés. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, don’t worry about the spoilers. You’ll see them coming.
1. Gershon’s Jacki is a bisexual tattoo artist who discovered the power of rock through Tina Turner and Exene Cervenka. She starts the movie with Jessica (played by Shakara Ledard), an African American woman who she casts aside in the name of rock. By the end of the movie, she’s with a white bruiser convict with a neck tattoo who goes by the name of Animal (played by Marc Blucas, who most Buffy fans will remember as Riley Finn). But don’t worry. He murdered his pedophile stepfather to save his sister, Sally.
2. Drummer Sally (played by Shelly Cole, who I’m currently watching play Madeline on another WB/CW teen soap called Gilmore Girls) is not only a survivor of sexual abuse. She also gets raped by Nick (played by Ivan Martin), a junkie with a sick rape fetish who dates bassist Tracy (De Matteo).
3. Tracy’s a junkie too. That damn trust fund is an albatross. But don’t worry — she gets clean after Jacki reveals to Sally that she has a similar family history and the band write a song called “Every Six Minutes” about sexual assault. I should be more excited about a song that confronts and indicts rape, but Lovedog isn’t a good songwriter either. For a good example of an anti-rape song, might I point you toward X’s “Johnny Hit and Run Paulene”?
Or, since punk boys often misunderstood its message, let’s listen to The Raveonettes’ “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed).”
4. Sally is a lesbian and is dating guitarist Tracy (Petty). In addition to being punished by having to listen to the half-hearted efforts of lazy guitar students as an instructor, Tracy gets killed by an oncoming car when some no-goodniks of color steal her guitar.
But fear not. The band soldiers on. And yet, I have no real reason to care.