Skip’s Quips: ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ a Glorious Tale of Failure and Success

Blog Sketch 082813It turns out that I didn’t watch Searching for Sugar Man at dinnertime tonight, as I originally predicted.

I watched it before that, in the early afternoon.

And what a film it is. The story of the hunt for 1970s musician Sixto Rodriguez – who made a huge impression in South Africa but hardly any commercial impact in the United States – Searching for Sugar Man is a terrific documentary about failure and success … about a man who seemingly doesn’t crave glory or riches, but is content to live a generally quiet life despite his fame across the pond. This movie is directed superbly by Malik Bendjelloul and is packed with classic Rodriguez tunes, all of which I hadn’t heard before. They lend themselves well to the film, which features plenty of fascinating interviews with Rodriguez’s colleagues, fans and family, as well as the man himself.

I felt that this was a sad picture, despite the fact that it has a happy ending. But then my wife asked me why I should feel that way, and I started to think differently. So what if Rodriguez doesn’t revel in the trappings of fame and fortune, like many other celebrities? Is it a fault to live so simply, to – seemingly – want so little? Perhaps it’s just an indication of what kind of man Rodriguez is: a person who doesn’t gravitate to the same things most of us do. Does that make him a tragic figure?

I guess it doesn’t. It actually makes him triumphant. Which the film is as well. I’m happy to have seen it, heard the songs. And I’m happy there are people out there like Rodriguez. He really made this Searching worthwhile.

Skip’s Quips: Up Next on Netflix Is ‘Searching for Sugar Man’

Blog Sketch 082813I do like a good documentary, though it’s not my normal viewing fare during dinnertime. Tomorrow, however, I expect to watch Searching for Sugar Man, which we just received from Netflix, at the eating hour.

Is it good? I don’t know. It has received strong reviews in general, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I have to admit that I don’t know any of the tunes crafted by this documentary’s subject, the reclusive musician Sixto Rodriguez. But that’s hardly a deterrent; if the film is enjoyable, it’s enjoyable. And I expect it to be well done.

So I’m looking forward to watching this film while munching on some grub. Perhaps it will spur a change in my movie-viewing habits – that I’ll start seeing more documentaries during the evening meal. Not that I sense a trend or anything. But it might be fun to try something different.

Sixto Rodriguez, here I come.