A Mighty Wind
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Documentary-style Comedy. Christopher Guest follows up his acclaimed ensemble comedies Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman with a docu-comedy about three folk groups from the '60s who reunite for a memorial concert in New York City following the death of a legendary folk manager.
- Nearly a half-hour of additional scenes
- Live TV broadcast on the entire concert
- "Vintage" TV appearences on the bands
- Musical group via biographies
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I think part of the movie's attraction is its attention to detail. The album covers featured look like they were created during the appropriate time period. Even the songs and musical styles sound right. (Yes, I bought the CD and the songs blend easily into my other folk music songs.)
I also loved the extras. The deleted scenes are funny, but the jewels are the TV episodes and the PBN recording. They are spot on. Do take the time to watch them.
If you like folk music and have a sense of humor about it or if you enjoy good comedy, I think you'll like the movie.
But wait a minute Movie Dude, I'm new to this whole Bowling for Movies thing - how's it work? Glad you asked, friend, glad you asked. Bowling for Movies is the brain flower of me, The Movie Dude, and made up of equal parts old technology and new peanut butter sandwiches. Utilizing a mix of quasi/pseudo-science the scientists here at The Thomason Home for Movie Goodness developed a completely un-patentable system for ranking and scoring movies which is 100% dependable and literally has nothing to do with bowling.
A Mighty Wind - We own the DVD version of this perfect scoring flick
What The Movie Is About:
Ever ask yourself what if `This is Spinal Tap' was about a 60's folk group? Done in Christopher Guest's mockumentary style, the movie follows the efforts made by legendary 50-60's folk music producer, Irving Stienbloom's children to organize a memorial concert after his untimely death. Slated to perform are three of the most popular (and utterly forgotten) bands, The Folksmen: Mark Shubb (Harry Shearer), Alan Barrows (Christopher Guest), and Jerry Palter (Michael McKean); The New Main Street Singers: George Menschell (Paul Dooley), Terry Bohner (John Michael Higgins), Laurie Bohner (Jane Lynch), Sissy Knox (Parker Posey), Mike Maryama (Mark Nonisa), and managed by Mike "I don't think so" LaFontaine (Fred Willard); and the romantic styling of Mitch and Mickey - Mitch Cohen (Eugene Levy) and Mickey Crabbe (Catherine O'Hara).
The show goes off without a hitch... well, slight hitches... well, actually, wacky-zany comedy ensues as these three bands try to overcome the many long years out of the lime light to prepare for the concert. Down to earth "interviews" provide insight into the varied personalities (with hilarious results). This is seriously one of the funniest casts assembled anywhere with many of the scenes ad-libbed to perfection. Along the way, sub plots begin to unfold including an incredibly tender love story between Mitch and Mickey (I have to admit, the delicate story of their rise and fall caught me off guard - I had NO IDEA Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy could pull off such depth of acting). The New Main Street Singers is full of internal drama, from their off-color jokes, manager's often outrageous ideas, to the band's rules including the newest member not being able to wear his `civies' (street clothes) during practice until everyone agrees he's the embodiment of his part. The Folkmen, what can I say about The Folkmen - they are the self-appointed spirit of folk music, purist to the core - as opposed to The Main Street Singers "toothpaste commercials".
What I Loved About The Movie:
~ Expertly written, wonderfully directed, and AWESOMELY scored - A Mighty Wind is a spoofing of epic proportions
~ The music, oh my god, the music is SO GOOD - while they were making light of the short lived mainstream folk scene, they copied the style to perfection... these aren't fake folk songs - THEY NAILED IT, these are as real as it gets - a big debate at this house was who sang "Never Did No Wanderin'" better - The Folksmen or The Main Street Singers (photo finish on that one) and the tenderness of "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" by Mitch and Mickey... absolute movie magic, and well deserving of an Academy Award nod for best song
~ A thinking person's movie - the subtlety of humor runs throughout the film; no big bang jokes, no HUGE physical humor, no "look at me, LOOK AT ME" outrageous front men... just the natural humor which falls neatly around each character
~ Mandatory multiple watch movie... I have to come clean here and use what we call "honesty hour" rules (that's where everyone in the house has to be completely honest for an hour, usually reserved for tense house disputes such as "who used all the toilet paper and didn't replace it" or my personal favorite, "who ate the last cookie") and tell you, I didn't care for Christopher Guest movies... nope, I didn't get it - I watched This Is Spinal Tap, I saw Waiting for Guffman, heck, I even watched Best in Show... I just didn't get it and then I watched A Mighty Wind and I chucked; days went by and I found myself thinking of the movie, and I watched it again and the chuckling turned into laughs, by the 5th viewing, laughing turned to full on belly laughs. Once I "got it" I re-watched the other movies and found to my utter pleasure that they too were hilarious... Christopher Guest movies simply need to be watched several times to sink in, heck, I watched A Mighty Wind twice in the same day to write this review!
Ok, I don't usually put product links in but if you liked the movie you simply HAVE to pick up the soundtrack... it has extra songs not used in the movie and they are EVERY BIT as good as the ones IN the movie...A Mighty Wind: The Album. I strongly recommend it. Who knew Eugene Levy could sing like an angle? I'd buy tickets to A Mighty Wind Reunion tour in a second... but atlas, my review is turning into a small book :] 300 movies deserve the extra attention and love I lavish on them.
Hey, if you have a question about this review, feel free to leave a comment and I will try to answer promptly. I will be leaving more movie reviews with bowling scores so check out my other reviews. Bowling for Movies is in no way affiliated with Amazon nor do I have a website or other business interest - I'm just a dude who watches movies (and dabbles in quasi/pseudo-science) :] Want me to review a movie and score it in an Amazon review - I'd be happy to - if I have it, you'll get it.
Folk-music producer Irving Steinbloom has died, and his son Jonathan Steinbloom (Bob Balaban) wants a tribute to dear dad -- a concert of the folk stars and groups of yesteryear. Among them the Folksmen, Mitch and Mickey, and the New Main Street Singers. (They never existed, for your information) Of course, it won't be quite as easy as anyone hoped.
Mockumentaries are always fun when they're done well. In clumsier hands than Guest's, this could have been a disaster of epic proportions. But it isn't -- it's cute, funny, entertaining and excellently-acted. And despite the fact that I was not alive during the 1960s heyday of folk (and prefer more exotic, eclectic music), I liked the singing of the sweet-natured songs like "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow." Like Peter Jackson's affectionate old-movie tribute "Forgotten Silver," this movie is sometimes so real that you almost forget it isn't.
Guest (the director and one of the writers as well as the star) is immensely likable as Balaban is entirely believable as the pretty neurotic Jonathan (the chess thing is quite weird). Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara are also excellent as a pair of ex-folk singers (and ex-loves) who are reunited for the concert, alternately funny and poignant. Fred Willard is immensely entertaining as an attention-obsessed road manager.
The writing is excellent, very believable; dialogue is likewise good. Some fans from the original folk-music era may be a little ticked off that social and political commentary is kept to a minimum, but I preferred it that way. With commentary like that, less is more. The humor is restrained in some quarters (the script) and unrestrained in others (Willard), but it's also very eclectic: Everybody is funny, but in different ways. (For example, the "Witches of Nature's Colors" -- nuff zed!) The humor isn't stupid or crude, but it appeals to the audience rather than looking down on them. The feeling of it is friendly and affectionate, to the audience as much as the folk artists it spoofs.
Satire is a much-neglected field of moviemaking, but Christopher Guest gives us a "mighty" example of what it should be like. Lovely movie, definitely worth the viewing.