Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll

1991 Directed by John Mcnaughton. Starring Eric Bogosian.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Oct. 4, 1991

It's always been hard to figure out what to make of Eric Bogosian, and this quirkily-directed concert film by John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) doesn't help much. Neither a straight comic nor a serious monologist, Bogosian is instead a hybrid of the two; he's like nothing we've ever experienced before, and that has the tendency to disturb and alienate some people. In Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, Bogosian gives us ten different characters, from the jaded British rock star (which plays eerily like some of the bits from This Is Spinal Tap) to a stoned, paranoiac hippie, and from a jaded Long Island suburbanite to a pathetic, homeless can/bottle collector. There's no unity between the sketches in any tangible fashion, the exception being that all of Bogosian's pieces seem to deal with the hidden emotional horrors of life in the world today. Recurring undercurrents of homelessness, drug abuse, stupidity, and just a general feeling of spiritual malaise reverberate throughout all ten characters, and at times it all becomes a little off-putting. Nihilism can only go so far before it becomes repellent, and although the majority of Bogosian's characters are finely-honed archetypes that we've all met before (especially if you've spent any time in New York City), too often I found myself squirming. I suspect, however, that this may be just the reaction the actor hopes to create in his audience. Bogosian has always had a penchant for disturbing and (occasionally) mean-spirited comedy/drama, and this film is no exception. It's to his credit that he is able to evoke such powerful reactions from the viewer. Far too few performers are able to do that these days, and whether or not we derive pleasure from these performances is beside the point. After all, it takes a hell of a lot to make me flinch.¶Last week computer gremlins awarded this movie 1 star. The reviewer actually awarded it 3 stars.

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Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, John Mcnaughton, Eric Bogosian

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