Monday, May 27, 2013
"Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey" Review
A few weeks ago, Josh Miller gave me a copy of his new documentary "Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey" to watch and review. Josh has been a vocal advocate in the Made in America Movement and a great supporter of my blog. I was, of course, intrigued to watch about his journey and see how it all panned out. Beyond that, though, I wasn't sure what to expect. I must say that I underestimated what I was about to watch.
Here's the thing: you make a movie about spending 30 days traveling across the country and using only American-made products, I think it's going to be straight forward. I'm going to learn about all these great products and companies that I didn't know about; it's going to be informative. I think, hey, this guy's going to show me how it's done. And then you see that it's not so easy and there are some stumbling points. How do you do simple things like brush your teeth or eat or take a shower or any of that normal stuff when a lot of things are just not made in the States anymore? You know, it's sometimes hard even for the guy making a movie about stuff made in the USA. It makes me realize just how complicated and intricate American manufacturing and American consumerism really is.
In fact, I did learn a thing or two about American products. Josh has some great interviews with companies across the U.S. spanning lots of different industries: All American Clothing Co., Art Flo, Bullet Blues Custom Apparel, k'NEX, NOLA Brewery, Sun & Earth, and Three Dots. Josh's positive spin on what is being manufactured in the U.S. now and what is doing well was refreshing. It's great to learn directly from business owners the reasons that they have decided to stay an American-made company and why offshoring isn't appealing to them. Again and again, I'm finding it nice to hear from people that it is possible to produce a US-made product, to do it well, and to make a profit.
The documentary also touches on the impact that politics and historical events have had on U.S. manufacturing, both on a national level and well as on Small-Town USA. In areas where manufacturing was a key source of employment, for example, a company's decision to move elsewhere affects the local residents even more profoundly. Yet again, however, Josh turns the conversation into a positive one. The movie highlights ways in which longtime running companies are adapting to survive in this economy (by teaming up with new businesses), how the U.S. can still make a comeback (with entrepreneurship), and how there are even current domestic industries that are growing (beer!).
It gives me hope.
I'm not going to spoil all the good stuff. You can watch for yourself. Luckily, "Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey" is now available for digital download on Chill for $4.99.
If you liked what you read today, stay tuned for tomorrow's post: An Interview with Josh Miller.
9/30/2014 Update -- Now available on iTunes: "Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey"
(Photos courtesy of Josh Miller.)