Monday, 29 October 2012

I Think We're Alone Now

Title: I Think We're Alone Now
Director: Sean Donnelly
Released: 2008
Staring: Tiffany, Jeff Deane Turner, Kelly McCormick
Plot: Documentary following two obsessed fans of 80's pop star "Tiffany" while exploring what it is about her which drives their obsession.

Review: Perhaps featuring one of the more random choices of subject to follow, “I Think We’re Alone Now” follows two die hard fans / stalkers of 80’s pop star Tiffany, who memorably promoted the single, whose title the documentary shares by touring malls rather than singing at more traditional venues and something which was also memorably parodied in “How I Met Your Mother” with Robin Sparkles “Lets All Go To The Mall”.

The first of the two subjects we meet is Jeff Deane Turner, who is also the more appealing of the two and whom in the 80’s had a 3 year year restraining order placed against him by Tiffany, after he tried to present her with a katana and five white chrysanthemums, something he explains as being a very high honour in Japanese society. Needless to say was not the same way it was interpretated at the time by her security, as especially highlighted in one of the many newspaper cutting that Jeff keeps along with essentially anything else associated with his idol. A lot of his more random behaviour can be attributed to the fact he has been diagnosed with Asperger’s and while well read and able to talk at length on his favourite subjects, lacks any form of social cues and hence never realises that perhaps not everyone is as interested in his random facts about Tiffany that he is able to reel off on whim as he is. Ultimately he is shown as being a friendly if frequently misunderstood guy, whose other interests extend to conspiracy theories and Radionics a random pseudo-science which he believes him to telepathically communicate with Tiffany’s soul.

The other subjects here is Kelly McCormick, who lacks the likablitity of Jeff and in many ways his polar opposite, as she is a depressed introvert, which also makes her a harder person to initially connect to, even more so when she speaks in such droning tones. Born intersex McCormick is still in the process of tansitioning toward becoming female, taking a dresser top full of various medications to further the process. However despite this she is frequently referred to as being a “He” or “Him” by those close to her such as her gay room mate, even though McCormick frequently refers to herself as “her”.

While Turner’s interest seems to be more grounded in a friendship he believes that he has with Tiffany, McCormick’s interest it would seem is more of a romantic one, as when she is not running or talking about her training regime, she is lusting over her, covering the walls of her apartment with photos of her idol, while frequently conducting interview segments from her couch with a framed photo resting on her shoulder, while ultimately believing her only chance at happiness lies with being with her idol and often acting like a scorned lover whenever denied a chance to see her, as especially highlighted by her failed attempts to get into one of Tiffany’s club gigs which leads her instead to a nearby off licence so she can drink her frustration away.
Despite the fact that Tiffany only had two number one singles, before sinking pretty much into obscurity, doesn’t seem to matter to either of the two subjects, who would both seemingly be under the impression that her career was bigger than it was, with both McCormick and Turner in their own way believing that they share some kind of special connection to her, which the other fans don’t have. Ultimately while sold on the premise of following two of her stalkers, something which essentially only refers to Turner, the documentary more interestingly provides us a fascinating insight into “Erotomania” were the affected person believes that a person is in love with them and reciprocating the feelings they have for that person, which would especially be the case for Turner, who frequently gives many of his encounters with Tiffany an alternative spin, while proudly showing of his collection of books on the subject.

Director Sean Donnelly doesn’t go for anything too flashy here, especially when title cards represent nothing more than names written on cardboard seemingly held in front of the camera. Shot on handheld camera, here he chooses to let his subjects do the talking, especially with no voice over or narrative cards to help tell the story of what fuels their obsession. Equally interesting is the noticeable lack of music or stock Tiffany footage, no doubt the result of licensing costs. Still she does still turn up here in several scenes though never interviewed by Donnelly, as the times we see here is during a couple of awkward encounters with both McCormick and Turner, with her encounter with Turner at an erotica convention being one of her clearly at ease, even more so when he acts as if they are lifelong friends.

While perhaps ill advised to encourage his subjects to further their obsessions, Donnelly also finds himself in what could have very much proved to have been a perfect storm, when McCormick and Turner meet up in Las Vegas to share a hotel room while attending a Tiffany concert and forming a kind of stalker version of “The Odd Couple”. Ultimately though it is a situation which doesn’t occur and instead leads to more of a disagreement than the kind of situation you would expect from two stalkers room sharing.
At only an hour run time, doesn’t overstretch the material, while ending on a positive note for both McCormick and Turner who seem to have grown from the experience as we leave them both heading off in new directions and ultimately more positive directions with their lives. This is a strange, yet surprisingly also a moving documentary to say the least and currently available through Snagfilms (as is the amazing Roller Derby Documentary “Hell On Wheels“, so why not take an hour out of your routine to watch something different.

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