Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico (The)
R1 - America - ThinkFilm
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (2nd July 2007).
The Film

'A country star shouldn't have to wear a cup.'

At the Tulip Festival one year here in Ottawa, my best friend and I saw Sam Roberts on stage. He seemed to be having a great time, chugging beers, telling stories and rocking out on stage. At the rate he was going, you'd give him about 2 weeks before he crashed and burned. (For the record, Mr. Roberts is still going strong some 5 years later.) This movie is about someone like this. Guy Terrifico very quickly rose to stardom, rode high on a mountain of white power, booze and women, then disappeared for a couple of years. On his return, he had changed, and created music light years ahead of what he, and indeed anybody else, had done before. His untimely death stopped any chance of his career going any further. The thing about Guy Terrifico is that he never existed.

People create faux documentaries, obviously, because of an aspect of the present that needs to be critiqued. Here, the music industry is skewered. The movie actually has some interesting things to say about stardom. Guy Terrifico is a music sensation years before he ever releases a single. I guess in the world fake documentaries, a singer can ride high on his own hype. Gee, good thing real life isn't like that.

The movie also evokes some feelings of nostalgia, like the good old days, where the music in a concert is the least important thing. Everybody hears stories of rockers and their crazy exploits, many of us wishing we could have at least been present to bask in the joy of the moment. This movie definitely evokes some of that sense. Guy Terrifico seems to have been quite a character and people just gravitated toward him. I know people like this and they're a lot of fun to be around. Everybody wanted to know Guy Terrifico and everybody that knew him loved being around him and loves reminiscing about him even if the memories are not the most flattering.

Unfortunately, the movie kind of falls flat. It does have good comments about stardom but without anything to get your interesting, not many people will want to see what's under the surface. The movie told through interviews and 'archival' footage of Guy. The interviews are not boring, they're just not interesting. It's like constantly watching an interview of a subject you don't care much about; the people might be interesting, but their words won't inspire any interest. The people in here, though, famous - ranging from Kris Kristofferson to Ronnie Hawkins to Merle Haggard and even George Stroumboulopoulos (?! Yep, for the younger crowd, I guess!) - but the words they say don't keep your interest in the way they should.

Some of the stories of Guy's life are silly, like the drum humping, and just take away from the overall effect of the movie. This story comes back throughout the movie and to me serves as a time-filler. Taking it away wouldn't change much in the film. The 'archival' footage is also a bit convenient at times, though this is somewhat explained in the film. It's not as bad as it could be, but some of the footage seems just perfect for the point director Michael Mabbott wants to make.

It's a nice film but you're not likely to remember it for too long. It misses the wit and hilarity of 'This is Spinal Tap', for example, and the humour is very low-key. On the plus side, if you're willing to think about it, some interesting points about stardom and reputation will come up. Oddly enough, the doc ends up a journey of self-discovery for a person that's been dead for 30 years. Though interesting in concept, the execution could be better.

I haven't mentioned the music in the movie yet, but it's very good. It mirrors the points in the movie very nicely. Even if Sam Roberts eventually crashes and burns, at least he'll have his music to carry on his legacy, like Guy Terrifico.

Video

1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture is actually very good. The 'archival' footage looks appropriately grainy, while the 'current' footage looks clear and bright. The colours are accurate, and their contrast is pretty nice, as well. There are no problems with the compression, and the transfer shows no sings of edge enhancement or noise. It's a strong picture, but was made on a fairly low budget and it kind of shows through.

Audio

The movie comes in English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, with optional English subtitles. The 5.1 track is pretty good. The music is clear and you'll have no problem hearing the interviews. The rear speakers aren't used too much, though the interviewer's voice is heard there. The interviews are the most important thing, and they're clear, so there's no problem there.

Extras

The disc has a few little extras, which add nicely to the movie. The extras start with three Deleted Scenes, called 'The True Gram Parsons Story' (1:35), 'Ophelia & Guy Jr.' (6:32) and 'The Truth About Guy Terrifico' (0:44). The first scene is kind of redundant, and talks about the manager and another abduction. The second is long and useless scene. A good thing about the movie is that it tells you nothing about Guy when he disappeared for two years. The scene explains what he did, but it's very rambling and doesn't really add anything to the movie (especially considering its length). The third scene is an interesting alternate ending, but is ultimately better left out of the movie.

After that, you have two extras with Kris Kristofferson. One is Kris Reminisces (18:00), which is really intersting. Mr. Kristofferson talks about various things like meeting people and writing songs. Now, I don't know if this was supposed to be in the movie or not, so I'm not sure if I should believe it or not, but it's fascinating. Kris Sings (3:08) has Mr. Kristofferson singing a song originally sung by Guy Terrifico. It's a nice folksy song.

Overall

The Film: C Video: B Audio: B- Extras: C- Overall: C+

 


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