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American Movie (1999)

R  |   |  Documentary  |  13 April 2000 (Australia)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 12,949 users   Metascore: 84/100
Reviews: 140 user | 69 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

Documentary about an aspiring filmmaker's attempts to finance his dream project by finally completing the low-budget horror film he abandoned years before.

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Title: American Movie (1999)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Filmmaker
Tom Schimmels ...
Actor in 'Coven'
Monica Borchardt ...
Mark's Mom
Alex Borchardt ...
Chris Borchardt ...
Ken Keen ...
Mike Schank ...
Friend / Musician
Matt Weisman ...
Casting director
Bill Borchardt ...
Mark's Uncle / Executive Producer (as Uncle Bill)
Cliff Borchardt ...
Mark's Dad
Tom Beach ...
Production manager
Joan Petrie ...
Mark's Girlfriend / Associate Producer
Robert Richard Jorge ...
Actor
Dean Allen ...
Props / Special effects
Tommy Dallace ...
The Movie Star
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Storyline

On the northwest side of Milwaukee, Mark Borchardt dreams the American dream: for him, it's making movies. Using relatives, local theater talent, slacker friends, his Mastercard, and $3,000 from his Uncle Bill, Mark strives over three years to finish "Covan," a short horror film. His own personal demons (alcohol, gambling, a dysfunctional family) plague him, but he desperately wants to overcome self-doubt and avoid failure. In moments of reflection, Mark sees his story as quintessentially American, and its the nature and nuance of his dream that this film explores. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 April 2000 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

American Movie: The Making of Northwestern  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$20,260 (USA) (5 November 1999)

Gross:

$1,160,426 (USA) (21 April 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the "elevator sequence" that is briefly shown as part of the movie "Coven", the actors that are portraying the doctors are wearing their driver's licenses on their lab coats instead of hospital staff identification badges. See more »

Quotes

Mark Borchardt: [Reacting to an IRS notice threatening a lien on personal property for delinquent funds due] Luckily it's just $81.00. What are they gonna take, ya know, like my "Night of the Living Dead" book?
See more »

Connections

References Manhattan (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Bach Fugue
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Mike Schank
used by permission of 33rd St. Music
See more »

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User Reviews

So sad, it's good
13 October 2003 | by (Austin, TX) – See all my reviews

I have mixed feelings towards this movie. I found the movie fascinating in the way people are fascinated by car wrecks, and I found it funny in the way one might uncontrollably burst out a laugh at the sight of an eldelry person slipping on an icy sidewalk. It's a sick and guilt ridden enjoyment. The lives of most of the people this movie brings you in contact with are so pathetic that you can't help being intrigued. But lives hardly worth living do not a good movie make. No; there was more to it than that. What sucked me in to this documentary was the perserverence and tenacity of the characters that carry on day after day in an existence that would drive most people to jump off the nearest bridge. People standing around in robes in a forst in the dead of winter for hours on end to help a friend that will no doubt produce a film only 400 locals would pay to see. A barely coherent old man who's too cheap to use the phone for local calls lends $3,000 to his nephew for a project he is certain is doomed. A mother who is as clueless as her heart is big sticks by her son through thick and thin. These things tug at the heart and, despite all the pity and head shaking they provoke, reveal a humanity that one can't help but be in awe of.

Oh, and the comedic moments are priceless. Uncle Bill steals the show in that department, but many others contribute. (The kitchen cabinet door scene nearly rolled me off the couch.) Yep; there are some priceless laugh spots in this film that almost make you wonder whether this isn't truly a mockumentary in the style Christofer Guest (Spinal Tap, Best In Show). But it's not; it's real life making you laugh, and that makes it funnier.

Yes; I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, but probably for the wrong reasons. But so did countless others. In the end, it doesn't matter. A good movie is a good movie.


43 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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