Movie Review: A Mighty Wind (2003)

Posted: March 16, 2013 in Comedy

a mighty wind


When concert promoter Irving Steinbloom (Stuart Luce)passes away, his son Jonathan (Bob Balaban) wants to put together a tribute concert featuring three of Irving’s biggest discoveries, The Folksman,  Mitch and Mickey and The New Main Street Singers.  The Folksmen were downgraded to a label so cheap they  pressed records without holes in the middle.  The members of the Folksman,  Mark Shubb (Harry Shearer) Jerry Palter (Michael McKeon) and Alan Barrows (Christopher Guest) seem genuinely happy to see each other, but the other two groups have hit some bumps in their lives after folk song fame.  Mitch (Eugene Levy) and Mickey (Catherine O’Hara) were the sweethearts of the folk music scene, but they had a bad breakup, and Mitch was institutionalized for a while.  Two members of the New Main Street Singers, Terry Bohner (John Michael Higgins) Laurie Bohner (Jane Lynch) are witches and Sissy Knox (Parker Posey) used be a prostitute.

Despite these problems the bands make it to the Town Hall in New York City.  The Folksman immediately get angry because the New Main Street Singers sing a song made famous by the Folksman, and Mitch mysteriously wanders off into the streets while they are waiting to go on.  Does the rest oof the show go on?  Or do petty jealousies get the best of the folk music reunion.

A Mighty Wind is a folk version of This is Spinal Tap, only not as funny.  It uses the same mockumentary style that Guest et al made famous in Spinal Tap.  The movie seems to be funny in sports and not in others.  There are many scenes that are improvised, just like Spinal Tap, but some actors are better at improvisation than others.  Also, there is just more to satirize with heavy metal, generally, and aging metal stars in specific, than aging folk stars.  The songs are terrific and sung with real conviction, they sound like honest-to-goodness folk songs.

The acting ranges from great to so-so.  Harry Shearer using his Principal Skinner voice is great as usual.  Chris Guest , Harry Shearer, and Michael McKeon wrote and performed most of the songs and are really good at improvisation, as past history shows, and Catherine O’Hara is funny as Mickey, and boy she can really sing.  Eugene Levy, surprisingly, has an amazing voice, but his character is too strange to really like, with his halting speech patterns and soul patch, I like Eugene Levy, but this character was just too odd for me.  Jane Lynch has her funny moments, and she also has a good voice, but her part is too small to have an impact.  Jennifer Coolidge and Parker Posey are not given a lot to do with small roles.

This is a funny movie, but not as funny as Spinal Tap, or Best In Show, those two will always be my favorite of the Best, McKeon, Shearer movies.  This is probably the third best of the mockumentary series.

A Mighty Wind. Not great, but it doesn’t blow.


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