Great World of Sound

Posted September 28, 2007 in Film

While the American Idol kids get their makeovers photographed by Us Weekly, Craig Zobel’s soul-crushing docudrama slums in the real rags-to-rags tragedy of the lowest rung of the music industry. Pat Healy and Kene Holliday star as two newly recruited album producers sent to cheap motels in the Deep South to host auditions for GWS records. They’re psyched to unearth talent, but their bosses insist that they sign everyone—and squeeze from each a $3,000 “commitment pledge.” We’ve known it’s a scam since we saw yard-sale records spray-painted gold during the opening credits. That for nearly the entire film Healy and Holliday don’t (or at least can’t admit it to themselves) drains Zobel’s dramatic juice and makes them look like morons. But the twist is that each seedy audition is a hidden camera setup with real small-town dreamers who’ve responded to Zobel’s newspaper ads, and as the two try to shake down this endless parade of bartenders, housewives, and auto mechanics desperate to believe their lives have more promise, the truth of all these hopeless fantasies is devastating. The American Dream’s been blinged out with cubic zirconium, and when a conscience-stricken Healy tries to reach out to his partner, a back-slapping bear of a man in a bright orange suit, Holliday spits, “Look at our president—you think this mother-fucking country runs on talent?!” (Amy Nicholson)



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