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Monday, September 28, 2009

The film that goes on giving

The last time I watched "This Is Spinal Tap" I didn't laugh much but I watch all the later Christopher Guest films – "Waiting For Guffman," "Best In Show" and "A Mighty Wind" – again and again. Last night it was, once again, the last-named. In every case the first time through I thought the film was a bit of a disappointment and gradually came to love it like you come to love certain albums. They're the polar opposite of the average 21st century Hollywood film, which tells you more than you need to know in the first fifteen minutes and then leaves you determined never to sit through it again. It's the apparent lack of ambition that allows these films - which are all, I note, about people on the frontier between the amateur and professional realms - to sink in gradually. Maybe it's because Christopher Guest knows you're going to come back more than once that he allows everything to unfold in such an unhurried fashion.

6 comments:

  1. not sure if christopher Guest is a dog lover but I feel mighty wind is more engaging because it's got some heart about it. Presumably because Guest et al have a love of the folk scene they are gently joshing but also praising. Also they have a corp of actors (Jennifer Coolidge for instance) with no vanity willing to act ridiculously when needed.

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  2. Couldnt agree more. Excellent films that I return to time and time again never tiring of them. I agree with the poster above about The Mighty Wind. Its my favourite to and there is a real fondness towards its subject matter.

    I havent seen his more recent For Your Consideration. Any good?

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  3. It was on BBC2 on Sunday evening :-)

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  4. ... For Your Consideration. That is.

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  5. I think Guest just assumes his audience is intelligent. It's like an oasis in the desert.

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  6. Have you seen the commentary on This Is Spinal Tap? It's the band, in character, from a noughties perspective. As hilarious - well, almost - as watching the film for the first time

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