‘Red Rocket,’ written and directed by Sean Baker (‘Tangerine’, ‘The Florida Project’), is a major acting showcase for Simon Rex.
You might not have heard of him before, but Rex was famous for a minute when he was an MTV Veejay back in the 1990’s (Rex is also infamous for a porn video he did in the early 1990’s solely for the money he has said). Rex was also in a couple television shows and in the Scary Movie franchise. Moving to the California dessert in 2020 to be off the grid when roles, and jobs, dried up, and after many years of being multi hyphenate (actor, DJ, Rapper, sidekick to Charlie Sheen), Rex has been re-discovered and is just simply charming and superb in ‘Red Rocket.’
‘Red Rocket’ is a quirky and funny film about a broke former porn star Mikey ’Saber’ Davies who goes back home to Texas and to his ex-wife (Bree Elrod) and her mother (who both don’t want him) in the shadows of oil refineries, and on the cusp of Donald Trumps election as President. Mikey slowly starts falling for a local young girl named Strawberry (a fantastic Suzanna Son, in her first film role) who works at the local donut shop. He also has big dreams and an even bigger ego and thinks he can make Strawberry a porn star, and they plan to run off to Hollywood together, but of course with Mikey’s run of bad luck things don’t go according to plan. ‘Red Rocket’ is funny and tender, and mischievous (thanks to Mikey’s charm, aloofness, and a slight naivety that the world will take care of him).
‘Red Rocket’ is fantastic, and it’s all on the back of Rex’s performance. He’s just so adorable, and more important, very believable as Mikey. Director and writer Baker has done it again – his third film continues his string of excellent films that explores the inhabitants in America who struggle and get by on a dime and who exist on hopes and dreams.
We can’t wait to see what Baker, and Rex, do to follow this up. ‘Red Rocket’ is just absolutely charming, and one of the best films of the year!
Rex has won several awards for his performance, including Best Actor at the Independent Spirit Awards (Son was deservedly nominated for Best
‘Red Rocket’ is now playing in UK cinemas.
Review by Tim Baros