American Job

Institute History

  • 1996 Sundance Film Festival


Randy Scott is an average guy living and working in the world of minimum wage. We live with Randy through a series of low-wage jobs: factory worker, dishwasher, inventory specialist, motel-room custodian, and telemarketer. Each job is progressively more unfulfilling and pointless as we follow Randy down this dismal road to nowhere. In this environment, lottery tickets seem like sound financial investments.

Made entirely in the Midwest for fourteen thousand dollars, American Job is an extraordinary accomplishment on many levels: the endless succession of stultifying dead-end jobs is mesmerizing, until monotony is transformed into some bizarre kind of performance art. Intriguing, too, is the unique brand of comical vérité concocted in the film; these are real American jobs being lost, and real American bosses taking them away. Most significantly perhaps, filmmaker Chris Smith and his collaborators have pooled their experiences from working in low-end America to portray a million Randy Scotts, all part of an American workforce increasingly frustrated and devoid of any real hope for the future. American Job is funny, deadpan, sad, bleak, and weird.

— Christian Gaines

Screening Details

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