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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 Rob Gonsalves

"Another satisfying, gentle Christopher Guest satire."
5 stars

Christopher Guest's great comic theme is the self-delusion inherent in entertainment: it's always seen as hapless competition, whether among film students ('The Big Picture'), repertory players ('Waiting for Guffman'), dog owners ('Best in Show'), or one's own past glory ('This Is Spinal Tap').

Guest's new mockumentary, A Mighty Wind, is, like Spinal Tap, about aging musicians revisiting their golden old days. The subject here is folk singers, though, not pampered metal-rock dinosaurs, so A Mighty Wind is the gentlest satire Guest has yet created. As Guest gets older, I think, his instinct is to honor the entertainers who are still in there pitching, rather than to tear them down.

Once again fashioning a loose framework with co-star Eugene Levy (within which the cast is free to improvise), Guest proposes that a trailblazing folk-music manager has died, and that his son (Bob Balaban) wants to organize a reunion concert of all the old '60s acts the old man represented. There's the New Main Street Singers, who seem to have only one original member left (a sour-faced Paul Dooley); the Folksmen, a one-hit wonder reuniting the Spinal Tap group of Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer; and Mitch and Mickey (Levy and Catherine O'Hara), who once crooned sweetly to each other to the oohs and ahs of America, but haven't spoken since their acrimonious split decades ago.

As before, Guest lets the characters talk at length, obliviously revealing their own quirks and neuroses. The New Main Street Singers, for instance, seem to be a haven for society's drop-outs, fleeing ugly reality and snuggling into the safety and pieties of the group dynamic. One couple, the waggishly named Bohners (John Michael Higgins and Jane Lynch), talk like chipper suburban drones, but she has a past as a "performer" in movies "for mature audiences," and they both solemnly worship the "dimension of color." Parker Posey, with bulletproof smile, appears as a younger group member who took solace in the Main Street Singers after living on the streets for a while. Folk music here is seen as a calming illusion, an almost religious structure.

We watch the various groups as showtime approaches. The Folksmen argue over whether to take their old Dickies out of mothballs; Harry Shearer has the movie's home-run line when he tries to distinguish between hip and retro. The Main Street Singers, shiny and happy to a fault, nevertheless show some integrity when deflecting the goofball ideas of Fred Willard in the perfect Fred Willard role as their manager. The emotional core of A Mighty Wind is the tentative reunion of Mitch and Mickey, and Guest finds something real and spiky in their anti-rapport. O'Hara gives a rather frightened performance as a woman looking back on her past and seeing nothing but ghosts, while Levy, the ghost who walks, goes so far into Mitch's near-autistic misery that he creates a void that the movie is drawn into. It throws the film's tender comedy off a little, but Guest and especially Levy give us a man whose demons won't be resolved in a lifetime, never mind in 92 minutes of screen time. The movie bravely lets Mitch be screwed-up and unreachable, and the comedy deepens.

Everything leads up to the live televised reunion concert, and Guest correctly concludes that we don't want to see everything fall apart -- we don't want any Stonehenge embarrassments, we want these people to come back and bask in the glow again for an evening. Suspense gathers alongside the comedy -- will Mitch get it together enough to perform again with Mickey? -- and there are some good laughs involving an unauthorized cover version and Harry Shearer's stone-faced lecture on the anguish of the Civil War.

'A Mighty Wind' is not as biting as some Guest fans might want it to be, but who wants to see these people bitten? They're harmless enough, and their music -- composed by the actors, some of it genuinely good -- brings them together, like a bridge between personalities or between eras.

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originally posted: 01/16/07 12:11:00
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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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