Come on Down

Come on Down

Searching for the American Dream

DVD
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Publisher: [Canada] : Manifestation Television Inc., 2005.
Branch Call Number: 973 C732
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (62 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: Liley, Adamm

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DrFolklore
Sep 26, 2015

This low-budget, road-trip DVD is entertaining. Adamm Liley, like most Canadians, grew up close to the American border, inundated by American media. As a child he absorbed the images sold on television, and thought that the USA must be a magical, near-perfect country. In this made-for-TV documentary, he took a car painted with a Canadian-flag theme, and headed south to find the "American Dream."

On his trip around the States around the States, Lilley didn't find the American Dream, but did discover "the antithesis of the American Dream", and met a host of interesting people, including the self-declared "happiest man in the United States". We observe a number of brash, opinionated people, many of whom casually work Jesus into he conversation. Quite a few are offbeat, e.g., a legal prostitute in Nevada, a semi-coherent popular author (though his writing is certainly good), and the man who created "God Is Love Mountain". One wonders why we think of England as a land of eccentrics, when we border the USA. Still, it seems that most of that nation's truly colourful people are not near us, but in the south and southwest.

Liley provided some social commentary, especially on extreme contrasts between rich and poor, though this is old news to anyone who watches even mainstream American TV. The main weakness in Come on Down is that Liley chose to spend his time visiting eccentrics rather than exploring more mainstream views of the American Dream. The people he interviews are interesting, and their preponderance in the southern US does say something about the culture, but they are not the majority. We see in the "Extras" that he did film thoughtful and philosophical people -- Diane Woods, an ecologist and social reformer, and the reverend Al Sharpton -- but these people were sacrificed for entertaining eccentrics.

Still, Come on Down is worth watching, as are the Extras, clips not included in the show. Even the trailer contains interesting material not shown elsewhere. Be warned however: skip the juvenile clip of the film crew in the car, which makes them seem more like high school kids escaping their parents than like men in their thirties -- funny to them perhaps, but not to anyone else.

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