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|Index||138 reviews in total|
There are not many documentaries out there that have really changed the
way i see and live my life but this
one did just that for me. It opened my eyes to the ambition of some of
mankind and the total opposite for others. how some people are just stupid and others just find themselves in unwanted positions because they just
never did anything with their life. A master piece on the human condition.
the unintentional extreme deadpan humor is from the several characters
is second to none.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This documentary focuses on a Wisconsin local named Mark Borchardt and his lifelong goal to make movies. He went the usual Super-8 route as a kid and now, in his early thirties, finally puts the finishing touches on a low-budget, black-&-white short horror film named "Coven." The documentary shows about three years of his life in the pursuit of finishing this film. We see his family & friends, all pressured into helping him, including an uncle(Bill) who is on his last legs, but finances most of the pic and is listed as "executive producer" (we learn he died shortly after the documentary was done). The trouble with Mark is he's stuck in 'perennial juvenile' mode - despite 3 kids & an ex-wife, he's still a teenager, moving from a paper route to sweeping at a cemetery as jobs. His best friend is worse: too much pot and acid has put him in a continual 'zone-out' and he usually mumbles incoherently. These two are, for better or worse, a sizable representation of Americana and its natives today - or in the nineties, at least. I've known these people personally - not Mark & his buddy specifically, of course. Despite all this, Mark's perseverance and creativity win out and "Coven" is completed, with a premiere at the local cinema (the DVD has the complete 33-minute film, and it's not that bad). This IS Americana. Did I say that already? This is a triumph on a scale rarely seen. It IS Americana.
Moving portrait of Mark Borchardt, a rural American filmmaker who struggles to finish (and make) his movies. Admittedly, the footage we are able to see is far from great moviemaking, but it's not that terrible either: we all have seen mainstream movies with pedestrian images and ideas, and which do not have an ounce of the passion Borchardt puts into his productions. So Chris Smith's documentary makes one reflect on the opportunities in the American film industry, and how it can turn mediocre actors into superstar directors, with inflated budgets that guarantee top-notch personnel to help them transfer their "visions"... to the screen. I know that we can identify a name or two who fit this description. Completely enjoyable, and one wishes Mark will have better luck in the future.
Truly an enjoyable experience. The time and energy it took to harvest this gem needs to be applauded. The story is complex and takes you through a thought provoking adventure along with the main character. The supporting (and unsupporting you might say) cast will make you laugh one moment and shake your head with disbelief the next. I still have discussions with people about the authenticity of the material due to the time it must have taken to gather all this footage. Bravo to Chris Smith for going the extra mile!
At first I thought it was a mockumentary with bad acting. But it turned
to be a true story about a guy who's optimism and energy wasn't quite
to offset his lack of money, bad luck and incompetent colleagues. Often
excruciating to watch but mostly boring.
I can't remember if this came out before American Pie or after American Beauty. I do know that the footage comprising this film is some of the most astounding i've seen in recent years. This is a documentary about a man named Mark Borchardt who is trying to make a film about the misery and angst of life in the frozen deep of the American midwest. He has tried and failed to do this countless times. In a final effort to raise money for the feature he shoots a thirty minute film which ends up taking two years to complete. The first time I saw American Movie I thought it was fictional. It's all true, American Movie ultimately becomes the film that Mark is raising money to shoot. No other movie has ever so accurately shown the anguish of living in the middle of nowhere. This film is hilarious, tragic, and moving with its characters who are all stranger than fiction. My favorite is Mike, whose Led Zeppelin shirt I have also been a proprietor of. I saw this movie last year during that season that comes between Winter and Spring, the world's waiting room as CS Lewis would say. I didn't know where I was going at that time and I still don't to a large extent. When watching Mark and Mike in this film I can't help but see myself doing everything to get away from my certain fate. If this film were fictional and based on a novel, that novel would be the Grapes of Wrath for the new millenium.
I have seen this movie a few times. I think the idea is brilliant! The torture that some fledgling film makers must go through to get their vision on the screen. It makes me appreciate the steps needed to get a film done. I like all of the people this film deals with. They are unique. The scream that Mike Schank does for the sound effects track is awesome! I liked this film and recommend it. Good to see a unique perspective on film making.
This movie was painfully good. After being exposed to movies such as Spinal Tap, Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, I naturally assumed that this movie was of the same genre -only done better. I was literally holding my sides and smacking the ground during much of this film that I perceived as a "brilliant comedy". It was brilliant how the director and actors had so perfectly captured these characters and moments. I felt like I knew them =partly because I know people just like them . It was a couple weeks later that I discovered that these people were real. Dumbfounded. OK, not a brilliant comedy. A brilliant documentary.
When I first saw this movie I didn't realize it was a documentary. I couldn't believe how interesting, funny, sad and inspiring this film was. I love those guys! My friends and I have several "in jokes" from this film. I really appreciate them letting us see into their lives.
It is ironic and a little cruel that the success of this documentary by
independent film-maker Chris Smith is due largely to the bungling of Smith's
subject, would-be film maker Mark Borchardt. And yet, despite Mark appearing
to be an object of pity for much of the film, and occasionally feeling sorry
for himself, he emerges as a kind of existential hero, battling against the
odds, never giving up, and living to fight another day. (Though it appears
that Mark may have given up the directorial struggle at least for the time
being, and turned to acting; according to IMDb he's appearing in The One,
due for release shortly.)
Perhaps the best parts of Smith's film are not directly about Mark's efforts to bring his horror movie, Coven, to completion, but about the circle of friends and relations supporting him. Mike Schank - who provides the music for Smith's film - may or may not be a good advertisement for drugs, but he is certainly a good friend, who's there when Mark needs him, as are Mark's Mom, his Uncle Bill, his girlfriend, and sundry Milwaukee residents. But it's a two way street - while they give Mark financial and material strength, they draw a spiritual or psychological strength from him; and they seem to look to him to fulfil their American dream as well as his own. American Movie is at times funny; at other times sad; but ultimately it's quite uplifting.
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