A Mighty Wind
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.
for Internet Movie Database entry)
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
Kingston Trio and The New Christie Minstrels. Like Mitch
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.