7.5/10
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6 user 2 critic

Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story (2003)

Like a warped fun-house mirror, the song-poem industry has run parallel to the mainstream music business for close to a century; it's estimated that over 200,000 song-poems have been ... See full summary »

Director:

Jamie Meltzer
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Cast

Credited cast:
Tom Ardolino Tom Ardolino ... Self
Sonny Cash Sonny Cash ... Self
Del Casher ... Self
Jo Comberiate Jo Comberiate ... Self
Ellery Eskelin Ellery Eskelin ... Self
Gary Forney Gary Forney ... Self
David Fox David Fox ... Self
Van Garner Van Garner ... Self
Will Gentry Will Gentry ... Self
Art Kaufman Art Kaufman ... Self
John Lewis John Lewis ... Self
Gene Merlino Gene Merlino ... Self
Jean-Paul Monsche Jean-Paul Monsche ... Self
Nilson V. Ortiz Nilson V. Ortiz ... Self
Caglar Juan Singletary Caglar Juan Singletary
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Storyline

Like a warped fun-house mirror, the song-poem industry has run parallel to the mainstream music business for close to a century; it's estimated that over 200,000 song-poems have been recorded since 1900. The genre's durability can be traced to three of our deepest American desires - to be in show business, to get rich quick, and to share and express our deepest feelings. We meet several of the "songwriters" - from an elderly woman to a young African-American man to a small-town Iowan with big-time dreams - each of whom has been in the "business" for awhile, churning out odd compositions that cover the waterfront of American obsessions, from Jesus to genitalia, from politics to Elvis. We also meet the producers (often known as song-sharks) who hold out the tantalizing promise of fame to their eager customers, and the has-been musicians who sit in studios, day after day and year after year, interpreting some of the weirdest lyrics ever written. Through fellow musicians and his son, ... Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

R
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Non-Violent Tae Kwon Do Troopers
Caglar Juan Singletary
Music by Magic Key Productions
Performed by David Fox
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User Reviews

 
The Dream Will Never Die
17 February 2007 | by Scott_MercerSee all my reviews

This film has a lot to say about America, and Americans, at their most sad and most hopeful.

The song poem industry can be taken as a metaphor for show business as a whole, or at least most Americans' relationship to it.

The most telling thing about the reactions from the aspiring songwriters is not that they feel ripped-off by cynical hucksters. In fact, they have the opposite reaction, mostly. They remain optimistic and continue to cradle the American Dream to their hearts. They're lovely people, and very, deeply American, even if you do want to slap them around so they wake up to reality. But then again, why shatter their dreams?

A highly, highly recommended documentary. Especially good for fans of popular music or record collectors.


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Details

Official Sites:

PBS [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 February 2003 (USA) See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Complex Corporation See more »
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Technical Specs

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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