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Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story

DVD

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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(Jan 27, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A feature-length documentary about the sometimes unsettling but always fascinating world of the song-poem industry. In this little known subculture, ordinary people send in their heartfelt, but often bizarre, poems to companies that – for a fee – turn them into full-fledged musical productions. Advertising in the back of magazines, these companies lure the would-be songwriters with promises of fame and fortune.

This peculiar concoction of American commerce, musicianship, and poetic longing create oddly compelling songs that are unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Off The Charts: The Song-Poem Story explores the lives and dreams of the songwriters and musicians who operate within this strange world.

Features not-so-famous songs like, "Non-Violent Taekwondo Troopers", "I Am A Ginseng Digger", "Richard Nixon", "Jimmy Carter Says Yes!", "Annie Oakley", and "How’s Everything in Denmark?"

Special Features: * Deleted scenes * Sunburst studio sessions – behind the scenes look at the recording sessions * Iowa Mountain Tour Live! – a song-poem writer goes on tour * Off The Charts premiere party for the PBS debut * Song-Poems advertisement gallery * Song-Poem variety show "America Sings" – a 30 min. infomercial promoting song-poems

Amazon.com

In his wildest satirical dreams, not even Christopher Guest could top Off the Charts for sheer folk-art eccentricity. And yet, the creator of A Mighty Wind would find comedic inspiration in Jamie Meltzer's hilarious and sincerely affectionate tribute to the subcultural phenomenon known as the song poem. For over 50 years, a small, strictly amateur music industry has thrived on the fine-print ads that appear in alternative newspapers and music-industry magazines, inviting would-be songsmiths to send in their lyrics (and perhaps even "earn royalties") when their songs--and we use that term loosely--are set to music, recorded by seasoned musicians, and returned to their creators as a kind of one-shot fantasy fulfillment of dreams that will never come true. What drives Meltzer's film is a uniquely American combination of pathos, fringe-dwelling ambition, and free expression by assorted misfits and "regular folk" who seek elusive immortality by turning their lyrical musings into trash-art that's simultaneously fascinating and pathetic. But despite the end-credit claim that not a single hit has resulted from the estimated 200,000 song poems that have been recorded over the decades, Meltzer's not out to ridicule these wonderfully ungifted artists. Instead, Off the Charts gives a memorable spin to the flipside of the American dream. --Jeff Shannon

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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"

Product details

  • Actors: Gary Forney, David Fox, Caglar Juan Singletary, John Trubee
  • Directors: Jamie Meltzer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Shout Factory!
  • DVD Release Date: January 27, 2004
  • Run Time: 58 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00016XO6K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,956 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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  • Learn more about "Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story" on IMDb

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