By Jef Dinsmore on Sep 9, 2014 to Documentaries

Doc-logoOverview: “‘A good job’ means a really tough fire,” says retired firefighter Alfred Benjamin. Some call it terrifying or seductive, but as Rescue 5’s Joseph Esposito notes, “You should be scared…that’s what keeps you alive.” Directed and produced by Liz Garbus (HBO’s LOVE, MARILYN, BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD and others) and produced by actor Steve Buscemi (Emmy nominee for HBO’s BOARDWALK EMPIRE) this documentary explores life in one of the most demanding and innovative fire departments in the world. Featuring first-hand accounts of veteran firefighters and former FDNY member Buscemi, the film reveals what it feels like to fight, and know, fire in New York when it debuts MONDAY, SEPT. 8 (9:00- fdny01_th10:00 p.m. ET/PT).

Spotlighting the immense mental and physical toll of firefighting, as well as the community borne out of sharing an incredible responsibility, A GOOD JOB goes inside the New York City Fire Department to illuminate the lives of heroes who put themselves at risk to serve the city. Through behind-the-scenes footage and interviews conducted by Buscemi, the film tells stories of the men and women of the FDNY while drawing on candid photos and rare video from the last five decades to revisit department milestones.

Expectations: Do youngster’s still dream of being firemen? It always seemed to be a childhood dream to do so. It is clearly not because it a glamorous occupation to be sure, but one that can be dangerous and heroic that caused such role play in kids. Some got to act on those dreams, like Steve Buscemi I guess, and take on the job. This documentary should share what kind of person it takes to be a firefighter and illustrate just how difficult, stressful and emotional such a job should be. There is no better place I suppose than the busiest city in the country to showcase such endeavors. It is time to once again imagine yourself as a fireman!  

Gut Reaction: This documentary is only sixty minutes long, but within that hour you amazingly get a strong sense of what the job of firefighting is all about. In Buscemi- conducted interviews you get how one gets into the fire station and what life is like there and on the job.

As the film starts off we see fun, smiling people happy to talk about being the next generation in their family to be in the business and making it through the testing and probational period that all fighters go through. There is a whole firehouse culture that they all poke fun at, but also can’t function without. As the film moves on the downside of the job shows up on the faces of the interviewed. The dangers, the tragedies, the close calls and the losses are mentioned including 9/11.fdny05_th

Footage and voice-over about the events at the World Trade Center of course change the tone of the piece even further. Suddenly firefighting becomes a burden that only this closed family of professionals can understand. We are told even wives cannot truly understand what the team from the firehouse goes through. We unA-Good-Job-Key-Artderstand it all a bit better by watching this and learned that Steve Buscemi is part of that special family.

In Conclusion: A GOOD JOB: STORIES FROM THE NYFD flowed very well though the points the film wanted to get across about the tight knit family the fire department is and the life of fighting fires. Though there are a 1001 stories that could be told, especially in NYC, one hour couldn’t fit them all. What is said, however, leaves us with a strong sense of what it is like. Do you still want to be a fireman?

 Other HBO air dates: 09.10 at 9:30am and 5:30pm, 09.14 at 3:30pm, 09.15  at 1:30pm, 09.20 at12:30 pm and 09.25 at 5:15am.

 Next Week: On 09.15 the footage will shock you – TERROR AT THE MALL.




  • Eleonora Iafano

    When I was a little girl, the role of firefighter was always portrayed as rescuing a cat from a tree and putting out a fire on your front lawn. In today’s day and age, I know that it is strenuous work, both physically and mentally. I cannot begin to imagine what firefighters have to go through, especially when confronted with massive fires and a tremendous amount of injuries. After 9/11, I am sure that the emotional and mental stress of the job increased one hundred fold. I believe the occupation to be an honourable one and many families have younger generations going into the profession. I’m certain that there are costs to the job, as with anything that has risk to the human body. My hat’s off to the men and women who have the strength to follow their dreams and face uncertainty with courage under fire.

  • Ellie Wilkin

    The great thing about being on holiday in America is that i can actually watch HBO properly! Caught this when it was on, beautiful documentary. We visited Ground Zero a few days previous and this doc really showed the courage of the firefighters on that day. GREAT job.

  • Bob Burton Fire Capt. (RET)

    As a retired Firefighter I just want to say Steve Buscemi nailed it. Great job on a Good Job. Thanks

  • This reminds me vaguely of how James Gandolfini took on the issue of injured vets. Love seeing the stars give back.

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