STANLEY’S GIG (2000)
Director: Marc Lazard
Stars: William Sanderson, Marla Gibbs, Faye Dunaway, Stephen Tobolowsky
WITH Ian Whitcomb and Jim Beloff credited as ‘Ukulele Consultants’ and a vintage Martin O in a starring role, Stanley’s Gig is essential viewing.
Inspired by real-life characters, the film revolves around LA resident Stanley Myer (Sanderson), a divorced, broke, recovering alcoholic who dreams of a job playing his uke on a cruise ship to Hawaii.
With the help of his only friend Leila (Dunaway), Stanley gets an audition with a Japanese cruise company, but fails to win over the executives with his version of Makin’ Love Ukulele Style, mainly because he simply doesn’t look the part.
To make ends meet, he starts working at a nursing home, playing for the residents, and it’s there he meets Eleanor (Gibbs), a bitter, retired jazz singer who claims to hate music.
Imbued with a renewed sense of purpose, Stanley makes it his business to help Eleanor reconnect with the world, and in doing so helps himself.
While the picture quality and the dubbing on the songs is a bit patchy, it takes nothing away from what is a great little film about the power of music to heal and bridge generations. And it’s hard to fault a soundtrack that includes catchy Whitcomb originals such as Ukulele Heaven and The Uke Is On The March.