was a New York City firefighter (top Left) from 1980-84 before becoming an actor
In the documentary A Good Job, directed by Liz Garbus, finishes with actor Steve Buscemi and each of the brave men and women he interviews. Having been a fireman in Engine 55 in the early '80's after his father insisted he take the civil service exam, Buscemi was compelled to join that company, in full gear, going down to the disaster site on Sept. 12, to help recover what they could of the station's five missing men. He took a video camera, and the scale of rubble even today so many years after the fact seems incredible. Now on the week of 9/11 commemoration, this documentary is Buscemi's tribute to a job he left, and to the firefighters with whom he still feels bonded.
Steve Buscemi discusses firehouse culture in ‘A Good Job.’"
A Good Job” accomplishes the hardest of all feats with firefighters: making them exactly life-size. That’s plenty big enough to admire without giving them the uncomfortable burden of being superheroes.
Steve Buscemi, who was a New York firefighter himself from 1980 to 1984, produced “A Good Job” with filmmaker Liz Garbus, and it’s personal to Buscemi in an unobtrusive way. Much of the film is built on interviews with firefighters, and the conversations feel like conversation between professionals, not like a lecture to a group of outsiders.
We see how protocol works and how orderly and regimented a process firefighting can be. You don’t just show up and start squirting a hose.
The Fire Department was one of many institutions changed by that day. Buscemi, who joined his old company to work on the rubble immediately after the attacks, talks gently with survivors about the holes that will never be filled.
While all firefighters were instantly labeled “heroes” in the wake of 9/11, it’s noteworthy that none of the interviewees here uses the term. They were doing the job they do every day, on a particularly tough day. “A Good Job” touches on several sensitive areas, like the tough battle for women and minorities to crack the department. That’s not irrevelant to the story here.