So I saw A Mighty Wind last night, and I saw it under the most biased conditions possible, meaning everyone in the audience was drunk and, for the most part, had something to do with the movie. If you're wondering what I was doing there, Reba (my girlfriend) works for a company that provided booze for the event, so that got her in, and I tagged along as a guest.
To me, the best part of the evening was getting to meet Bob Balaban beforehand. I love me some B.B. He played Francois Trauffaut's translator sidekick in Close Encounters, for heaven's sake! He's the coolest.
So anyway, after a thorough soaking of booze and free finger food, we all filed into the theater and took our seats. Mr. Balaban said a few words to the audience, at which point I learned this screening was for a non-profit organization whose name now eludes me, but nonetheless Mr. B is a member of. At this point I also realize that John McEnroe and a man who would appear to be his father are sitting right next to us. Nutty. Also Jeff Goldblum is in attendance. There are probably others but it's hard to not notice him, he's so damn tall.
Okay, enough Entertainment Weekly-style chit chat, what about the movie...
The movie was fine. It was weird though because, under these viewing conditions, people laughed their asses off at the slightest thing, sorta like being forced to watch a movie in a room packed with Eric Willhelms. Yikes! Or, to put it another way, it was like watching home videos with all the friends of the people in said videos. That, combined with being drunk, probably contributed to an immediate appreciation of the movie, regardless of having the McEnroes making loud comments about every little detail on-screen! However, when I stood back and looked at it purely objectively, under ordinary movie-going circumstances, here's what I got...
I get the feeling this one is gonna be where Mr. Guest & company finally get accused of repeating themselves. Mind you, if anyone is going to repeat themselves I'd want it to be this bunch. They could outfit the same joke a hundred ways and it'd probably still be funnier than most other stuff out there.
This is the first time I felt like I really didn't get to know any of the characters all that well. The film does alot more jumping around at a quicker pace. Fred Willard does his thing, but not for that long. Parker Posey does her thing, but not for long at all. The Folksmen get precious few minutes of screen time. One quick interview near the top, and a few minutes of rehearsal footage. There is no Corky Sinclair in this film. No one main person on whom to direct your attention. Eugene Levy at least plays a different sort of character from the other two mockumentaries, but it's basically one trick; he's dazed and confused. But at least his head looks incredibly funny in the middle of a huge trainset.
All in all it felt really quick and rushed. We never get to just stew in a good situation for an extended period, like the uncomfortable stop-over visit with Catherine O'Hara's ex (Larry Miller) in Best In Show. We do get the obligatory "Six Months Later' wrap-up at the end, with one rather contrived-feeling alteration in the realm of the Folksmen.
But hey, you still gotta see it.
After the film I got to see Jeff Goldblum look flirtatiously at Reba and, moments later, attempt to hail a cab. We drove past him on our way out and I wish we would've at least offered him a ride home.
Speaking of home, when we got there I whipped out my old videotape of the original appearance of the Folksmen on SNL back in '85. It's only 6 minutes long, including a performance of "Ol' Joe's Place" in it's entirity, which is excellent, and it's really all you need. If anyone out there wants to see it, I saved it as an MP4 file which I will gladly email to you if you like. Just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh, and another thing, for you obsessive folks, there's a good bit of stuff in the trailer that's NOT in the movie itself. I may be wrong on some of these, so anyone feel free to either back me up or prove me wrong...
1) The mention of the fact that all the albums were one-word titles isn't there, but the albums are shown nonetheless.
2) Balaban remarking about his father, "He's a dead person now, but when he was alive he was so happy" is not there.
3) Levy saying, "I don't remember much...uhhhhhhhh" isn't there, unless it was laughed over.
4) Willard spewing water from his mouth and saying, "Excuse me, I must be full" isn't there.
5) O'Hara saying, "I love Mitch, but (does rings-around-ears with finger and whistles to indicate 'looney')" ain't there that I remember.