The One-Line Summary: When legendary folk music producer Irving Steinbloom passes, his children organize a televised (on public access) memorial concert to be held in New York at the famed The Town Hall, where they hope to book reunions of three previously well-known acts, The Folksmen, The New Main Street Singers, and Mitch & Mickey, the last of whom has long since divorced causing Mitch to suffer a nervous breakdown he has yet to recover from.
The Two-Line Blurb: Another in the mockumentary series of films from director Christopher Guest, A Mighty Wind is a much more refined film than Guest’s This is Spinal Tap and even funnier Waiting for Guffman, though doesn’t quite have the staying power of either as well, as parts do meander. While it is often raucous and very funny (though Bob Balaban not knowing what lights are or understanding the concept of stage decorations is painfully un-funny), there are some surprisingly poignant moments as well and one deliriously amusing story arc that rightfully ends exactly as it should, giving the film a truly sweet moment (which you’ll have to discover on your own).
The Three-Line Set-up: The moment that will be highlighted here begins the film as the reunion show is set and the bands are being booked. Writers Guest and Eugene Levy start the movie with a simply amazing artistic display of structured improv, setting the tone of the story as the three members of The Folksmen (Guest, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean) meet at a family gathering to celebrate their coming together after decades apart. The fluidity of the three actors working this scene is, appropriately enough, like virtuosos jamming on stage.
The Four-Line Moment: What begins as an authentic interview with what are purported to be musical legends bit by bit decays into an expose on the pathetic. Unwaveringly optimistic, the three reflect on their past, from meeting for the first time and getting their first record deal, which led to them being moved down the food chain on the record label where the album covers went from four color prints to two and had no distribution. Additionally, the record came without a hole so consumers had to drill their own if they didn’t want it to “teeter crazily on the spindle.” It’s a dazzling performance of deadpan, improvised comedy and hooks you straight in, especially if you compare it to the same actors years earlier doing something similar in This is Spinal Tap.
The Five-Word Review: Good fun with some heart.