Making the Grades
Things are not as they appear.
To begin with, despite the authentic look of the interviews shots and old grainy footage, A Mighty Wind is not really a documentary about three former folk music headliners. This will explain why you can't remember The Main Street Singers (new or otherwise) or Mitch and Mickey, but fans of Saturday Night Live may actually recall the short sketch featuring The Folksmen, which provided the inspiration for this movie. (Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer play the trio in this film.)
Following in the same genre as his past efforts (Best In Show and Waiting for Guffman), and using many of the same actors, Christopher Guest presents this mockumentary where any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental -- okay, not entirely coincidental this is a spoof after all.
Brought together for a memorial concert in honor of their recently deceased promotional manager Irving Steinbloom (Stuart Luce), the previously mentioned has-been musical groups reunite and try to recapture their 1960's claim to fame.
Again, appearances are deceiving. A behind-the-scenes look at the people preparing the tribute belies the outward image of this joyful reunion. Steinbloom's grown children (Bob Balaban, Don Lake, and Deborah Theaker) harbor hard feelings toward their father, each other, and even folk music; while sweethearts Mitch and Mickey (Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara) haven't seen one another since their angry break-up nearly thirty years ago.
Nor does everyone adhere to The New Main Street Singers' lyrical advice to "Do as the Good Book Tells You To." Poking fun at folk's squeaky-clean image, the script includes references to sexual activity and promiscuity, a character who began her entertainment career as a porn star, and another who questions his gender identity.
The movie does a terrific job of mimicking the sound and styles of the folk music era, attesting to the talent of the art directors, makeup artists, and songwriters/cast-members who created all of the original tunes featured in the film. The concert's closing number is reminiscent of such classics as "Blowing in the Wind " and "This Land is Your Land." They have even put together a soundtrack album -- although any true fan of this genre is unlikely to see much humor in this satirical parody. Meanwhile, those attracted to the movie for the laughs may find the pace drags between witty moments.
With such opposing elements, it is difficult to figure out what kind of audience will be drawn to this venture. Perhaps that's why the distributor decided to go with a limited theatrical release. Whatever the reasoning, it appears A Mighty Wind will not be taking the country by storm.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about A Mighty Wind.
As all of the characters are actors anyway, why do you think Christopher Guest used a mockumenraty style in his satire instead of just following the traditional dramatic approach?