Thursday, January 29, 2004

Mighty Mighty

"A Mighty Wind" is pure genius, the best Christopher Guest mockumentary since "Spinal Tap." And you don't have to be especially familiar with folk music to enjoy it. Knowing just a little about folk, though, will help you realize even more the monumental talent that it takes to make a film like this.

The usual suspects -- Guest, Eugene Levy, Harry Shearer, Catherine O'Hara, Michael McKean -- are back as funny characters, but this time they've also penned -- AND played AND sung -- a number of genuinely catchy songs. The songs are about 90% authentic sounding folk songs, and 10% "off," for a little comedy (ok, maybe more than 10% for "Barnyard Symphony").

But most of the humor, as usual, comes from the improvised acting of the oddball characters as sketched by Guest and Levy and filled out by the previously mentioned actors as well as regulars like Bob Balaban, Parker Posey, Fred Willard, etc. There's even an actually touching moment (you'll know it if you watch the movie).

This one was so good that for the second time ever I actually listened to the commentary track on a DVD (and for the record, even Guest and Levy note that Fred Willard is "strange"). The "special features" of deleted scenes, etc. are also worth watching.

So watch it.