Not Just Mighty, a Great Wind Too

I finally got the chance to see A Mighty Wind this past weekend (rainy Saturday afternoons are great for that kind of thing). It’s one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time, or at least since I saw Chicago. Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, and Michael McKean do a great job as the trio the Folksmen, although for the first few minutes they were on the screen together I kept flashing back to Spinal Tap.

The real star of the picture, however, is Eugene Levy (who also co-wrote the film with Christopher Guest). I kept waiting for his character to do something that would put me on the floor laughing. Instead Mitch becomes a very sympathetic and real character, still funny but in a different way. And Levy can actually sing! For that matter, the whole cast does a great job of singing and playing their instruments (and writing the music!).

For me, an excellent movie is one that I would buy the DVD. I’ll be first in line for this one!

Bye, Bye Buffy

Tonight is the last original episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. For some people this is a huge emotional trauma that will leave a large hole in their lives. Fortunately, I don’t know any of those people!

I will certainly miss the program. It is one of the few television programs that I actually planned to watch each week and that I’ve watched from the first day. Buffy is that rare TV series that combined outstanding writing with great characters and constantly excellent performances. A great story, well told – which is all I ask from my entertainment.

Which makes the article in our morning paper slightly distressing. Some college are running symposiums on the cultural significance of Buffy. I understand the idea of using cultural references as teaching tools – I’ve done that in my teaching. But basing entire courses on a TV show, no matter how good, is beyond me.

From reading the Videot’s preview of the programs coming from the broadcast networks it doesn’t look as if I’ll have something to replace Buffy in my weekly schedule. I guess I’ll have to find something other than television for that hour. Maybe I can read some of the 250 papers submitted for the college symposium.

Please Spare Me From Reality

You would have to work very hard to miss all the ads for the finales this month of all the so-called "reality" shows. I just hope no one with any intellegence actually believes the people and situations in these shows are real. The producers of Joe Survivor Bachelor Idol sit down and plan the characters they want to create the conflict they’re looking for and then cast people to fit those roles. And then they edit all the film down to exactly the program they have in mind. The whole thing is scripted as much as any episode of Gilmore Girls but even more boring.

I guess you can tell I don’t like "reality" shows (the only way I knew that Survivor had started again was when Letterman was forced to interview the losers). What I want from TV, or a movie for that matter, is for someone to tell me a good story, to take me someplace that isn’t real life. I want to escape from real life for a while. That doesn’t mean I don’t like documentary stories (I can watch Michael Moore‘s work anytime) but that comes under the heading of learning rather than entertainment. Different concept.