'My Way': Film Review
Sound + Vision
Dominique Mollee, Vinny Sisson
The documentary from Dominique Mollee and Vinny Sisson chronicles a cross-country road trip undertaken by a pair of ambitious female rockers.
Most rock performers wait until they become famous before making a behind-the-scenes documentary. Not so the Rebekah Starr Band, largely comprising the eponymous lead singer and her tambourine-playing, Estonian BFF, Annika Alliksoo, whose cross-country trip to Los Angeles to perform on the legendary Sunset Strip and make a music video is chronicled in My Way. The documentary directed by Dominique Mollee and Vinny Sisson was recently featured at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Sound + Vision series.
The two central figures are certainly camera-ready subjects. Starr, originally Rebekah Snyder, got an MBA and embarked on a business career before facing sexism because, as she puts it, she was “tall and blonde.” She decided to pursue her dream of becoming a rock star, much to the consternation of her husband, Mike.
Realizing that they’re not going to make it anywhere in the small Pennsylvania town of Kittanning (population: under 6,000), the comely duo sets off on a road trip with a video crew in tow. Losing their crew halfway through the journey, the women promptly get a video camera at Best Buy and continue on their way. Stopping in such cities as Louisville and Nashville, they perform gigs at local clubs and hawk their CDs, drinking and partying heavily and making new friends — not difficult to do when you look like that — who enable them to get by on minimal resources.
“We could survive off the generosity of others,” Starr observes, even while ignoring the increasingly plaintive voicemail messages from her bereft husband.
Enjoyment of this home movie-style exercise is largely dependent on rooting for the spunky duo as they pursue their goal. Unfortunately, their charms wear thin rather quickly, and the film’s attempts at adding drama, such as when Annika storms offstage in a huff when they’re finally performing at Los Angeles’ Cat Club after Rebekah invites audience members to jump onstage and bang on tambourines, aren’t exactly earthshaking. At least adding to the authenticity are onscreen comments by the likes of such rockers as Steven Adler (Guns N’ Roses), Rikki Rocket (Poison) and Chip Z’Nuff (Enuff Z’Nuff), as well as, for some reason, porn legend Ron Jeremy.
Starr is not without talent, and since the film was made her band has achieved some success with their singles and videos. But despite its effort to double as a sincerely impassioned message about female empowerment, My Way mainly comes across as a relentlessly self-serving promotional vehicle.
Production: RSB Project, Nine22Ideas
Directors/directors of photography: Dominique Mollee, Vinny Sisson
Producer/executive producer: Rebekah Snyder-Starr
Editors: Logan Boettcher, Vinny Sisson
Composer: Diego Tovar
No rating, 93 minutes