New York City. May 8, 1949. Agnes Tarrulli Morra, a 15-year-old heroin addict, gives birth to Michael Morra. Addicted in utero, they added an opiate derivative to his formula to ease the pain of heroin withdrawal. This was his first of countless detoxes during his lifetime. His father and uncle were career criminals. After his father was deported to Italy, his mother took up with a junkie ex-boxer who beat him and his mother on a regular basis. Eventually, he murdered Michael's mother. Michael Morra became Rockets Redglare. He went on to explore his own tragic beginnings through stand up comedy, partnering with Steve Buscemi in "The Rockets Redglare Taxi-Cabaret" and landing numerous roles playing characters not unlike himself or derived from the rough and seedy neighborhoods that were his home. He was also bodyguard and drug dealer to Sid Vicious and Jean Michel Basquiat.

In addition to this documentary, Rockets Redglare appeared in over 30 films, including "Stranger Than Paradise", "In The Soup", "Down by Law", "Desperately Seeking Susan", "Mystery Train", "Animal Factory","Talk Radio","Big" and "Trees Lounge". Interviews with many including Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, Jim Jarmusch, Julian Schnabel and archival footage of Rockets performing stand-up, take us into his world where irreverent comedy and a lust for life is simultaneously his triumph and downfall. He has traveled through some of the darkest worlds of decadence that have ever existed in New York City and struggles to find humor and dignity within. His fight to survive the emotional consequences of a traumatic childhood and live, despite the physical damage from years of alcohol, heroin and methadone, is his ultimate battle. This film portrays a man who lived a life of self-destruction and excess few could rival.


Rockets Redglare! features interviews with Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, Jim Jarmusch, and Julian Schnabel, as well as footage of Rockets performing his trademark irreverent stand-up comedy and clips from his various film roles.




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