Review: Red Rocket

Mikey (Simon Rex) is a washed up porn star that heads back to his hometown in Texas much to the chagrin of well, everyone. He drops in on his ex wife, Lexi (Bree Elrod) and her mother Lil. (Brenda Diess) He leeches off an impressionable neighbor, starts selling weed when no one will hire him, and then strikes up a relationship with a 17 year old Strawberry. (Suzanna Son)

Movies like this are an acquired taste. It isn't always easy to follow around a character as unlikable as Mikey. He has no redeeming qualities. Literally none. He's a dirtbag from start to finish. But, he's at least an intriguing dirtbag. He might not have the complexities of Bad Men™ like Tony Soprano or Walter White, but he's easy enough to follow for 2 hours. The film never tries to justify his behavior, especially when it comes to his relationship with Strawberry. We're never once meant to root for them as a couple. Mikey drops red flags where ever he goes, and I appreciated that the film didn't expect us to be indifferent to it. 

Director Sean Baker has proven to be very good at capturing these underclass stories. Though I'm not sure if that's the right word to use. I don't like how "low class" sounds. Paycheck to paycheck doesn't quite get the point across. So we'll go with underclass. Like Tangerine and The Florida Project before this, it has a very specific feel. A big part of that is Baker casting unknown actors.

This is easily Rex's best performance and Son also does a great job in a difficult role, but it's Bree Elrod that stood out the most to me. I thought she was perfectly cast and I'd love to see her in more things.

So is this for you? Like I said, it's an acquired taste, but if you're up with sitting with a complete asshole for a little while, you'll still get a decent movie out of it.

Grade: B-


  1. I wanted to like this so much especially after all the praised it received. But I found Mikey to be a insufferable presence. Rex's performance is solid, but I was never more ready for a movie to be over. LOL

    1. I completely understand that because Mikey sucks lol.

  2. I do want to see this though I still haven't seen anything by Sean Baker. I don't mind seeing films about irredeemable individuals yet I am intrigued by this learning that Simon Rex gives a career-defining performance.

    1. It's very well written to Rex's real life persona, IMO, which helps it. I still think Tangerine is Baker's best film. I liked The Florida Project too but that movie only works if you like kids. if you hate them, that's going to be a bad time. lol

  3. There are people out there that you wish had a redeemable quality but...don't. I'm not sure I will like like this movie but I would give it a shot.

    1. Mikey has none lol. He's a trash bag, but at least he's an interesting trash bag.


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