Gypsy 83 (2001)

Sara Rue, Kett Turton, Karen Black, John Doe,
Two young misfits head for New York City to celebrate their idol and muse, Stevie Nicks, at The Night of 1,000 Stevies. Along the road, in order for them to escape their painful pasts, they must discover their strengths and learn sel
  • 6.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Tim Kaltenecker, Writer:
  • Todd Stephens, Director:
  • Karen Jaroneski, Producer:

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10 / 10

The most intelligent and moving coming-of-age film in years

Gypsy (Sara Rue) is a 20-something girl working a dead-end job in an Ohio suburb, where she lives with her clueless but loving father (John Doe, of seminal punk band X). Her best friend, Clive (Kett Turton), is a creative gothy teen in the process of coming-out. They share the bond of having lost their mothers as young children, having replaced them in their minds with everyone's favorite fabulous surrogate godmother: Stevie Nicks! When they find out about NYC's "Night of 1,000 Stevies" they decide to put their lives on hold, skip town, and road-trip it so Gypsy can compete in the karaoke contest and maybe meet her musician mother.

The trailer for this movie was lame, and I'll admit I only rented it because I'm a Stevie fan and I always wanted to check out Night of 1000 Stevies. As I watched the opening scene (which was used in the trailer), I was expecting a silly popcorn flick. It quickly became evident that this was not a typical "coming of age" movie. In fact, "Gypsy 83" ended up being the most original, heartfelt, and well-scripted coming-of-age movies since 1997's "All Over Me."

The characterization is nothing short of brilliant. This is one of those rare films that makes you really fall in love with the characters, despite their shortcomings. Gypsy and Clive are complex characters and far from being the archetypes usually found in this genre. The story revolves partly around their relationship, and it is an honest portrayal of a "straight-girl/gay-boy" relationship that goes beyond the sexist and homophobic notion of the "faghag." On their trip, they bump into a handful of colorful characters that are catalysts for the personal growth of the leads. These include a sexy Amish runaway (Anson Scoville), a former wannabe-pop-singer turned small-town karaoke chanteuse (the fabulously strange Karen Black), and an RV full of obnoxious hazing frat boys.

The writing is clever and original. Gypsy's tough-as-nails comebacks ("try being a freak in the real world, you catty c*nts!" to a bunch of gay goth boys in NYC) make her an admirable character that is easy to root for. While the "gothness" of the movie seems off-putting at first, it is actually used in a clever and unique way. Instead of using it to be scary or to stand-out (a la The "Craft"), this movie uses it to illustrate the personal changes the characters undergo. There are a couple scenes that are a bit absurd, such as when they camp out at a rest stop, light a bunch of candles, and drink absinthe. But this is forgiven as it is a set-up for two very sensitive and well-written scenes.

Music is also a key element used to illustrate Gypsy's coming-of-age. In the beginning of the movie, we see her singing a song from her parents' old band. We later learn that Gypsy's mother, Velvet, taught her to play and sing Stevie Nicks songs when she was a little girl. The soundtrack is killer. There is little Stevie music. Likely due to copyright issues, all we get are remixes and karaoke renditions of "Talk to Me." There are classic songs by The Cure, a sexy siren song sung by Karen Black, and an achingly gorgeous original by Sara Rue (who rather sounds like a young Stevie but has a voice all her own).

Like the equally brilliant "All Over Me" before it, the lead characters face brutal situations, as well as amazingly happy situations. While not as bleak as that movie, "Gypsy 83" is a beautiful film about accepting and loving yourself and coming to terms with tragic events from your past. Sometimes cheesy but never cliché, this is not a condescending coming-of-age film. And hey, any movie that uses "twirling like Stevie" as a metaphor is brilliant indeed! My Rating: 10/10.

10 / 10

Pleasantly surprised, enjoyable movie!

This movie is REALLY cute. It's sort of a coming-of-age film which covers love, loss and sexuality. I wasn't expecting much of this movie but was pleasantly surprised. It's been awhile since I've seen a movie like this, it's a refreshingly off beat, funny, romantic drama. It was unpredictable and I actually cared about the characters (a big complaint for me with today's dramas is that the characters are unlikable or uninteresting, not the case here). Kett Turton's character Clive really steals your heart. I recommend watching the deleted scenes as they showcase more of Clive's back-story and Kett's acting skills. The characters and their relationships were very realistic, which to me is vital in movies. I could relate with their behavior in their situation, unlike a lot of young-adult characters, they didn't make decisions ridiculous and stupid enough to make me hate them (the actions of teens in main-stream films such as How To Deal and the likes are so stupid they anger me if I am ever forced to watch them). For those who are interested in this movie I also highly recommend Saved! also with Kett Turton, plus Mcauly Culkin and Jena Malone.

10 / 10

Very good movie

I really enjoyed this movie. The two main characters had incredible chemistry and I especially loved the story itself. The acting is in top form, all the actors did a wonderful job bringing a realness to their character.

I feel Stevie's management made a big mistake by not allowing ANY of her songs in the film. It would've added a little bit more to this otherwise perfect tale.

I bought the DVD yesterday and watched the extra features, I especially loved the "Battle of the Stevies" (although, there is no audio), it brought back memories when I went to "The Night of 1000 Stevies" several years ago. 10/10

9 / 10

Deceptively low-key drama that suddenly kicks into high gear.

What an excellent surprise GYPSY 83 has been, especially because the first ten minutes did not begin promisingly. This is a road movie that traces the emotional growth of two unlikely best friends: A brazen and outspoken girl in her early 20's who calls herself "Gypsy 83" and her just-about-to come-out-of-the-closet male best friend named Clive, as they travel from Sandusky, Ohio to New York City to attend the NIGHT OF A THOUSAND STEVIES competition---a showcase dedicated to obsessed fans of musical superstar Stevie Nicks. Both are into the "goth" scene, and Gypsy has dreams of becoming a famous singer. The first thirty minutes of the film are deceptively low-key, and then, just as you're ready to predict the rest of the plot, Karen Black arrives as a washed-up Karaoke lounge lizard, and---WHAM!---we're off in a different direction. By the time that Gypsy and Clive pick-up an Amish hitchhiker in Pennsylvania, who's running away from home, and who may or may not be gay, you know you're in a for quite a treat. And when Gypsy and Clive finally do arrive in NYC, the last 40 minutes or so of the film are so relevatory, so heart-warming, and so well-acted... be prepared to marvel (perhaps cry) at it's finale. GYPSY 83 is a film for goth audiences, for male and female audiences of all ages, for gay and straight audiences, and for anyone who's ever been a fan of 70's music.

8 / 10

Very good film

I have been looking forward to seeing this film for some time. I had read an interview with the director and couldn't help but be drawn to it. Before I begin, let me make the following statements:

1. I grew up in a small town in Indiana. 2. I have always enjoyed the music and culture of goth, but have never been a "part of the lifestyle" the way in which either Clive nor the mean NY goths were portrayed. I never immersed myself in it, never really wanted to. 3. I live in a major city now, one with an established goth underworld, one that I do take part in, from time to time. I still enjoy it to this day, though I am a bit long in the tooth for vinyl and leather.

Having made those disclaimers, I encourage anyone who takes a look at this in a video store but isn't sure that it is good, to pick it up, take it home, and get an excellent look at what it means to be young and outcast in a community that just doesn't understand you, nor cares to try. This film is a very strong and unforgiving look at the lives of two very realistic characters and their attempts to find somewhere they can be happy.

It is wonderfully acted by Sara Rue (whom I never saw as a dramatic actress or solid romantic lead until this film) with strong performances from John Doe and Kett Turton. Doe is an underrated actor and is perfectly used in this film. Turton's performance is either intentionally brilliant, or unconsciously precise. Clive IS acting when in his gear, an Turton brings forth an awkwardness in those scenes. When Clive's guard is down (the bathroom scene, and in the deleted scene "the accident") Turton is more comfortable in the role. I haven't seen the majority of his body of work, I will make a concerted effort now to do so.

There is a lot of commenting on Sara's appearance in this film. I must admit that I found her stunningly beautiful in this movie. I have always found her to be attractive and perhaps one reason is that she doesn't look like every other actress. But in this film it has more to do with Gypsy's attitude and style. I sincerely hope that we see Sara cast more as a main character and not just as a supporting role. She has the talent and skill to carry off most any role, and it is past time that members of the entertainment industry recognize that a woman with more than the optimum weight can still be quite appealing to the eye.

I don't know if the director, Mr Stepens, intends to continue making films, but I do hope he continues. I would like to see what other work might come from what I see to be a promising director. Likewise the other writer credited Mr Kaltenecker. This film works because of all the pieces, and writers never get the credit they deserve. Please bring us more, gentlemen. I will be looking for it, at least.

This type of film needs as much support as possible. It is not going to change the way LA or New York do business, but whoever said those are the only places for movies to come from.