THE STRAIGHT DOPE:
Fan obsession is a great subject for movies, particularly when they
explore the darker side of celeb worship: Just see King of
Comedy. The kind of celeb worship on display in My Life With
Morrissey, however, may be something you've never seen before. Jackie
(the nutso Jackie Buscarino) may be an assistant at a TV station during
the day but at night she tongue kisses pictures of the titular new wave
singer. Morrissey is a fitting choice for the film, even though he's
fallen a bit out of the spotlight. His morose asexual music instills a
sense of longing and empathy in his biggest fans that leaves them feeling
like he really knows their most hidden emotions. Jackie doesn't even really seem to respond to
his music however. She's totally, uncontrollably in love. There's no
rhyme or reason to her affections.
You can't really say the movie shows her descent into madness; She starts
out halfway there. But a chance encounter with Morrissey (she's puking in
a dumpster, he offers her a ride home) leaves her positive that they're
dating and, eventually, getting married. Her coworkers taunt her (except
for Ed (Ed Acosta) who's in love with her) but that only strengthens her
resolve: She WILL marry Morrissey.
The film does a lot with a limited budget. The cinematography is pretty
stylized and cartoonish, fitting the John Waters-esque vibe. In fact,
Jackie has a touch of Divine to her. The performances are all pretty
good, ranging from Amber Merlott and Ben Watson as more straight-laced
(but still sadistic) bosses to Jen Shahin, Rachel Round,
Amber Mann, and Meghan
Muccioli as a weird magic marker-huffing gang of high school lesbians who
accost poor Jackie. The supporting cast is filled with colorful performers
like these who make even the most minor characters memorable and bizarre.
Acosta is especially notable for how he turns the dweeb with the office
crush into something weirdly menacing but still harmless. "I mean when I
was in prison at least I knew where I stood..." he starts at one point,
before waxing poetic about his love life behind bars.
But the movie really belongs to Buscarino. Her Jackie is the Rupert
Pupkin of this tale and the entire movie takes its cues off her wild
performance. Unlike another stylish indie that I recently reviewed, Pop,
My Life With Morrissey may very well exist in the real world. It
seems to only be through the cracked lens of Jackie's perception that
everything comes out so strange. And as she goes more and more insane,
the movie does, too. She's got a roomful of Morrissey posters, a desk
drawer full of bagels and an inflatable doll stuffed into a smart tuxedo.
She's ready for her big day. Just don't suggest that Morrissey might be
The full frame video is fine, if a bit bland and dull. A bit more
contrast would have helped the film look as punchy as the script and
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is fine. The voices are mostly clear and
the pseudo-punk soundtrack is lively and appropriate. (Note: No Morrissey or Smiths songs are actually in the film. Sorry.)
A commentary track featuring the director along with some of the crew and
cast is okay, but not necessarily fascinating. This feature is becoming a
little less exciting as more and more releases include it. Not knocking the participants here but this commentary (like many recent commentaries) isn't needed.
interest is Real Life with Morrissey, a video documentary on
actual fans. While many of the folks interviewed here have traveled long
distances to meet their idol at a CD signing or attend a Morrissey
birthday party (which consists only of fans) they generally seem to
understand the boundaries between celeb and star-struck fan. While some
have pretty intense Morrissey tattoos, no one here really approaches
Jackie-style obsession. As a documentary on its own it's not too interesting but as
an addition to the main feature here it's pretty revealing.
There is also a slideshow of stills and compilation of deleted and
A funny and lively exploration into the mind of a lunatic fan, My Life
With Morrissey captures some wild obsession and stalkerish behavior.
It succeeds well in what it sets out to do, with very good performances
and a wacky script. I only wish I could know what Morrissey thinks of it.