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Dan K

Sorry for the inconsequential comment, but is there any reason why you don't link to the imdb profile of the movies you review?

That Fuzzy Bastard

Actually, A MIGHTY WIND is unusual in Guest's filmography, and far and away the best of the lot. What was clearly intended as a spoof of pretentious folk singers turns into a genuinely poignant meditation on aging, and the way people learn to live with plans that don't work out (or that do in a way you hadn't intended). It ends up hitting much more genuinely emotional notes than anything else Guest has done---on the commentary, Guest himself seems a little surprised by how deep it ended up being. I highly reccomend checking it out---it may actually revise a lot of your opinions about his films (even if it's only to make you wonder why they can't all be that good).

sfmike

What That Fuzzy Bastard said. And before you undertake your Oscar blogging orgy, please get thee to a good rental joint and find Volume 3, Disc 2 of SCTV (Episode #98, May 1, 1982) where Guy Caballero, along with the National Midnight Star, hosts the first annual "People's Global Golden Choice Awards." It features most of the cast of "For Your Consideration" when they were young, fun and brilliant, including a deadpan Catherine O'Hara as Liz Taylor stumbling over her cue cards.

Lance

Dan,

Just personal preference. When the movie's recent, I like to link to the official website. Some of those are a lot of fun and give a better sense of what the movie's about than IMDB. With older movies, I try to link to a review or, if there is one, to the Turner Classic Movies article. When all else fails, I go with IMDB. Also there's a link to IMDB over in my right hand sidebar under the heading Virtual All Night Movie Theater, along with some other good movie sites.

If I had the time I would link to the IMDB pages for every actor or director I mention, unless they happen to have their own webpage, as Ricky Gervais does.

Fuzzy, Mike, I will check out A Mighty Wind. But after I get to those old SCTV episodes.

travy

in general, i think the vain need to be skewered. for their own sake...

nothstine

I second [or, by now, fourth] the recommendation to hie thee hence to "A Mighty Wind."

Fuzzy B's right, by the way--AMW's not about the protest ethos ["folk" and "protest" were overlapping genres on the best of days; "The Unicorn" was "folk"]. AMW reminds me, in a gentle and affectionate way, of the wonderfully acidic remark by Tom Lehrer, who observed at the time, "The reason most folk songs are so atrocious is that they were written by The People."

Lance, I'll be particularly interested to hear your take on Catherine O'Hara's performance in AMW when you get to it. I'm occasionally given to pointless sentimentality, but her performance in that flick broke my heart, and I argued vociferously at the time [until I decided I needed back the company of my friends more] that she should have gotten a nomination for it. Her last couple of scenes in AMW were at least as good--and much more sweetly, sadly underplayed--as the single famous rant scene in "Network" that bagged a Supporting Actress Oscar for Beatrice Straight.

bn

Henderstock

Personally, I think that if there are no righteously skewered victims, it's not satire. Poking gentle fun at the vanities of justifiably obscure folks--which seems to be Mr. Guest's shtick--played well on SCTV, mainly because it was free. On the big screen, you should go after big game. And that means taking risks.

bella

It's hardly fair to bash Guest for meanness and then close with the comment that his cast is getting "long in the tooth". That's mean.

travy

Personally, I think that if there are no righteously skewered victims, it's not satire.

maybe not righteously, but i think there was a little dig at the harmless kind of vanity that comes from nobodies who think they're somebodies. it's cute, but it's still deluded and i'd add, very american at the moment which is why i'd call amw satire.

but i'd agree it's cruelty towards easy targets, and like stated above, the spoof becomes more earnest by the end, turning the schtick upside down as the viewer starts to pull for the characters rather than laugh at them. cool trick he pulled in 'best in show' too...

m coleman

I found Waiting for Guffman to be mean-spirited but I laughed at Best In Show because I have "issues' with the canine world. A Mighty Wind, despite the title, is actually quite sentimental and even reverent about the 60s folk music boom underneath the laughs. Guest is the right age to be an old folkie.

Andrew

I'm a huge Spinal Tap/Christopher Guest fan, but I have to say that I actively disliked FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION.

Much of the pleasure of GUFFMAN AND MIGHTY WIND was watching the actors perform live onstage -- the live performances were the climaxes of these films. In CONSIDERATION, HOME FOR PURIM was pretty much relegated to the first half of the movie. The neuroses and angst of the actors here never built up to anything. And I found much of the other showbiz spoofing uninspired (Lemme get this straight -- Hollywood agents are sometimes insincere? Infotainment hosts are frequently shallow and shrill? I'm going to have to sit down a moment and allow that to slowly sink in). I saw the original cast of RENT on Broadway and recall thinking to myself, "Boy, spoofing performance art is an awfully dated idea for 1996." Parker Posey's performance art parody here is even lamer.

dswift

Wow. That's not just analysis. That's over-analysis. Rather than scowling at FYC's dustbunnies I spent my time marveling at all the funny little details. The writers' pomp. Pilgrim hat hair. Guest's sandwich handling skills. Guest's movies are never perfect but, as movies go, they're perfect diversions.

spazzniblet

dswift - I have the same reaction to virtually all of Lances reviews. At times I wonder if he really thinks he can read the creators minds to be so confident in their intentions. With that said I keep coming back and reading his reviews because he clearly puts a lot of thought into each one and I'm left looking at the film from a different perspective.

I think in this case For Your consideration hits too close to home for some people. It is definitely pretty mean if you happen to get attached to some of the primary characters early on. I don't think it's that great of an effort by Guest overall, but there is enough good stuff to satisfy spending 80 minutes watching it.

Heywood J.

I'll throw my two cents in for Mighty Wind as well. I was prepared not to like it, since I couldn't care less about folk music. But as TFB said, it really is an affecting meditation on loss and aging, and pokes mostly gentle fun at its subjects.

As for FYC, I really saw most of Guest's contempt aimed at the corrupt publicity machinery, as well as the asshole producers and distributors who just waltz in with their focus-group surveys and twist an artist's vision to fit their niche-marketing dreams. It's an old story, sure, but one that still bears repeating.

I read the Marilyn Hack character as simply being that arechetype of would-be artiste that is never remotely as talented as they think they are, and doesn't know how to handle the machine that is handling them. Inevitably their reach exceeds their small grasp, and they flounder.

Harry Shearer's character was the reverse of that -- a guy boxed in by a forgetful public as the foot-long weiner guy, no matter how much stage work he did, no matter how talented he was in Home For Purim Thanksgiving. And his talent gets evened out just as Hack's lack of appreciable talent does, by the uncaring machinery, and he ends up on infomercials.

I dunno, I'd give it a B or B+ anyway, not saying FYC is Guest's best work. But I really saw his sharpest riffs aimed squarely at how the sausage gets made, rather than at his characters or their broadly-drawn stereotypes. He's never needed all the glitz and hype anyway; it makes sense that he wouldn't entirely get people who do. Frankly, by the end I felt like digging out a tape of The Big Picture just for old times' sake. That's not a bad thing.

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