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 gay.
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.)
Of more 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 expanded scenes.FINAL THOUGHTS:
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.