Films: Song Sung Blue

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Song Sung Blue

Song Sung Blue

USA, 2008, 87 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Documentary, Music
Programs: Films in Competition, Documentary Films
Language: English

Producer: (executive) Andresa Mihalik, Greg Kohs
Editor: Nick Kleczewski
Screenwriter: Greg Kohs
Cinematographer: Jammy Sammarco
Principal Cast: Mike "Lightning" Sardina, Claire "Thunder" Sardina, Eddie Vedder

Gaudy and loopy as a carnival ride, Song Sung Blue features a dynamic singing duo whose fifteen minutes of fame began and ended one night in 1995, onstage with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder in front of 30,000 fans (not necessarily theirs). This defining but fading moment drives them to continue performing music in spite of increasingly bad odds.

Director Greg Kohs follows Neil Diamond impersonator Mike Sardina and his wife Claire—also known as Lightning and Thunder—from Wisconsin biker bars to the State Fair, where they get hitched in the 1980s. With a decent voice and all the sequins he can muster, Mike takes his role as the pseudo–king of soft rock very seriously. A devoted Claire sings backup and belts out her own Patsy Cline numbers. But when she’s maimed in a freak accident, the duo faces cancelled gigs, a diminishing fan base, loss of income, and a difficult rehabilitation marked by the side effects of painkillers. The presence of Claire’s children from a prior marriage only heightens the dramatic tension in this dysfunctional family.

Under the microscope of a home camcorder, Lightning and Thunder struggle with the facts of their lives, yet they never stop clinging to their dreams. As Mike says, “I believe God put us on earth to do music and make people happy. I’m not giving in.” Moving from kitsch to pathos, Song Sung Blue moves us in turn to root for this odd couple to make a comeback, as futile as it appears.

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