review by KJ
Doughton, 20 June 2003
Seattle International Film Festival
the voyeuristic era of "reality" based entertainment like Jackass,
Survivor, and American Idol collides with the
"almost real" parodies of Christopher Guest, (A
Mighty Wind, Best of Show)
a film like Randy Nargi’s G-Sale
is initially difficult to distinguish as fact or fiction. Like
Guest’s rock stars and dog-lovers, the spirited garage sale
junkies who inhabit this funny film seem awfully true to life.
Ultimately, however, we catch on that we’re in mockumentary land,
and that such familiar folks live only in Nargi’s fertile
we’re whisked away on this digitally filmed video journey through
real estate offices, sedans, and retro shops, we meet a gaggle of
garage sale fanatics. Tracking their query like archeologists on a
grand quest, these suburban successors to Indiana Jones are observed
stalking yards, basements, and estate-sale living rooms, in pursuit
of chartreuse salt and pepper shakers, elephants chiseled from
"compressed coconut," and antique board games.
in the make-believe northwest community of Bogwood, G-Sale introduces this carpet of colorful obsessive-compulsives as
they covet, collect, and hoard second hand items that somehow
reinforce their respective identities. The sought-after trinkets
pursued by Nargi’s salivating hunters are more than just frothy
diversions. They’re reminders that each of these lost souls is
La Sale (Scott Burns), for instance, is a middle-aged designer of
virtual-reality video games. Perched in front of an office P.C., Ed
pridefully explains that he once invented a hit computer role-play
game called "Caves and Beasts." Unfortunately, this cash
cow ultimately came crashing down. "Game players went
delusional," Ed recalls, "like a tax assessor who went to
work dressed as his favorite character, Melinda the Fairy
Princess." Later, after a frustrated secretary was inspired by
the game to behead her boss, Ed’s career hit the skids.
"There is such a thing as bad publicity," he laments.
"That killed sales."
has obviously enjoyed the considerable time spent inventing obscure
knicknacks, trinkets, trifles, and tidbits for G-Sale.
One highly coveted, hard-to-find board game, for instance, was taken
off the market because of its potential harm to children. "The
stiff paper stock it was printed on," one character explains
with a dead-serious, all-business monotone, "was causing kids
to get paper cuts like crazy. So they recalled it."
as the stomping ground for such savvy shoppers, the Bogwood town
also becomes a weighty character in the G-Sale
mix. Malcolm Urubaden (Terry Johnson), a dedicated town historian,
proudly proclaims that Bogwood "has more garages per capita
than any town in the nation."
we’re educated to the entire sweep of American garage sale
culture, courtesy Vicky Bell (Mary White), a no-nonsense Real Estate
agent whose hyper-organized, anal retentive approach to life makes
Martha Stewart look like Felix Unger. "People get confused by
the nomenclature," she explains. "On the East Coast, they
have tag sales. In the Midwest, they have yard sales. In the south,
they have porch sales or ‘gimme’ sales. The West Coast, of
course, has garage sales or ‘g-sales."
portly heart of G-Sale,
however, is embodied by Ted D’Arms, a burly teddy bear of a man
with the heft and humor of John Goodman. Playing frustrated sitcom
icon Dick Nickerson, retired star of a revered 60’s sitcom called
"Pot o’ Gold," D’Arms exposes the complicated layers
of a man both applauded and tormented by his past. After playing a
gregarious leprechaun on the legendary series, Nickerson has been
typecast ever since. "I was on a commercial for a frosted
children’s cereal," he reveals with a sigh, "and worked
on another one for a green and white Irish soap."
Nargi’s motley crew of eccentric pack rats is assembled together
at an estate sale. Like "Survivor" contestants competing
for a million dollar prize, these rival buyers sweet-talk,
double-cross, and out-maneuver each other to bag this second-hand
isn’t out to save the world or probe deep issues. It’s a light
day’s entertainment, as tasty and satisfying as a latte sipped
from the shores of Lake Washington. Meanwhile, Nargi is a Seattle
talent to be commended for putting Puget Sound Parody on the map.
Seattle International Film Festival:
Terry T.J. Johnson
Julianne Louise Reynolds
NR - Not Rated.
This film has not