Title: My Name Is Jerry
Directed by: Morgan Mead
Starring: Doug Jones, Allison Scagliotti and Catherine Hicks
Sometimes all it takes is stopping at a wrong party to realize that your entire life is full of mistakes. The new dramatic comedy ‘My Name is Jerry’ builds on that concept, and aims to show viewers that anyone can turn their life around by having a few positive chance encounters. The 96-minute film, which stars Doug Jones in the title role, proves in a non-preaching way that just because people reach a certain age, it doesn’t mean that their lives have to stop all together.
The film, which is based on an original story by Andrew Janoch and its director Morgan Mead, follows the life of salesman Jerry Arthur. As a middle-aged divorcee who is working in a dead-end job at the book publishing company Milton Hill, he is unsure of what his future holds for him. But Jerry’s self-esteem picks when he reconnects with his estranged daughter, Trisha (portrayed by Allison Scagliotti), who moves in with him after her mother dies. His co-worker and friend at Milton Hill, David (played by Don Stark), also sets up an interview for a position at Daemtech.
Jerry’s life also turns around when he meets several young adults, including the leader of the group, punk musician Jordan (portrayed by Katlyn Carlson), when he arrives at their house by accident. The musicians are so full of energy and eager to see what their future holds for them that they make Jerry realize he can move forward with his life.
Screenwriter David Hamilton was able to effortlessly translate Mead and Janoch’s idea and message onto the screen. In the opening sequence of the movie, when Jerry is going door-to-door, trying to sell books for Milton Hill, the audience is able to understand his pain. He constantly gets doors slammed in his face, and viewers immediately know Jerry is down-on-his-luck.
Mead also made a good decision not to give ‘My Name is Jerry’ a completely serious tone, so that viewers will realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Jerry. While the moral of the story is quite simple, that chance encounters can dramatically improve a person’s life, the audience will ultimately root Jerry on and want him to succeed.
Despite his clumsiness at maintaining his life, Jerry’s character transforms dramatically throughout the movie, as he tries to land the new job, takes Trisha in to improve their relationship and makes friends half his age. The carefully understated boost in confidence allows the audience to stay connected to Jerry throughout the entire movie.
Mead also made the right decision to cast Jones as Jerry. Choosing an actor who may not recognizable to many people, and who looks like the average American, further allows viewers to connect with him and understand his pain. By the end of the movie, viewers will even feel so connected to Jerry that they will start to wish that they could hang out with him.
Jones also provides much-needed comedic relief to a serious subject. For instance, in the scene where he goes to the bar where Jordan works to see her friend Chaz (played by Steven Yuen) play with his band Satan’s TP, Jerry starts dancing with everyone else in the crowd. He doesn’t seem to notice that he’s not on the same beat with everyone else.
Jones also has great chemistry with Carlson, even though they really do have a 23-year age difference in real life. Carlson portrays Jordan as being a care-free person, while deep-down she really is concerned with Jerry’s well-being. The two are able to play the characters as having an admiration for each other, and can make the audience forget they have such a big age difference.
‘My Name is Jerry,’ which is being released on DVD and Blu-Ray on October 19 by Ball State University, Jones’ alma matter, in conjunction with Mead’s production company Clothespin Films, will definitely resonate with anyone who feels their life is redundant and you can try new things to improve it.
Written by: Karen Benardello