Charter Member of the Sub-Media

July 21, 2004

A Mighty Wind « Social Issues »

Okay, I'm boycotting Hollywood. I offer a clarification: there are exceptions to any sweeping I might care to make. Thus, not every Hollywood movie exemplifies a "throw away quality to appeal to lowest common denominator to make a buck" mentality. Not every Hollywood movie uses eye candy to titillate and seduce into lower moral standards. Not every Hollywood movie is a waste of time. Not every Hollywood movie corrupts or modifies classic stories.

However, all these trends together are enough to make me swear off of Hollywood, and refuse to support them. Additionally, I refuse to even sponge off the system by watching pirated versions.

All that being said, I guess I'm willing to bend my rules enough to check out a good movie from the library. I did just that with A Mighty Wind.*

This is an excellent, top-notch movie. The music was amazingly good, especially considering that it was all written and performed by the actual actors you see. I am stunned by the quality of Eugene Levy's singing voice, and when Katherine O'Hara joins in....they did some stuff as good as the Indigo Girls, IMHO. I absolutely love the song "When You're Next To Me". I've transcribed it and at some point will record it with me performing.

I am not what you would call a folk music fan. I ended up with a decent emotional connection to the movie, however, because I grew up listening to the New Christy Minstrels' Christmas album that the New Main Street Singers were emulating, because I've heard of the Kingston Trio (and love the musical synergy of the Guest/McKean/Shearer trio playing them), and the harmonies of Mitch and Mickey. In their music, I could clearly hear the same approach to duet singing that I adore in the Indigo Girls. Though, to be honest, I have no idea who Mitch and Mickey were supposed to be representing...

Two complaints about the movie:
1) Even in a quality Christopher Guest improv film, they had to include some absolutely unnecessary lowbrow humor, when a couple (clear implication of a prostitute and John**) in Mitch's hotel had loud intercourse. I consider it unnecessary because it is such a stale joke, and also because Mitch's hotel wasn't an obvious dive. The room was rather clean and looked like your average Regal 8 to me.
2) One bit of improv went flat, when the Folksmen were revealing why some of their albums had difficulty gaining wide acceptance, and Michael said they put the albums out without holes in the center. That prompted Harry to say that the album would teeter on top of the turnstile, but then Michael interrupted and and said No, you had to cut your own... Guys, that was just stupid. It should have ended up on the cutting room floor.

On the other hand, the riff they did on the "Nonny Nonny No Nonny Yo" was truly hilarious, I thought. And the "Never Did No Wanderin' After All" is a great parody of folk music, methinks.

An excellent movie. I may end up having to buy this one on DVD...

*which includes the classic double entendre: "It's blowing you and it's blowing me."

**No indication whether it was Kerry or Edwards or even another John entirely.

Posted by Nathan at 03:35 PM | Comments (9)

Loved it and agree with you on all counts. Although I have to admit to chuckling a bit over the records w/o holes. That says more about me than it does the movie, though...

Posted by: zombyboy at July 21, 2004 04:09 PM

I'm still amazed at how talented they all are. I mean, this is largely the same group as in "Waiting for Guffman" and "Best of Show", and even many of the same people from "This is Spinal Tap", so the characters were not chosen for their musical talent in the first place...
Truly impressive.

Posted by: Nathan at July 21, 2004 04:13 PM

A Mighty Wind and Best in Show are two of the funniest films I've seen in a while. They really cracked me up.

And although I'm not officially boycotting Hollywood, I do wind up pretty much only getting videos from the library, so I guess I'm doing my part for your cause. :)

Posted by: Jordana at July 21, 2004 05:04 PM

How can you like movies like A Might Wind, which I haven't seen yet although I'm anticipating it, by the same people who did Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show and have no sense of humor?

Posted by: chuck rightmire at July 21, 2004 05:06 PM

There's a great deal of evidence that I have a fairly good sense of humor, right? I like Christopher Guest movies, I write puns, I love Princess Bride and This is Spinal Tap and Monty Python. I can laugh at myself. I directed lots of traffic over to Tom Burka, who I thought was very funny despite an opposite ideological viewpoint.
And yet, on the strength of me saying a partisan hack like Gary Trudeau is unfunny (and I'm hardly the first person to say that), you conclude that I must not have any sense of humor at all. The logic there is a little bit off...

But I will also say that "sense of humor" certainly has a taste component, and Gary Trudeau and Al Franken and Margaret Cho and Whoopi Goldberg are spectacular unfunny in my taste. I do, however, really appreciate Jon Stewart.

Posted by: Nathan at July 21, 2004 05:26 PM

Two points of contention:

I guess I'm willing to bend my rules enough to check out a good movie from the library.
As every library I have been in has nothing but beta versions of Grease 2 and Turner & Hooch--I challenge the accuracy of your claim.

....they did some stuff as good as the Indigo Girls
Come on, now THAT's it again and tell me that isn't funny.

Posted by: Christopher Cross at July 21, 2004 10:16 PM

Ummm, for all that I make fun of the Indigo Girls (and I do), I really love many of their songs. Galileo is awesome. In Love With Your Ghost never fails to move me.
Emily Sayers (?) is a top-notch fingerstyle guitarist, and the drummer they usually always surprises.
Yes, it does take all kinds...

Posted by: Nathan at July 22, 2004 05:12 AM

The hole-less record is central (if you'll pardon the expression) to an old joke about Oral Roberts.

Q. Why didn't the last Oral Roberts record sell well?
A. The hole in the middle kept healing over.

Haven't thought about that one in a long time, and I hope it's a long time before I think about it again.

Posted by: LittleA at July 22, 2004 06:40 AM

Michael and I saw it in the theater, and were very glad we did. We laughed out loud, it's a fun movie.

Posted by: Jo at July 22, 2004 07:22 AM
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