Review of MOCKUMENTARIES
By: Jason Bechard

Hey, I Watched This!
Reviewing a Movie I've watched recently.

Hello again, Folks! I'm back, and I'm ready to talk movies. This month's review will be a little different. Different how? Different, in that I am about to share with you, my love for some of the most off-beat comedies ever made. MOCKUMENTARIES.

I decided to "take a dive" back into the Christopher Guest filmography, and these are my favorites.

It all starts with, This Is Spinal Tap(1984). Directed by Rob Reiner(Yes, that Rob Reiner), written by, and starring Reiner, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer(Yes, that guy from The Simpsons). This is the movie that birthed the phrase, "turn it up to 11!" By the way, it's the only film listed on IMDB, whose rating is out of 11 stars instead of 10!

Chronicling, what becomes the final tour of England's LOUDEST band, Spinal Tap, this film turns a goofy spotlight on the rock and roll lifestyle. The music(also written by Guest and company), while sounding like cool '70's/'80's rock, take silly turns with their lyrics, and/or stage presence. There are scenes in this film that, apparently, pull from actual events from some real rock legends. Getting lost backstage at a venue, a girlfriend injecting themselves into band business and causing friction, just to name two!

Each band member is their own persona, and when you factor in, that a large portion of the dialogue is improvised, you feel that every character is real. You'll start to forget that it's not a real band, until they say or do something so ridiculous, which snaps you back. And believe me, there is a lot of ridiculousness!

In the year 2000, Christopher Guest, open the world's eyes to the extremely competitive sport, the dog show. Best in Show, is my favorite of this list. The cast list is huge! Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara(SCTV legends) are the suburban amateurs. Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock are EXTREMELY neurotic about their dog. Christopher Guest is a backwoods redneck, with a kind heart and a beautiful bloodhound. Michael McKean and John Michael Higgins are a homosexual couple, that see the dog show as a fashion show. Jane Lynch is the militant professional handler for Jennifer Coolidge's reigning champion. Fred Willard as a moronic "colour commentator", with no dog knowledge whatsoever. I could go on.

Once again, most of the dialogue is ad-libbed. Everyone just becomes these characters so believably. Everyone single one of them has a quirk, that plays out through the film, when you least expect it. The dogs are adorable, beautiful, and majestic. Their owners are just plain weird!

Oh, and watch out for Ed Begley Jr., retelling of an incident in their hotel, which is a subtle homage to Spinal Tap!

The last film I want to mention, is 2003's A Mighty Wind. When a producer/manager, and overall champion of the '60s Folk music scene, passes away. His family organize a memorial concert in his honor, reuniting the top 3 Folk acts of their day.

Here we go again, massive cast, a lot of the same names, becoming a fresh bunch of weirdos! Levy and O'Hara, as the iconic duo Mitch and Mickey, long separated by an unrequited love. McKean, Guest, and the returning Harry Shearer, reunite The Folksmen, a legendary folk trio, who drifted apart. Higgins, Lynch, and Posey as the leads members of an ensemble group, that they reformed, The New MainStreet Singers.

The music is fun. Silly folk tunes, usually telling a story. There's a great gag, regarding how many folk songs would be considered a classic hit, and who gets to sing it.

Yet again, these characters are all weird, made all the more weird, when you hear them telling their absurd backstories, with a completely straight face. None of the actors show anything but the character they are portraying, which, when you look back at the characters they have played, just in these films, is a true testament to what I can only describe, as pure comedic acting genius!

For more from these geniuses, check out Waiting For Guffman(1996), For Your Consideration(2006), and the 2016 Netflix original Mascots.

These movies may not be for everyone. They're not really "laugh out loud", slapstick, funny. But they will make you chuckle and smile, from start to finish. There is a reason these movies are some of my go-to films to cheer me up when I need it.

Given how similarly weird all these movies are, you can't help but think, they are all in a shared universe, which is one slightly warped dimension to the left of ours.

There's also something to be said about the impact these films had on Pop Culture. The mockumentary style, shedding comedic light into worlds that don't seem interesting to a mainstream audience, ever heard of a little show called The Office? You don't get to Dunder Mifflin, without first meeting Spinal Tap, and then going to a dog show!

And now, because my bosses make me do it (Sorry Dave!), here's my "heavy handed" star ratings. I give Spinal Tap 4 stars , A Mighty Wind 4.5 stars , and Best in Show 5 stars !