Wade on Birmingham

Sidewalk 2010: Supermarket sweep


Movie review: ‘Ready, Set, Bag!’

By Jennifer West

Review at a glance: The winning doc “Ready, Set, Bag!” shows the speedy agility of champion baggers, while moving at an unnecessarily slower pace.

Ready, Set, Bag!

James Hunter takes home the California bagging
trophy in a scene from “Ready, Set, Bag!”

Sometimes, our whole grocery store experience is based on how quickly we can get through the checkout line. Other times, our experience is based on whether or not our bread gets smushed. A good bagger’s got your back.

Wade on Birmingham - Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival“Ready, Set, Bag!” gives the audience a glimpse of big ambition from small towns across the United States in the form of bagging groceries.

The documentary screens Sept. 26 at the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival.

These workers train for months, even years, to perfect their bagging skills and qualify for the annual Best Bagger Competition. The film follows several goal-oriented state champions, who are funny and charming.

A few competitors really stand out, like Jacob Richardson from Virginia. This chatty 17-year-old bagger will win your heart from the very first scenes. Utah’s Brian Bay makes you silently root for him as he demands a rematch in Las Vegas for the national title. And don’t forget Roger Chen of Huntsville, who competes to help fund his college education.

While directors Justine Jacob and Alex D. da Silva nail the tone and the story in many ways, the film begs to be about 30 minutes shorter. Nonetheless, “Ready, Set, Bag!” is a great family film, one that will leave you smiling.

Jennifer WestJennifer West (@thejenwestquest) won the Sidewalk Audience Choice award for her romantic comedy “Piece of Cake” in 2006, which she wrote and directed. She will manage the SideTalk panels at Sidewalk. And her blog, The Jen West Quest, has been featured in Health magazine.

“Ready, Set, Bag!” will screen at 4:15 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Alabama Theatre.

Video: Georgia champion Michael Henghi enjoys the support
of co-workers and customers, in a scene from “Ready, Set, Bag!”

Video: “Ready, Set, Bag!” trailer


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