Laugh Out Loud Movies: Christopher Guest's Mockumentaries
Mockumentary – Fake Documentary - Pseudo-Documentary
A mockumentary is basically a fake documentary. These movies are very funny satires of both real documentaries and the subjects of the films. Christopher Guest has written, directed, and acted in some of the funniest mockumentaries in recent years. If you are interested in some quirky humor and ridiculous stunts, you have to watch these movies.
You will find that the same actors turn up in all of these films. The amazing part is that their performances are so fabulous that you can see them as completely different characters in each movie.
Waiting for Guffman
When this movie first came out in 1997, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. I heard great things from my friends, but was hesitant about watching a “fake documentary.” Boy was I in for a fabulous treat when I got around to viewing the film.
The mockumentary follows a community theater group in a small town preparing for a show that is supposed to be reviewed by Broadway producer Mort Guffman. The director of "Red, White and Blaine" (the theater’s play) convinces his cast that a good review will get them to Broadway.
From auditions to rehearsals to the actual performance night, this movie is ridiculously funny. If you have any theater experience, you will appreciate the film even more.
Waiting for Guffman clip: "The Auditions"
Best in Show
By 2000 I was more than ready for another hilarious mockumentary to follow Waiting for Guffman. I was not disappointed in Best in Show, which follows the owners and handlers of contestants in a dog show. As the competition builds, everyone starts to melt under the pressure.
If you have ever watched even two minutes of a real dog show, you know just how serious everyone takes it. The characters in this movie really take that overboard. Honestly, the dogs seem to be the most normal ones in the film.
Who will win? Who will lose? Who will run home with their tail between their legs? And, why are people sleeping in a storage room? The answers will all be revealed as soon as you watch the movie.
"Best in Show" Clip
A Mighty Wind
After seeing the first two movies, I bought this one before even watching it. And I wasn’t disappointed. A Mighty Wind was released in 2003, and mocks a folk music reunion concert. It takes a lot of convincing to get the groups to get back together and agree to perform (some were easier to convince than others).
The movie follows the three groups preparing for the concert: The Folksmen, The New Main Street Singers, and Mitch & Mickey. It is great to watch these three groups struggle with their issues, of which they all have many.
Will the show go on? Of course it will, it always does. But watch for some major hiccups that will keep you giggling all night. While you are at it, order the soundtrack. The songs are priceless.
A Mighty Wind clip: "Just a Thought"
For Your Consideration
Guest’s fourth mockumentary didn’t premiere until the end of 2006, so it is still new on DVD—which means I haven’t seen it yet. But you can bet that it is definitely on the list. The movie follows three actors who find out their movie has been nominated for various awards.
As the hype builds, the actors follow true Christopher Guest Mockumentary fashion and get a little wacky with their expectations. The film is mostly ad-libbed, but it doesn’t quite follow the mockumentary style that the other movies do.
Not only do you get to see the actors prepare for the awards season, but you get to watch the movie within the movie develop. Want to know what the film within the film is about? A 1940s American South family struggles with a dying mother, and a lesbian daughter. You know it will end up outrageous.