Christopher Guest, Director
Warner Home Video; Anamorphic Widescreen; English Dolby Digital 5.1
This recent film comes from the ensemble team who did Best In Show, which I thought was hilarious, (but some animal lovers were offended), and Waiting For Guffman, which I haven’t seen (and should rent soon). Having been a folk musician of moderate talents myself in my undergraduate years, I found the film had special resonances, and as it was a gift from Aaron and Charlotte at Christmas, we all sat down and watched it on the big screen on Boxing Day.
Though ostensibly scripted by Guest (Spinal Tap) and Eugene Levy, according to a newspaper interview I read, it was mostly ad-libbed by the ensemble cast. The first surprise was that the music, all written for the film, was very good, and professionally performed; everybody could sing, the harmonies were true, and the tone was authentic, though wryly satirical in lyrical content. And, they could all play their instruments, guitars, banjos, basses, and so on.
The DVD is technically very good, though a little prone to occasional pixelization, but I also find that the case on HD broadcasts from time to time. I watched all the extras except the commentary (who has time?), and agreed with the editor that they should have been cut (Aaron working in film editing, I’m biased to think that it’s the editor who bails out the director, but here it was a pretty collaborative process). I will go back and watch this film again for missed subtleties in the humour (nuances of nuttiness, I suppose), and recommend A Mighty Wind highly, though it appears they didn’t dare take on Bob Dylan, though O’Hara and Levy could remind of Bobbie and Joanie. Oh well, let’s have a hootenanny!