Friday, August 10, 2007

Waiting For Guffman (1997)

Crappy Trailer (only one I could find)

So, I figured it was high time to lighten the mood (Von Trier films have that effect), and I figured I would talk about one of the most brilliant and quotable movies of the last 15 years, Waiting For Guffman.

Now, for anyone who has watched This Is Spinal Tap, you should have a pretty good idea for the feel of the film, as it shares the mockumentary format. But this time out, Guest is both in front of and behind the camera on this vicious skewering of small-town community theater, and the offbeat, quirky, and completely bizarre inhabitants of Blaine, Missouri, a town most noted for its footstools and UFO sightings.

Guest plays Corky St. Clair, who has been commissioned to put on a play celebrating Blaine for it's 150th Anniversary. And he assembles a cast of oddballs, including Eugene Levy, as the cross eyed dentist with delusions of talent; Parker Posey, who pics up the acting gig in between her shifts at the Dairy Queen; Fred Willard and Catherine O'Hara, the goofball couple who pride themselves on being master thespians and who share an interesting history.

This is a film where the sense of humor isn't for everyone. It's not the standard set up/punchline kind of jokes. It's more the type of movie where you're laughing with it by laughing at it. The characters are all fairly idiotic and delusional, and some of the things that come out of their mouths is just fucking funny. Even if you don't appreciate it the first time out, give it a second go. The humor will become apparent.

From Corky's comments about his wife "Bonnie" to Sheila Albertson's now infamous "Shhh... girl talk" scene at the Chinese restaurant, this is one of those rainy day movie that always cheers me up, and I find myself quoting this probably more than any other movie I can think of. For the initiated, the Guffman-related back-and-forth quips can last for hours.

His two subsequent mockumentaries Best In Show and A Mighty Wind are both excellent as well: the former shares it's mean-spirited mockery, but in the world of dog shows, while the latter is a lot more of a heartfelt and sincere ode to folk music. But somehow, despite having expanded the repertoire of actors in his later films, Waiting For Guffman is still the gold standard. And if you don't like it... well.... then, I just HATE you... and I hate your... ass... FACE!


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