That’s the Way of the World


Coleman Buckmaster (Harvey Keitel) also known as “the Golden Ear” is a producer extraordinaire for A-Chord Records. In the midst of working slavishly to complete the debut album of “the Group” (Earth, Wind and Fire), Buckmaster is forced to put their project on the back-burner in favor of a new signing to A-Chord, “the Pages,” Velour (Cynthia Bostick), Gary (Jimmy Boyd) and Franklin (Bert Parks). According to label head Carlton James (Ed Nelson), the Pages represent good, ol’ fashioned, wholesome family values. According to Buckmaster, they represent everything wrong with the music business: a soulless pastiche of cheese-on-white-bread, and he wants nothing to do with them. However, due to his contract, he is forced to turn the flat song of their demo, “Joy, Joy, Joy” into a workable hit. In the meantime, he ends up in a relationship with Velour, seemingly also against his will, but he is able to use the relationship to his and the Group’s advantage.


Anyone that knows will tell you that aside from the great Louis Armstrong, much of my favorite music comes from Earth, Wind, & Fire. I was listening to a podcast a few months back and it was mentioned that they had starred in a movie, That’s the Way of the World. Being na EWF fan, of course I was curious and had to check it out.

What is this about?

Featuring a soundtrack by Earth, Wind & Fire, this cult classic rock musical offers a behind-the-scenes look at the interworkings of the recording industry. Harvey Keitel stars as the record producer who turns his back on the white pop music world.

What did I like?

Soundtrack. The music of Earth, Wind, & Fire is heavily featured on this soundtrack and serves as a great backdrop for the transition scenes that it accompanies. Whether you’re a fan or not, you will find yourself grooving to the music, it may very well be the best thing about this picture.

Stand up guy. Harvey Keitel’s character goes through an apparent metamorphosis throughout the picture. He starts off as a hard-working producer, then becomes brainwashed by the “love” of a woman, and ends up as someone who knew what he was doing all along in a very pivotal and powerful scene close to the film’s end. Being the only real star in this film, I guess they needed to give him something to really sink his teeth into in order to keep him.

What didn’t I like?

False advertising. I don’t if this is how the film was actually advertised, but I was led to believe it was to heavily feature EWF in acting roles, as well as their music. It turns out that they are basically playing themselves, which I don’t mind, but they are in the film for probably a grand total of about 10 minutes or so. What is the reasoning for that? Sure, they may or may not have been the best thespians, but good grief! These filmmakers could have come up with a better way to work around that than to all but keep them out of the film altogether!

No joy. The Pages have this song that is about as cheesy and horrible as one can get. Keep in mind that they are supposed to be the wholesome, family group the studio wants to push rather than the Group (Earth, Wind, & Fire). As annoying as the song is, they keep playing it over and over in these long montage recording scenes, making matters worse. It was almost as if they were just filling up time.

Arguably one of Earth, Wind, & Fire’s greatest songs is “That’s the Way of the World”. However, That’s the Way of the World may very well tarnish the legacy of that song. I really wanted to like this film, but it just didn’t do anything for me. Another generic music film that has the token white group come in with an attractive female singer who wiggles her way into the pants of the star, and manages to keep the black group down until the final scenes. I guess you can say this is like The Mambo Kings in that it is best to watch just for the music, because the plot is really nothing that impressive. I want to recommend this, I really do, I just can’t. Download some EWF music, it’ll be much less of a hassle than sitting through this.

3 out of 5 stars


One Response to “That’s the Way of the World”

  1. Mystery Man Says:

    Reblogged this on Mr Movie Fiend's Movie Blog.

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