Sunday, December 21, 2003

Bad Santa and A Mighty Wind

I saw two movies recently...

Bad Santa was terrific fun! It was exactly what it should have been. Bitter, dark, funny and human. The actors also play it marvelously straight. Billy Bob is always a hoot, but seems really perfectly at what he does best here. Lauren Graham is fun to see in a bit quirkier and less overtly clever a role than I've seen her in for a while. Brett Kelly, who plays The Kid, couldn't have been more perfectly cast.

Good stuff!

A Mighty Wind, well...

Let me say, I'm a huge, huge, huge Chris Guest fan. I think he's a genius of the highest order. He was my favorite member of his cast of Saturday Night Live and it wasn't until later I discovered that he was a big contributor to the National Lampoon records that I grew up listening to.

And that's before This Is Spinal Tap even less The Big Picture, Waiting For Guffman or Best In Show, all of which have a certain genius about them.

And A Mighty Wind is, well, two really good movies that are blended together and never quite mesh together. The story of the folk singing duo that reunites is actually quite sweet and given Oscar worthy performances by Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara (except one scene). The wacky satire could have been good, as the deleted scenes on the DVD show better than the movie itself does much of the time. Unfortunately, the songs are too on-target. Some are funny, but funny in a way that those kind of songs really are, not really poking much effective fun at them.

So, well, yeah... it was pretty disappointing. The DVD was worth renting, but almost more for the supplements than for the movie itself. It did prove to me that I'd like to see Guest take on a fairly straight-forward movie and maybe stop over-mining the mock-documentary field, as much as I've enjoyed it.

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