“Bandwagon” is a fresh and exciting indie comedy about four unlikely characters, who together form a band. Tony Ridge is a tragically shy singer and songwriter who can barely discuss his songs, let alone play them in public. He meets up with Charlie, an anxious young drummer with a practice space and a mom who makes them snacks. They seek out Wynn, a perpetually stoned lead guitarist, and finally, Eric, a feisty bass player who’s just given away his instrument as collateral on an overdue bet. Once the bass is retrieved from an unforgettable drug-dealing redneck the guys are ready. But ready for what? Is their band about the music, about getting the girls, or just something to pass the time? They decide that the best way for them to get noticed is to hit the road so they procure Linus Tate, the elusive, but legendary, road manager. The group soon realizes that life, confined to the space of their not-so-trusty van, isn’t always an easy endeavour. First-time writer/director John Schultz, a native of North Carolina, has taken full advantage of the striking local scenery during the peak of fall. Witty dialogue and clever plot twists punctuate a well-crafted story. An expertly produced sound track, including original songs performed by the film’s band, Circus Monkey, as well as other independent bands, gives the film an edgy, contemporary sound. A mix of familiar faces (Kevin Corrigan from “Living in Oblivion” and Steve Parlavecchio from “Amongst Friends”) and refreshing new talent round out an energetic ensemble cast. “Bandwagon” is a good-time venture into young artistic expression.
1996 – Certificate: Not Rated – American Film
7.0 out of 10
My new Roberts Stream 83i has arrived, as a replacement for my old but now sadly broken, Logitech Squeezebox. It plays FM radio. It plays Internet radio. It’s a DAB radio. It streams music from my NAS Drive. It sounds nice. It’s very easy to work out how to use it. It looks a little too like it was designed by someone with an over enthusiasm for 50’s sci-fi spaceship control panels; Buck Rodgers would feel right at home with it. What’s there not to like? Well, two things so far. Despite giving access to thousands of radio stations available on the Internet, it only give you 5 pre-sets for them, which is a bit perverse; was that bit of the specification sorted out on a Friday afternoon by some thickie on work experience with the company? Also, and far more annoyingly, it won’t shuffle music from my NAS Drive unless there’re less than about 2,000 tracks or folders in a folder, so it expects me to rearrange my whole, digital music collection to convenience this crappy bit of its design. I’ve e-mailed the company for a solution; let’s see how long it takes to reply and what it says. It never fails to amaze me how those that design things never seem to get the details quite right. This film is about music too.
Wynn, Eric, Tony and Charlie are four losers that have little else in common. They form a band, go on tour, fall out a lot, deal with loads of angst and in the end come good. So pretty much like every other film ever written about a band. Having said that, it’s quite a lot of fun and, critically, feels fairly authentic. Their enigmatic road manager, Linus, also adds a slightly surreal feel to things too. It’s often hard for actors to look like musicians in films, but in this case they generally do a pretty good job. It does feel bit dated at times, mainly because these days so much independent music is promoted and distributed on the Internet. There is a bit near the end where the band is being spoken to by the head of a record company, who’s explaining, quite convincingly, how the band has to do this, that and the other to be successful. Sometimes it feels like that at work; I spend more time playing the game that doing anything that’s actually making any sort of difference. It doesn’t matter how many times I have it explained to me, I’m still left with a feeling that there’s a better way to do things.
A film about a band needs to have good music. With a number of decent, mid 90s, American indie rock songs, this movie does manage to be convincing enough on this level. In fact a couple of them are actually pretty good.
Recommended for garage mechanics, dope-heads, record shop assistants and construction vehicle manufacturer workers.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? The record company president meets the band and offers it a recording contract. It turns it down. That’s defiantly sticking it to The Man, and that’s badass; and in many ways stupid too, but there’s something to be said for keeping you integrity and principles intact.