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Waiting for Guffman (1996)

R | | Comedy | 31 January 1997 (USA)
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2:02 | Trailer

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ON DISC
An aspiring director and the marginally talented amateur cast of a hokey small-town Missouri musical production go overboard when they learn that someone from Broadway will be in attendance.

Director:

Christopher Guest
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Deborah Theaker ... Gwen Fabin-Blunt - Councilwoman
Michael Hitchcock ... Steve Stark - Councilman
Scott Williamson ... Tucker Livingston - Councilman
Larry Miller ... Glenn Welsch - Mayor
Don Lake ... Phil Burgess - Blaine Historian
Christopher Guest ... Corky St. Clair
Fred Willard ... Ron Albertson
Catherine O'Hara ... Sheila Albertson
Parker Posey ... Libby Mae Brown
David Cross ... UFO Expert
Eugene Levy ... Dr. Allan Pearl
James McQueen James McQueen ... Singing Auditioner (as Jim McQueen)
Turk Pipkin ... Ping Pong Ball Juggler
Jerry Turman ... Raging Bull Auditioner
Bob Balaban ... Lloyd Miller
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Storyline

A town of Blaine, Missouri is preparing for celebrations of its 150th anniversary. Corky St.Clair, an off-off-off-off-off-Broadway director is putting together an amateur theater show about the town's history, starring a local dentist, a couple of travel agents, a Dairy Queen waitress, and a car repairman. He invites a Broadway theater critic Mr. Guffman to see the opening night of the show. Written by Piotr Zembrowski <zembrows@astro.utoronto.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There's A Good Reason Some Talent Remains Undiscovered See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 January 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Christopher Guest Project See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,990, 2 February 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,923,982
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | SDDS | SDDS (uncredited)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song "Nothing Ever Happens on Mars" was meant to be a complement to an earlier song in the show called "Nothing Ever Happens in Blaine," hence the audience's roar of laughter when the song starts. See more »

Goofs

In the Chinese dinner scene, the plate of beef to the left of Sheila appears and disappears. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Allan Pearl: I think I got a, a, an entertaining bug... from my grandfather... uh, Chaim Pearlgut, who was very very big in the, um, Yiddish, uh, theater, back in New York. He was in the, the very... the sardonically irreverent... "Dybbuk Shmybbuk, I Said 'More Ham'"... and that revue I believe was 1914, and that revue was what made him famous. Incidentally, the song "Bubbe Made A Kishke" came from that revue.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits Christopher Guest's character shows us some of the fun memorabilia that he sells in his store. See more »

Alternate Versions

There is at least one rough cut of the film in circulation among fans of Guffman. It features an expanded performance of "Red, White and Blaine", including the musical number "This Bulging River", as well as dozens of alternate takes, as well as the exclusion of many scenes in the finished film, which were shot after this first rought cut was made. See more »

Connections

Featured in Dawson's Creek: Pilot (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Old Folks at Home
(uncredited)
aka "Swanee River"
Written by Stephen Foster
Sung by Eugene Levy at the audition
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Broadway bound
23 April 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Christopher Guest has the knack for creating films where genuine laughter never stops. We saw this film when it was originally released, but caught it recently in the retrospect of Mr. Guest's films shown recently here.

"Waiting for Guffman" is, to this humble viewer, probably his best creation to date. Not only is this a funny movie, it shows the genius of Mr. Guest at his best.

Corky St. Clair, the director from the New York stage seems completely out of place in Blaine, Mo. He is too witty for that small little town, where he is clearly adored, not only by the local thespians, but by the whole municipal council. Some of the lines one hears coming from Corky's mouth are so amazing that one wonders if the citizens of Blaine fully realize they have a gem living in town.

The players auditioning for Corky's new production about Blaine's beginnings, live in a world of themselves. Ron and Sheila Albertson, are the star of other productions, so they return again for the new show. Libby Mae Brown works in the Dairy Queen, but her ambition is to be a star. Even the local dentist, Dr. Allan Pearl, is attracted to become a performer.

There are two other underlying plots going on in the film. There is the history part, or how Blaine came to be, and the other notorious incident of the flying saucer that came into town and took several of the citizens for a tour of the space craft and we are being told about it by the people that experienced that adventure.

Christopher Guest makes a wonderful Corky St. Clair. Mr. Guest knows what makes Corky great. Corky, no doubt, is a composite of people Mr. Guest must have known at one time or another. Corky is an enormous achievement for Mr. Guest as a writer and as a performer.

Fred Willard and Catherine O'Hara are incredible in their take of the Albertsons, the travel agents without a clue of what's going on outside Blaine. Ron's delicate operation is explained in some detail to the horrified Mrs. Pearl. Eugene Levy, Mr. Guest's frequent collaborator is right on the money as the dentist with singing aspirations. Parker Posey, is the girl who thinks Broadway is only a few steps away. Paul Dooley, Don Lake, Larry Miller,Linda Kash, are among the citizens of Blaine one gets to know in the film.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without Christopher Guest. It's a shame we don't get to see more of him, but that makes even better whatever he decides to offer us from time to time.


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