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A Mighty Wind (2003)

 -  Comedy | Music  -  9 May 2003 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 20,183 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 267 user | 94 critic | 40 from Metacritic.com

Mockumentary captures the reunion of 1960s folk trio the Folksmen as they prepare for a show at The Town Hall to memorialize a recently deceased concert promoter.

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Title: A Mighty Wind (2003)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Newscaster
Stuart Luce ...
...
Ma Klapper
...
Ramblin' Sandy Pitnik (as Marty Belasky)
Michael Baser ...
Pa Klapper
Jared Nelson Smith ...
Young Chuck Wiseman
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Bill Weyburn
Todd Lieberman ...
Fred Knox
Matthew Joy ...
Boy Klapper
...
Girl Klapper
Brian Riley ...
Young George Menschell
...
...
...
...
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Storyline

When folk icon Irving Steinbloom passed away, he left behind a legacy of music and a family of performers he has shepherded to folk stardom. To celebrate a life spent submerged in folk, Irving's loving son Jonathan has decided to put together a memorial concert featuring some of Steinbloom's best-loved musicians. There's Mitch and Mickey, who were the epitome of young love until their partnership was torn apart by heartbreak; classic troubadours The Folksmen, whose records were endlessly entertaining for anyone able to punch a hole in the center to play them; and The New Main Street Singers, the most meticulously color-coordinated neuftet ever to hit an amusement park. Now for one night only in New York City's Town Hall, these three groups will reunite and gather together to celebrate the music that almost made them famous. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Back together for the first time, again.

Genres:

Comedy | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sex-related humor | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 May 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Christopher Guest Project  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£62,657 (UK) (16 January 2004)

Gross:

£62,657 (UK) (16 January 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Parker Posey learned to play the mandolin for her role as Sissy Knox. See more »

Goofs

Two minutes into the movie, as Jonathan Steinbloom says he is an organized person, one of the brown packages on his desk is askew on the long shots, but straight in the close-ups. See more »

Quotes

Leonard Crabbe: [Leonard shows Mitch his model trains] This whole area here is called Crabbe Town. We've got a brothel down there above the saloon. And right down there further along I'm thinking of building a French Quarter. I've actually got a bit of French blood.
Mitch Cohen: I would love to see this town in the autumn. I think Crabbeville in autumn would look quite magnificent. I would have made tiny little leaves, oak, poplar, maple, chestnut, and spread them across the town of Crabbeville. Magnificent.
Leonard Crabbe: It's Crabbe ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the film, before the traditional scrolling credits, the screen is filled with all the main actors' names. One at a time, each star's name is highlighted, in alphabetical order. The scrolling credits are in order of appearance. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.107 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Barnyard Symphony
Written by Christopher Guest
Performed by The Folksmen
See more »

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User Reviews

Subtle Bull's Eye
14 March 2004 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Christopher Guest's movies, like his performances, are generally subtle and always low-key. They are not for people who need laugh tracks to follow the humor and most of his work is so contextually-based that some knowledge of the subject he's dissecting is a definite asset. Guest, who was a performer in the very early SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, is, in many respects, the Anti-Belushi of modern American comedy.

Nevertheless, he shares with Belushi - and many of their contemporaries, who came from one or another branch of the Second City organization - a certain fondness for off-the-wall elements in his work; Guest's tend to be slipped in, quietly, while Belushi's popped out of exploding cakes.

A MIGHTY WIND is a spot-on satire of the American Folk Music movement of the early and mid-1960s. The narrative conceit is a memorial concert for a recently deceased impressario, organized by his son, which reunites three folk groups from the 60s.

The real elements of the film are the send-ups of a variety of tropes of the era, musical styles, personalities, and quite an array of music-business cliches. Remarkably, however, the songs are genuinely entertaining in themselves; both the writing and the performances. They're satirical, but so subtlely performed that it's easy to loose the thread of the lyrics and wind up mindlessly nodding heads and grooving along, which pretty neatly captures the popular music experience for the last several generations. Satire within satire.

The musical performances are excellent, recreating, almost frighteningly, the taste and texture of folk music of the era. And, bringing several real 60s folk acts to mind.

The acting is typical of Guest movies, such as SPINAL TAP and BEST IN SHOW; very quiet, restrained, low-key, with, apparently, a lot of dialogue improvised. The performers are mostly drawn from the same group Guest has used in the past: Eugene Levy (who co-wrote the script with Guest) and Catherine O'Hara, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, Ed Begley, Jr., and Guest, himself.

Comparisons with Guest's most popular picture, THIS IS SPINAL TAP are both interesting and tricky. Interesting because both movies were written and directed by the same man, and shared most of the same casts. Tricky, because while some seem to compare AMW unfavorably with TIST, a looking at these films, together, they have a lot in common. So much so, in fact, that it's reasonable to consider them a pair; very similar takes on two, distinct musical genres of a similar era. The writing, acting, tone, pacing of these two movies is very similar. The jokes are similar. The points of view are similar. The focus on both performers, and the behind-the-scenes people is similar. The real difference is the music.

This, in turn, tends to suggest that those who react very differently to these two films may be reacting more to the music, directly, and to the ambiance of the world around the particular musical genre more than anything else.

Guest's movies don't have many laugh-out-loud moments. Most of the humor is more the "big-smile", sometimes, the chuckle, kind. But, Ed Begley, Jr. has perhaps his best comic scene, ever, when he does a take as a Swedish-American public television producer dropping Yiddish into his conversation; one word per sentence. It's a totally dead-pan and very quiet performance which, like so much of Christopher Guest's humor, you will either get or not get. If you do, you may fall off your chair.

Eugene Levy, who co-wrote the script, with Guest, is also very good, having finally invented a second character after having spent something more than 30 years (since his Second City TV days) doing variations of one.

Who might enjoy A MIGHTY WIND? Anyone who remembers the era and the music, and anyone who enjoys show business insider takes. It's a more difficult call for those born later. And, if you have trouble keeping Janis Joplin and Joanie Mitchell distinct in your mind, you probably won't follow most of what's going on.


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