The epitome of a zine made into a film. I like to think this was made in the 1970s.
The epitome of a zine made into a film. I like to think this was made in the 1970s. A low-budget drama with a lot of humor, JOB has the feeling of a great film made over 25 years ago, the last great era of storytelling in film. Following a typical American worker through various minimum wage work experiences, JOB captures exactly what most people are expected to do to make a living: fit as a cog in the wheel, while the Golden American Dream of the lottery is always dangled out of your reach. Of course, you are not really expected to make it big, it is more important to be part of the ever-growing service industry. Yet, AMERICAN JOB is not condescending or sarcastic. Director Chris Smith keeps the tone realistic and modest - which is why it's so funny. How can you not laugh at some of the ridiculous situations we all put ourselves through? Like when our hero (played to the hilt by co-writer Randy Russell) gets talked into going to a strip joint. Or when a boss asks him to take his seat and consider `what he would do' if in the boss' position. The film is full of oddball conversations with co-workers, about secret inventions or the finer points of working an overnight shift and still being to do things outside of work. Although scripted, the film is uncannily real. The insight the film has is probably from using the actual employees in the scenes. The actors you see really do the particular job. They pull it off beautifully, not stuttering their lines or freezing in front of the camera, and not coming off in a fake-pity way, either. It functions best when JOB has the feeling of a documentary. The scenes come from real experiences Smith and his collaborators had. Actor Russell used to have a cool zine called American Job. The film was made entirely in the Midwest for $14,000. The cast and crew donated their time. Smith's follow-up film is the great (and real) documentary AMERICAN MOVIE, with many of the same themes and ideas as JOB.
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