Vancouver International Film Festival
On Saturday September 29th, Scott Wood, host of the interview show, attended the Vancouver International Film Festival’s screening of Great World of Sound.
Great World of Sound
USA, 2006, 106 min, 35mm
Directed By: Craig Zobel
Cast: Pat Healy, Kene Holliday, Rebecca Mader, Tricia Paoluccio and Robert Longstreet
Many people fresh out of university get trapped into a soul-sucking sales job during that tender time when they are trying to figure out how to move forward in the “real world.”
Martin, a quiet, self-depreciating slacker, is excited to land a job as a talent scout/music producer for the Great Wall of Sound record company—but things are not always what they appear to be.
Music + Slacker + Post-University = The perfect film for CJSF to sponsor!
Soon milquetoast Martin is teamed with gregarious Clarence and they are on the road auditioning and signing talent from motel rooms. From there, the film parodies American Idol as dozens of dubious ‘talents’ lay bare their dreams to Martin and Clarence. Then all Martin and Clarence must do is get these hopefuls to shell out $3000—just 10% of the ‘real costs’ to put out a record—to kickstart their dreams.
Having been in a sales job before myself, I figured out the scam much much much sooner than our protagonist, so it is hard to feel any sympathy for him. And the film does an excellent job portraying the vulnerability of all of these musicians and they chase their dream.
SPOILER ALERT! The major problem with this film is the ending.
Clarence and Martin become GWS’ best sales team, so they get sent to Minnesota—where the company has done business before. When they get there, they realize that everyone in Minneapolis knows GWS is a scam. After calling home, GWS strands them in the city, when they can’t meet their sales quota. Martin meets a girl that really has talent, but no intelligence, since she pursues them. Penniless and stranded, Martin lets the girl take him home and then asks her for some money—to “sign” her—nearly sleeps with her—he has a loyal, hot, live-in artist girlfriend back home—and then uses the money to get him and Clarence home.
So now we are ready for the final act of the film. Martin goes into a deep depression, since he is now officially scum. He gets into a fight with his uber-supportive hot girlfriend. He doesn’t go into work, but it doesn’t matter since the company has gone out of business. Then Clarence shows up at the door. He badgered the company to payout both Clarence and Martin before they closed shop—Clarence didn’t need to get Martin’s share of the money, but he did. Clarence wants to remain friends, but Martin rebukes him. The film ends with Martin the sad sack, moping in his girlfriend’s garage workshop.
Now the film did not need to have a Hollywood ending. I didn’t need to see Martin go back to find the talented girl he gypped, apologize, offer to represent her and then guide her to a hit song. But, like anyone who has found him or herself in a morally repugnant sales job, you have to make the decision to change things and then DO SOMETHING.
My frustration with the film comes from Martin not doing anything. He doesn’t even have to quit his shitty job or ask for the money that he is owed. The final frame of the film is Martin staring in to space feeling sorry for himself and it made me want to beat him on the head with a baseball bat.
For more information, check out www.viff.org.
Tune in to the interview show with host Scott Wood, every Monday @4:30pm on CJSF 90.1FM for more interviews with your favorite indie acts. You can also listen online at www.cjsf.ca.