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Sonoma Valley Film Festival:
My Life With Morrissey

OK, I am a fan of gay British Mope Rock. Yes, I enjoy Morrissey, pompadour, gladiolas, and all. When I saw My Life with Morrissey on the schedule of the Sonoma Film Festival, I knew I had to see it. I couldn't make the showing, but director Andrew Overtoom was kind enough to send along a screener to the Fanboy Planet offices. Roommate Ryan and myself threw it in before SmackDown! and gave it a watch.

No amount of pre-warning would have prepared me for the weird world I entered as soon as we started the viewing, and frankly, it probably would have lessened the impact. My Life With Morrissey is the most bizarre descent into madness that any filmmaker has ever attempted.

The story is a little too close to real life for some folks I went to Santa Clara High with: career girl Jackie (played by Jackie Buscarino) is obsessed with Morrissey, and after an out-by-the-dumpster encounter with Moz (played by Jose Maldonado), she constructs a strange fantasy world in which she is dating said pop idol. She begins to dissolve into the delusion and things spiral out from there. Jackie's office space is stranger than any on film before: a gaggle of evil office girls, a hyper-stressed co-worker who needs a copy of the reports copies, a schlub who also happens to be Jackie's office boyfriend. It goes further over the top than most John Waters movies, only there is a base of reality that rings through: there are people this obsessed with Morrissey. The realism of the obsession, right down to the passionate licking of the posters was very, almost freighteningly real.

My favorite part had to be Miss Buscarino's performance. She went to the limit, but also caught the nuances that were necessary to make her seem at least somewhat realistic. It's funny to watch her walk the curb, occasionally falling off into the flow of traffic. She's great, and very cute. I don't mind saying that I developed a crush on her even bigger than the one I developed on Enid in Ghost World. I can't help but dig her.

The script is perfectly paced, if a little too into the realm of the absurd for the tastes of a good deal of the potential paying audience. The dialogue is stilted at times, accentuating the freakishness of the moments, but also pulling me out of a couple of moments. The best words are saved for the higher-ups at her office. They all seem to dump on her, and they do so in a Mike Judge way. It works, but in a way that make you wonder where the line between acceptable and unacceptable nuts is drawn.

What makes it Bizarre and not just another Tennssee Williams play? Well, it's the fact that it's a movie about Morrissey that features not a lick of Morrissey's music. The gang of Lesbian Catholic Schoolgirls is another. The fact that Jackie takes a tofu hotdog deep behind a dumpster. It also fulfilled the festival requirements for the year 2003 and featured both vomiting and masturbation.

The trouble with My Life With Morrissey is that it is so good as it is, and what it is is a weird, crazy ride through a fans obsession that actually takes the fan as the only sane character. That's right, she's the sane one being driven nuts by the insane world around her combining with the pressure of her own obsession. Every other character has something they do that's truly nuts. All Jackie ever did was talk to her posters and fantasize that her vibrational aid was the Crying Man himself.

Which of us have not talked to an inanimate object or fantasized in the Sharper Image while riding Zone 5? It's an interesting turn around that only becomes apparent once you've gotten deep into the movie.

And yes, director Andrew Overtoom is a director for SpongeBob SquarePants, and Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob, also plays a record store clerk in the film. I was quite surprised that I recognized him, but a Fanboy is always prepared to say "Hey, it's that guy!" It must be nice to be able to fall into a project as darkly odd as this on the off-times.

All in all, I enjoyed it. There was a lot going on, and it was the darkest humor I have ever come across. Brilliantly paced, smart as commentary, and very well shot, My Life With Morrissey is a film that you should search out.

Stop by www.mylifewithmorrissey.com and try to hold on until September for the DVD release, which will include a short doc called 10,000 (Morrissey) Maniacs. Overtoom's next project, the mystery-shrouded "Marvin Schlomo's Hollywood Neighborhood" is a strange comedy currently in the works. I'm excited, as I think his is a voice that could produce some darkly comedic work.

Chris Garcia

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