Los Angeles Times
A portrait of excess, painted in many moods
The Slamdance Film Festival joins with the American Cinematheque in presenting "Rockets Redglare!," tonight's Alternative Screen offering at the Egyptian.
When Rockets, born Michael Morra, says "Everything I ever liked I did to excess, " he's definitel ot exaggerating. Emerging as a stand-up comic in the Lower Manhattan club scene of the 1980s, he became an actor and appeared in numberous indepnedent features and the occasional mainstream movie. He had no trouble winnin admireers and friends, such as Willem Dafoe, Steeve Buscemi and Matt Dillon, director Jim Jarmusch and artist-director Julian Scnabel, or pusuing countless women, but was plagued with an epic eating disorder and equally monumnetal substance abuse problems.
Rockets comes across as brillian, funny and outrageous as he is self-destructive. Born to a 15-year-old heroin addict who was murdered by a lover, a brutal junkie ex-boxer, Morra grew up in an abusive atmosphere surrounded by criminqlsw. In his early 20s, Morra was handsome and at normal weight, but soon his passion for wretched excess took over. But as documentarian Luis Fernandez de la Reguera explored Morra's life, it becomes as obvius to Rockets as to the viewer that he can't last forever on his seesaw existence. He lngs for either peace or oblivion and doesn't kid himself that obnlivion will be the likely winner.