| There's a sort of recrimination that accompanies a hangover, a "how-could-you-do-this-to-yourself" reproach. But there's a silver lining to that feeling: a realization that being profoundly fucked up and committing all sorts of crimes against good taste is outside of your normal behavior. We're quite willing to bet that Sophie B. Hawkins has never had that feeling.
As part of a series of short films about music, the Sundance Channel is premiering a documentary about Hawkins' 1996 US tour on September 15th at 9 p.m. For those of you who weren't listening to the radio much in the early-to-mid '90s, Hawkins is the singer/songwriter who brought us such ditties as "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" and "As I Lay Me Down to Sleep" (which supposedly spent over a year on the singles chart, despite being mushy and annoying). The film is called The Cream Will Rise, and if you're already rolling your eyes and squirming at the cheesy sexual-ish imagery, just brace yourselves for the next hour-and-a-half.
The film opens with some long, rambling answering-machine message from Hawkins to filmmaker Gina Gaston about Hawkins' ambivalence about fame (good thing she didn't have much to worry about there). From there, we get a shot of Hawkins' extremely well-tended feet as she prattles on about her ambivalence about her singing voice. Ah, criminy, there's some footage of the "Damn" video that MTV wouldn't air; it looks like the promo reel for a Playboy video that some film school undergrad got his grubby paws on.
On and on she goes, about her musical history, New York, Life On The Road, and we slowly begin to realize that she was probably stoned during 80% of the filming. Or more. How else to explain this outtake from her Tour Diary as she ponders whether or not to hang out with the other musicians on the bus: "I represent fulfillment, I am unattainable. To cavort spontaneously among them would require too much work on all our parts." Ugh.
We see more footage of Hawkins in concert (where, apparently, the same shirtless fan travels from venue to venue to perch atop an unseen companion's shoulders). We note that she owns maybe five shirts and that her hair is just all over the place, practically begging for a claw clip or a scrunchy or something. Then, just as we were getting used to her (well, almost, anyway), Hawkins' mom shows up and the film launches into the Twilight Zone. Okay, so Hawkins is an Artiste, and they tend to be a little screwy, and screwy kids tend to come from screwy families. Still, nothing prepared us for the Cloris Leachman manque that is Frau Hawkins.
Hawkins and the mum fondly recall brother Nicky running headlong into walls wearing a football helmet, dad hollering "Boooooooze!" as he entered another day of an apparently endless bender, how much Hawkins hated visiting a friend's house because the friend's pervy dad would make her sit on his naked lap. The rest of the film deals with Hawkins and mum attempting to communicate, starting to talk about sexual abuse in the family, going through therapy and sadly, falling farther apart again.
By the end of it, we felt extremely sympathetic to Hawkins, but we also felt like we'd been a party to some further exploitation of her, like we'd intruded on her privacy without intending to, even though she authorized the documentary.
Sophie, honey, if you're reading this, we're sorry about your family and we wish you the best. But please, get lots of therapy. And a few scrunchies wouldn't kill you either.