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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.