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

Director: Jamie Meltzer, Jamie Meltzer
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Studio: Shout! Factory
Genre: Documentary, Music, Biographies, Documentary, Music
Running Time: 132 min.
Languages: English
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If you've ever flipped through a supermarket tabloid, vintage comic book, or various sorts of pulp magazines, it's not unlikely you've seen ads in which a "record company" or "song publisher" claims to be looking for new, fresh material. This is the most public face of what is known to music buffs as "the song-poem industry," in which small companies will take the lyrics of amateurs of all stripes, set them to music, and produce rudimentary recordings of the results -- all for a price to the novice writer, of course. While literally hundreds of thousands of songs have been recorded and released in some form through the song-poem business, only a tiny handful have reached any sort of audience beyond the lyricist himself (and perhaps their family and friends), and most of those people who follow the work of the song-poets view them as folk art at best, and examples of the outer limits of low-grade musicianship at worst. Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story is a documentary which looks at this curious sidestreet of the music business, examining its history, the musicians who set the work of rank amateurs to music, and the lyricists who are willing to pay to have tunes like "Non-Violent Tae Kwon do Troopers," "Rip Off Fear," "Chicken Insurrection," and "The Human Breakdown of Absurdity" committed to plastic. Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story was produced and aired by PBS as part of the documentary series Independent Lens. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Sunburst Studio Sessions
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Iowa Mountain Tour Live!
  • Off The Charts Premiere Party
  • Song-Poem Ad Gallery Tour
  • Song-Poem Variety Show: "America Sings"

GreenCine Member Reviews

Can you spell "Schadenfreude?" by GGoodsell March 19, 2005 - 4:14 PM PST
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Every year, clueless people send in their doggerel to be set to music in the hopes of hearing their songs on the radio. This documentary shows the hopelessly deluded being fleeced by unscrupulous studio musicians, and the atrocious cacophony that results. SEE! The barely-there poet who composes sonnets to Christian ninja warriors and Annie Oakley! GASP! At the amoral studio hacks who take the money and run! LAUGH! At the wretched prose melded to generic funk or country-western backing!

Longtime musical troublemaker John Trubee relates the story behind his song-poem, "A Blind Mans Penis." ("I got high last night on LSD/My mind was beautiful, it was free/Warts love my nipples, because theyre pink/Vomit on me baby, yeah yeah yeah &") and interviews the singer who put the words to music for the princely sum of $80. Its always fun to laugh at others, and the characters in OFF THE CHARTS are as other as it gets &.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 8.17)
18 Votes
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school/ monsters of ROCK!!!!!!
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