A Mighty Wind
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     A Mighty Wind continues Christopher Guest's series of sendups of Rock Music (This is Spinal Tap), Regional Theatre (Waiting for Guffman), Dog Shows (Best in Show) and now Folk Singing.  A Mighty Wind follows the preparations for a reunion concert featuring three famous folk groups from the 60's.  The members of two of the acts, Mitch & Mickey (Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara) and The Folksmen (Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest) have been estranged for many years.  The third group, The New Mainstreet Singers (Parker Posey, John Michael Higgins) has been reconstituted with only one original member (Paul Dooley).  The concert is being organized by the son (Bob Balaban) of a recently deceased folk singing impressario.
    Guest wrote the screenplay, directed and starred in all the films listed above with the exception of This is Spinal Tap which was directed by Rob Reiner. Eugene Levy co-wrote and starred in the last three films. The groups parodied in A Mighty Wind are based pretty closely on Ian & Sylvia, The Kingston Trio  and The New Christie Minstrels.  Like Mitch & Mickey, Ian & Sylvia were married, had a bad divorce but reunited for a tearful concert many years later. Similarly, The Kingston Trio had a reunion concert on PBS very similar to one portrayed in A Mighty Wind.
     Most of the cast were also involved in the previous films.  The characters in two of the three folk groups are fantastic.  Levy and O'Hara are amazing, as are the Spinal Tap guys, reunited as The Folksmen. Harry Shearer, in particular, makes me laugh just by standing there.  The members of The New Mainstreet Singers are not as successful but Parker Posey gives new meaning to the word perky.  Among the non-singing characters, Balaban is great as the anal organizer of the concert.  But, Ed begley Jr and Fred Willard's characters are a bit too bizarre.
     The Christopher Guest films are all parodies but their strength is that the characters play their roles straight, creating something that is both funny and scarily close to reality.  Sometimes this works better than others.  In Best in Show, some of the characters just seemed to veer way off base.  But A Mighty Wind is much more successful.  This is a really entertaining movie which has so much attention to detail that it not only includes the folk songs, written for each group, but their album covers as well. Go see it.