Gypsy 83 (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The typical coming-of-age film goes like this:

(Some outsiders) fear being stuck in (typical rust belt or bible belt town) forever, trapped among (jocks, in-crowders, cheerleaders) who don't recognize their inner beauty. They take their only refuge in each other, and in maintaining a sarcastic posture toward everyone in their world. Since they can't remain high-school outsiders for life, they use (football, music, brains) to escape their dreary life. Whew! They really need a road trip. They set out for (New York, California) on a journey of self-discovery with some fellow outsiders, chasing some (idealistic dream). They meet many colorful people along the way, including role models as well as people who laugh at them and use them. They lose their virginity in literal and figurative ways. After considerable hardship, they (become a star, overcome personal fears, get accepted at Harvard), and find an adult world in which they belong. They look forward to a new life outside of (typical rust belt or bible belt town), somehow wiser for their travails.

The tone of the film will be some mixture of self-pity, sophomoric humor, and sentimentality, mixed to the taste of the director.

This film follows the formula completely. In the underlined areas, please insert: "Goths", "Sandusky", "in-crowders", "music", "Stevie Nicks impersonating contest", and "overcome personal fears" (with a hint of "become a star"). In the tone department, it is heavy on self-pity, spiced with sentimentality. Not much humor.

Sara Rue, star of TV's "Less than Perfect" plays the Grand Goth Gypsy, whose obsession with Stevie Nicks is the second most dominating factor in her psyche, second only to the emptiness left when her mother abandoned her to "become a star." Although overweight, 25 years old, and paralyzed by stage fright, she is still harboring her adolescent dreams of a singing career of her own. She makes her peregrinations to find the true Stevie scene and to seek word of her mom. She is companied by her gay goth friend, and together they pass uncomfortably through Middle America on their way to the Big Apple and The Night of 1000 Stevies (which is a real annual event). Along the way, Gypsy manages to be exploited sexually by an Amish guy, which certainly sounds like I made it up to make fun of the film, but is in fact exactly what happened!

Although not an especially good film, neither is Gypsy 83 a bad one. It has its charms but, unlike more mainstream coming-of-age sagas, its appeal is limited to a fairly small audience. This story reinforces my belief that no matter how obscure your sub-culture, somebody will eventually make a film that really seems to capture your awakening from adolescence. If you lived in Red State America and were part of the Goth scene, or if you had a sexual orientation that didn't fit into the mainstream small town values of the place where you grew up, than you may find this film affecting.


Sara Rue shows her enormous breasts in good light, just before a sex scene.

Anson Scoville shows his buns in the sex scene with Rue.

DVD info from Amazon

  • widescreen

  • footage from the real Night of 1000 Stevies

  • several deleted scenes (including one scene deeper and more personal than anything in the film).

  • full length director's commentary for the film, and also over the deleted scenes

Unfortunately for those who invested in this film, that target audience is so small that the film was made in 2001, was released in one theater, then took three years to move to DVD. The high score at IMDb is probably an indication that the only people who have seen the movie are those who were predisposed to like it and made an effort to seek it out. 80% of the voters have scored it a seven or higher! If it were seen by a larger and more heterogeneous group, it would probably be in the mid 5s.

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

  • Box office - it was not quite straight-to-vid. It played in one New York theater for five weeks, grossing a total of $29,000. At New York prices, that means about 3,000 people saw it in 35 days. Assuming three shows a day, that means it played to an average audience of 30 people
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. Typical coming of age film spiced with odder characters than usual. Neither very good nor very bad. Probably enjoyable if you had a Goth period of your own, or if you just can't get enough of Stevie Nicks.

Return to the Movie House home page