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Overall Rating

Awesome: 32.54%
Worth A Look40.48%
Average: 20.63%
Pretty Bad: 2.38%
Total Crap: 3.97%

11 reviews, 60 user ratings

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Mighty Wind, A
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by Brian McKay

"Spinal Folk breaks like the wind across whitebread America"
4 stars

Once again, Christopher Guest and company manage to zero in on an obscure cross-segment of white middle America, mimic it with uncanny accuracy, then lambaste it thoroughly. Fans of BEST IN SHOW will be happy to see most (if not all) of the players from that film returning here, including the indispensable Fred Willard as the hilarious motor-mouthed dolt he usually plays in Guest’s films.

As if the venues of small town community theater and dog shows weren’t obscure enough, A Mighty Wind plunges us into a world most of us probably know nothing about – the Folk Music industry. When a prominent agent in the industry dies, his three adult children decide to put together a benefit concert in his honor. After pulling some strings, they manage to bring together three legendary folk bands – two of which disbanded years ago.

The only band still together is the “New Main Street Singers”, a nine-piece ensemble of mostly kids, led by a husband and wife team who are surviving members of the original band. They give the group a cultish flair, with matching uniforms and their own home-made religion that is based on the vibrancy of colors or some such nonsense. As usual, one of the females in the script is a reformed slut. In Best of Show it was Catherine O’Hara’s character, the former truck stop waitress who keeps encountering the ghosts of former one night stands. This time, New Main Street Singers mother figure Laurie Bohner (Jane Lynch) is the ex-ho, who reveals with a beaming smile that before she joined the group she did porno – and that she usually did “things that the other girls wouldn’t do”. Meanwhile, husband Terry (John Michael Higgins, whose character was flamboyantly gay and fastiduously funny in Best in Show) admits that “There was abuse in my family growing up . . . but it was musical in nature”. Generally considered as sellouts by the other acts, the New Main Street Singers croon and posture with Pepsodent grins, like some "Lawrence Welk Show" act on Ecstasy.

Also added to the bill are “The Folksmen”, consisting of Spinal Tap vets Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, and Michael Mckean. Although their characters are more subdued here, like some corn fed, cardigan-wearing, sedated Tap alter-ego from a parallel universe, they still deliver a consistent stream of laughs and a respectable array of musicianship. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself subconsciously tapping a toe during the musical numbers. Yes, the music is wholesome and corny, but it’s also insidiously catchy.

Finally topping the bill are Mitch (Eugene Levy) and Mickey (Catherine O’Hara, who I hereby declare is solid MILF material). They were the sweethearts of the genre back in the 70’s – until their divorce, and Mitch’s subsequent slide into depression and reclusiveness. Now Mickey is married to a medical supply salesman and the bug-eyed and slow-talking Mitch still looks like he’s half out of his mind, but finally dealing with things.

When the three acts finally come together, there is the expected amount of phony freindliness and dressing room back-biting, although sadly it is never taken to the acerbic and acidic level of Best in Show (this movie could have used something like Parker Posey’s infamous dog toy rant). However, differences are quickly put aside and minor crises (like Mitch wandering off just before he and Mickey are supposed to go on stage) are resolved in time for them to get their hootenanny on and come together for a grand musical finale’. And although the humor in A Mighty Wind isn’t quite as sharp or punchy as in Guest and company’s previous efforts, it’s still consistently, and often hysterically, funny. Some of it may be an acquired taste, like Levy's clueless monotone wide eyed and perplexed character, which some critics have panned. Okay, look - not his funniest role by far, I'll admit. But at least it's something different from his usual nebbish and good-natured father figure character. The guy tried something new, and for the most part, it works. And while the humor may be more subdued, the innuendos are as frequent and ripe as ever - especially at the end of the title track when all the players exuberantly exclaim, “There’s a mighty wind a-blowin’, it’s blowing you and me!”

While A MIGHTY WIND may not be Guest et al’s best effort to date, it’s definitely not a shabby one. Fans of the troupe’s odd humor and scathingly accurate caricatures will find much to be pleased about here. If you really hate folk music, even parodies thereof, then you may find things a bit dry during the musical numbers. But barring any such deep-seated aversion, even the weakest of those segments should put a smile on your face long enough to tide you over until the next guffaw.

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originally posted: 06/12/03 17:34:01
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2003 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/11/13 Kymberly Pray Know they've done a few, this group should do *every* movie together. Great chemistry. 5 stars
12/27/11 Jim McLennan "Hilarious"? "Hysterical"? Er... No. 2 stars
2/28/07 Clyde One of the best locations I've come across lately!!! Definately a permanent bookmark! Pleas 1 stars
2/08/07 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
1/24/06 Indrid Cold Like Spinal Tap, except for folk music, and with about 1/3 as many jokes. 3 stars
12/10/05 MAttIFUL Is that really supposed to be funny? I dont get it. I feel embarassed for all in this movie 1 stars
11/08/05 blue dolphin a sad commentary of folk music 4 stars
8/13/05 Ben Quinn Not as funny as Best in Show, but still better than Waiting for Guffman 4 stars
12/17/04 Ken Cenerelli Funny but not as good as Best In Show. 4 stars
7/25/04 DM Some funny parts, but it's so whatevery 3 stars
4/26/04 Lord Jiggy A surprise. Funny, even touching, with whackball humor out of nowhere. 4 stars
4/19/04 Ionicera "these were my friends....and they were made out of gin cartons" 4 stars
3/22/04 Goofy Maxwell More heart than previous Guest gigs, just not mighty funny. 4 stars
3/13/04 James Kustes second only to Spinal Tap 5 stars
3/09/04 gerry great really loved it esprcially The Kiss song 4 stars
3/06/04 Snickerdoodle I LOVED THIS MOVIE!! THE MUSIC WAS SO GREAT! 5 stars
2/06/04 john not worse, not better, just different than guest's other stuff. still great! 5 stars
1/23/04 Chloe Brody Ey, what happened?!?!?! A total pisser!!! 4 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Brilliant, superb, hysterically funny mockumentary; O'Hara is outstanding. 5 stars
1/05/04 astra astra omg it was the worst movie i have ever seen in my life 1 stars
11/22/03 ROY L. CAIN,JR. A satirical spin on the folk music craze. EAT AT OES ! 4 stars
11/09/03 b awesome 5 stars
10/25/03 Al Baston Great fot first two thirds lost it at the end but always fun to watch these crazies. 4 stars
10/21/03 Jorchel Smithenstein This is the best movie ever made. 5 stars
10/06/03 BDB Two words: Wha' Happened??? ... BAHAHAHA! 5 stars
9/13/03 Ant A brilliantly acted film, full of laugh-out-loud moments. A pure joy to watch. 5 stars
9/01/03 Marcia Lartz Peculiarly watchable, though I'd never have guessed so from the premise. 4 stars
8/24/03 francis moves on from the 'best of show' concept - very funny if you are the right mood 4 stars
7/28/03 Elendil It's like `Waiting for Guffman', only this time, you've seen it before. 3 stars
7/14/03 skye just plain not funny. and i'm a big fan. could've been great 3 stars
7/02/03 Jacob Simmering Great movie, esp if it was improved 5 stars
6/05/03 LaFontis The best film this summer. Don't waste your time and money with mainsteam movies. 5 stars
6/01/03 Jack Bourbon Not very funny, oddly. Still, Levy was great, and the blonde from "BiS" was smokin' here. 4 stars
5/29/03 Ellwood Erb This movie is definity worth watching.... Very Funny stuff 4 stars
5/23/03 Karl Mattson Guest's best to date. Hillarity tempered with tenderness. 5 stars
5/20/03 malcolm not as good as 'best...' or 'waiting...' maybe i'm just too used to the formula. 3 stars
5/20/03 the snakes yes, a mighty wind. a mighty broken wind if you catch my drift 1 stars
5/15/03 A film observer This film is about the hilarity and beauty of the moment - not about political messages. 5 stars
5/14/03 Allen Overall, pretty good but some hillarious moments 4 stars
5/13/03 scottyrobotty tries to be funny and fails a lot, a lot of other times it doesn't even try. very let down 2 stars
5/12/03 Warren Norwood A Mighty Miss, this movie misses most of the folk scene as it really was. Falls way short. 2 stars
5/12/03 skye NOT the best of the 3, or even close. 3 stars
5/11/03 Vicious Awsome is too strong, but Eugene Levy was too good to call anything less than great 5 stars
5/07/03 ajay very funny, I laughed out loud *several* times 5 stars
5/06/03 H.E. Brilliant. For those who did not rate it "awesome", I can only say: "Wha' happened?" :) 5 stars
5/01/03 T. Oliver Worst of the three 3 stars
5/01/03 Andrew Carden Hilariously Funny Indie Comedy With Fantastic Performances By Posey, O'Hara, and Levy. 5 stars
4/24/03 Desmond Barely tries to be funny, but it's surprisingly touching and dramatic 5 stars
4/23/03 Daddy Phil Pine nut...pastacio nut...macadamia nut 5 stars
4/22/03 jamie one of the more ecletic, yet entertaining films I have see this year. great! 5 stars
4/22/03 Johnny little something Fan Tas Tic. 5 stars
4/20/03 Weezer Christopher Guest is a comic genius. 5 stars
4/20/03 George Jung The funniest movie I've seen since...Best In Show. Keep it up, Guest. 5 stars
4/19/03 Dana Carvey must DIE!!! It is very funny, but more than that it is sometimes moving. And the music rocks (kinda). 5 stars
4/14/03 bluegirl funny!! 5 stars
4/12/03 steve christiansen an outstanding and hilarious film! the best of the three by far. 5 stars
4/09/03 reggie wagstaff BRILLIANT!!! 5 stars
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  16-Apr-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 23-Sep-2003



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