Gypsy 83 (2001)

Rating: C

Dir: Todd Stephens
Star: Sara Rue, Birkett Turton, Karen Black, Anson Scoville

A lot of this is fairly top-shelf cringe, albeit cringe of an acceptably earnest and heartfelt manner. Gypsy Vale (Rue) is a 25-year-old, unrepentant Goth living in the equally unrepentantly non-Goth town of Sandusky, Ohio. She works in a photo-lab located in the middle of a parking lot – this was the year 2001, remember, when developing photos was still a thing – and her only friend is gay virgin Clive Webb (Turton). Gypsy is obsessed with Stevie Nicks – apparently this was also a thing with Goths at the time. Who knew? I certainly didn’t. Must have moved in different Goth circles. Anyway, she and Clive decide to drive to New York, for the Night of a Thousand Stevies. Hilarity Drama ensues.

This comes in various flavours, more or less contrived. Gypsy is searching for her mother who abandoned their family, and also overcome the trauma of a third-grade talent show. They bump into Bambi LeBleau (Black), a once-famous artiste, now hosting a karaoke night at a roadside dive bar. Gypsy and Clive pick up a runaway Amish, Zechariah Peachey (Scoville), whom they rapidly turn Goth, and both fancy. Gypsy wins that one (and demonstrates amply she may be a godmother of the big tiddy Goth gf archetype). She’s not happy about it. Clive loses his virginity to a frat boy. He’s quite happy about it. We haven’t even arrived in New York yet, where the spirit of Stevie Nicks is beckoning. And twirling, probably.

I suspect most of the budget for this went on licensing music, with a soundtrack which runs from mainstream Goth like The Cure (it doesn’t get much more obvious than “Just Like Heaven”) and, inevitably, Bauhaus, through Apoptygma Berserk and Velvet Acid Christ to obscurist bands even I don’t know. They were probably big in Ohio. Outside of that though, it’s clearly trying to say a lot about surviving as an alienated youth in a small town, finding yourself, not dwelling in the past, being honest to who you are, friendship and loyalty. I probably missed a few themes. Naturally, it all ends up in a warm, fuzzy place, with both Clive and Gypsy in a better place. Rather than dead in a ditch.

While the performances are endearing. I never got a real sense of Gypsy being a Goth in  more than her fashion sense. The music is just so much background noise, and outside of the eye-liner and a Cure poster (top), she could be any kind of introverted teen. I guess this may be another theme. Goths! They’re just like the rest of us! Only gloomier! That’s the kind of level on which this seems to be operating. It clearly wants to be an “outsider” movie, yet is only one by the safest of definitions, in part because of its desire to be so inclusive.  Really, if getting to a Stevie Nicks fan-show is your biggest issue, Gypsy’s life clearly isn’t so terrible.