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Cameron H.

Musical Mondays Week 102 A Mighty Wind

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“It’s blowing you and me...”

We watched:

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So I've seen this movie four times now and I always think the same thing, "This is funny but pointless." Most of the Guest movies as much as they are a collection of scenes the always seem to have a point or an overall story. Spinal Tap (not officially his movie) sees the band breakup and reform, Waiting for Guffman is putting on this show to be noticed, Best in Show is a competition and who will be number 1. A Mighty Wind just kinda seems to lack that. It's all about getting to the show and putting on the show but the fact the show will go on or without a hitch never seems to be in question. The Mitch and Mickey story is the only one with any kind of arc. The others are fine but just full of little bits that don't all add up or go anywhere. It's funny but just feels a bit hollow in the end.

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29 minutes ago, Cam Bert said:

So I've seen this movie four times now and I always think the same thing, "This is funny but pointless." Most of the Guest movies as much as they are a collection of scenes the always seem to have a point or an overall story. Spinal Tap (not officially his movie) sees the band breakup and reform, Waiting for Guffman is putting on this show to be noticed, Best in Show is a competition and who will be number 1. A Mighty Wind just kinda seems to lack that. It's all about getting to the show and putting on the show but the fact the show will go on or without a hitch never seems to be in question. The Mitch and Mickey story is the only one with any kind of arc. The others are fine but just full of little bits that don't all add up or go anywhere. It's funny but just feels a bit hollow in the end.

I can generally agree with that.  I will have a lot more to say about it but your point is why I can take it in occasional viewings instead of often.

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I used to have a mighty wind but that's why I started taking Baldwin's Wind & Digestive Pills.

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1 minute ago, Cinco DeNio said:

It's all about getting to the show and putting on the show but the fact the show will go on or without a hitch never seems to be in question.

Will Mitch lose his mind and never return? Do the Folksmen figure out what to play? There's drama there, it's just not as showy as a drummer exploding. And I'd argue that's the point. That's the nature of such a quiet folk music world. The big drama is when the opening act opens with the song the next band was going to play. The jokes are quieter, the drama quieter, the music quieter. This isn't about rock stars, it's about a bunch of corny musicians.

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10 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Will Mitch lose his mind and never return? Do the Folksmen figure out what to play? There's drama there, it's just not as showy as a drummer exploding. And I'd argue that's the point. That's the nature of such a quiet folk music world. The big drama is when the opening act opens with the song the next band was going to play. The jokes are quieter, the drama quieter, the music quieter. This isn't about rock stars, it's about a bunch of corny musicians. 

Not sure how the quoted part got messed up but that was CamBert's point saying "It's all about the show...".

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1 minute ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Will Mitch lose his mind and never return? Do the Folksmen figure out what to play? There's drama there, it's just not as showy as a drummer exploding. And I'd argue that's the point. That's the nature of such a quiet folk music world. The big drama is when the opening act opens with the song the next band was going to play. The jokes are quieter, the drama quieter, the music quieter. This isn't about rock stars, it's about a bunch of corny musicians.

I agree with this.

It really is kind of like the flip side of Spinal Tap in it that the true antagonist is self-importance. These are characters who are barely remembered even within their own circle (“I remember this song. It’s pretty. It had the kiss.”), so the fact that they’re even doing this huge show is a big deal. And even then, the show isn’t what you’d really call a “big deal” as it’s a PBS concert that will amount to basically nothing. So the movie is about a bunch of has beens trying to recapture a moment that never actually was.

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1 minute ago, Cinco DeNio said:

Not sure how the quoted part got messed up but that was CamBert's point saying "It's all about the show...".

Well the conclusion was it's "pointless" and I'm saying completely otherwise. The point is this is what this world is.

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1 minute ago, Cameron H. said:

I agree with this.

It really is kind of like the flip side of Spinal Tap in it that the true antagonist is self-importance. These are characters who are barely remembered even within their own circle (“I remember this song. It’s pretty. It had the kiss.”), so the fact that they’re even doing this huge show is a big deal. And even then, the show isn’t what you’d really call a “big deal” as it’s a PBS concert that will amount to basically nothing. So the movie is about a bunch of has beens trying to recapture a moment that never actually was.

Not to mention they could only get three groups to play.  The influence Mr. Steinbloom was reputed to have was illusory as well. ("Illusory". Thank you Word-of-the-Day calendar!)

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When Young Steinbloom told Mitch that Mitch was Mr. Steinbloom's favorite, I expected him to say that to all the groups.

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24 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Will Mitch lose his mind and never return? Do the Folksmen figure out what to play?

I agree with the first point. As I said the Mitch and Mickey stuff is the heart of the movie and the only part to provide an arc. The Folksmen until you said that (concert aside) I didn't realize that was their story until now. And if it was it was one scene late until the movie. To me their thing is Michael McKean character seems so apart from the other two you're just kinda thinking something will come from that. When they're practicing their songs there is tension from him about the Skeleton song so there is stuff there but it just to me feels like it goes nowhere. The New Main Street Singers has so many plot threads that just kinda go nowhere or have nothing. The movie is funny. I don't deny that and I get it is being more subtle but just at the end it seems more like "Oh that was funny, put that bit in" then a constructed story leading to something. That's why I'd rather watch his prior movies to this one.

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1 minute ago, Cinco DeNio said:

When Young Steinbloom told Mitch that Mitch was Mr. Steinbloom's favorite, I expected him to say that to all the groups.

I expected that as well. It really felt like that’s what it was setting up.

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6 minutes ago, Cam Bert said:

I agree with the first point. As I said the Mitch and Mickey stuff is the heart of the movie and the only part to provide an arc. The Folksmen until you said that (concert aside) I didn't realize that was their story until now. And if it was it was one scene late until the movie. TO me their thing is Michael McKean character seems so apart from the other two you're just kinda thinking something will come from that. When they're practicing their songs there is tension from him about the Skeleton song so there is stuff there but it just to me feels like it goes nowhere. The New Main Street Singers has so many plot threads that just kinda go nowhere or have nothing. The movie is funny. I don't deny that and I get it is being more subtle but just at the end it seems more like "Oh that was funny, but that bit in" then a constructed story leading to something. That's why I'd rather watch his prior movies to this one.

Again, I think the movie is showing how uncool folk is. Where you expect there to be drama, there isn’t — except for *them* there is. Does that make sense? It’s a bunch of Mr Rogers and this is as edgy as they get.

I loved the New Mainstreet Singers, because it was about how a group can evolve to the point it’s unrecognizable, but is able to kind of “cash in.” They only have one of the original 9 members so they can technically call themselves the same band, but they’ve gone from being this quasi-Christian group to this color worshiping cult. It reminded me of how Mike Love gets to call his group “The Beach Boys” even though Brian Wilson has more original band members in his current band.

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Just now, Cameron H. said:

Again, I think the movie is showing how uncool folk is. Where you expect there to be drama, there isn’t — except for *them* there is. Does that make sense? It’s a bunch of Mr Rogers and this is as edgy as they get.

I loved the New Mainstreet Singers, because it was about how a group can evolve to the point it’s unrecognizable, but is able to kind of “cash in.” They only have one of the original 9 members so they can technically call themselves the same band, but they’ve gone from being this quasi-Christian group to this color worshiping cult. It reminds me of how Mike Love gets to call his group The Beach Boys even though Brian Wilson has more original band members in his current band.

That makes sense and I get what you are saying. 

Now that I think about it there is type of meta-commentary in that. That there is no growth to these characters because they are mostly stuck in their little world. You can see that in The Folksmen who complain about The New Mainstreet Singers not being 'real' folk, because they have this very specific and slight version of what they should be and folk should be. To a degree they all do, and to expect them to change or grow would be counter to that.

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2 minutes ago, Cam Bert said:

That makes sense and I get what you are saying. 

Now that I think about it there is type of meta-commentary in that. That there is no growth to these characters because they are mostly stuck in their little world. You can see that in The Folksmen who complain about The New Mainstreet Singers not being 'real' folk, because they have this very specific and slight version of what they should be and folk should be. To a degree they all do, and to expect them to change or grow would be counter to that.

That has always been pretty much my impression of the film as well - baby boomers stuck in the past, oblivious or just not caring how the world has passed them by. And while I get that comparisons to Spinal Tap are inevitable given that a lot of the same people are in both movies, it's also important to remember that a lot of the energy and appearance of the earlier film is down to Rob Reiner as a director.

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24 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

Again, I think the movie is showing how uncool folk is. Where you expect there to be drama, there isn’t — except for *them* there is. Does that make sense? It’s a bunch of Mr Rogers and this is as edgy as they get.

I loved the New Mainstreet Singers, because it was about how a group can evolve to the point it’s unrecognizable, but is able to kind of “cash in.” They only have one of the original 9 members so they can technically call themselves the same band, but they’ve gone from being this quasi-Christian group to this color worshiping cult. It reminded me of how Mike Love gets to call his group “The Beach Boys” even though Brian Wilson has more original band members in his current band.

In a Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode, a college professor remarks over the battle of who will be the next dean (paraphrasing): "You know why the battles are so intense? Because the stakes are so low."  That seems to be the case here.

Also, there was no run-through that afternoon?  I find that hard to believe given how easily they passed off parts (and had perfect harmonies for the large group) when they sang A Mighty Wind at the end.  The Folksmen would have discovered that the New Mainstreet Singers were going to open with Wandrin'.

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20 minutes ago, Cinco DeNio said:

Also, there was no run-through that afternoon?  I find that hard to believe given how easily they passed off parts (and had perfect harmonies for the large group) when they sang A Mighty Wind at the end.  The Folksmen would have discovered that the New Mainstreet Singers were going to open with Wandrin'.

Not necessarily. Unlike a play or something, they all have their own sets that are completely independent from one another. Not quite the same thing, but I played in a Battle of the Bands with 20 something bands, and while we all got a chance to do a sound check, we didn’t sit through them. You’d do your thing and then go off and wait for your turn. 
 

 

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1 hour ago, Cam Bert said:

I agree with the first point. As I said the Mitch and Mickey stuff is the heart of the movie and the only part to provide an arc. The Folksmen until you said that (concert aside) I didn't realize that was their story until now. And if it was it was one scene late until the movie. To me their thing is Michael McKean character seems so apart from the other two you're just kinda thinking something will come from that. When they're practicing their songs there is tension from him about the Skeleton song so there is stuff there but it just to me feels like it goes nowhere. The New Main Street Singers has so many plot threads that just kinda go nowhere or have nothing. The movie is funny. I don't deny that and I get it is being more subtle but just at the end it seems more like "Oh that was funny, put that bit in" then a constructed story leading to something. That's why I'd rather watch his prior movies to this one.

I think the thing that causes your biggest complaint is the movie is improvised. So, the funniest takes are just whatever they said in the moment or the funniest bits overshadowed the actual plot threads being any resolution. So, if a three hour cut exists, it solves your problem but I bet that cut drags.

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I really enjoyed how the movie played with Mitch and Mickey’s relationship. There are hints throughout that her motives aren’t entirely pure, but O’Hara plays it so well that you still buy her con.

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Eugene Levy always took me some getting used to, his performance is so bonkers. But I've grown to really love it, it's so funny.

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5 hours ago, grudlian. said:

I think the thing that causes your biggest complaint is the movie is improvised. So, the funniest takes are just whatever they said in the moment or the funniest bits overshadowed the actual plot threads being any resolution. So, if a three hour cut exists, it solves your problem but I bet that cut drags.

I'd say yes and no to this. I mean Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, etc. were also improvised as well but have more of a cohesive story. They way these films work is that they are given a scene with just an A to B description. For example it would be something like "The Folksmen find out The New Mainstreet Band is doing the same opening song. They eventually decide on 'Eat at Joes' " The dialogue is improvised but the actors know what the scene is about and where it should go. This is what they did in his prior movies and on shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm. However they will also do "Just talk about this or that" to get funny jokes. So when editing they naturally want to put the funnier bits in but most scenes should have a skeletal story they adhere to. I think the fact Eugene Levy is credited as a co-writer explains why his stuff has the most linear story and how each scene builds and sends that story forward. If you think about it every scene of him and Katherine O'Hara move their story while being funny and improvised.

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3 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Eugene Levy always took me some getting used to, his performance is so bonkers. But I've grown to really love it, it's so funny.

 

Same. I felt like he was doing a very broad performance and that everyone else (except Fred Willard but I think that's by design) was much more grounded. I get Mitch is supposed to be burned out but it was cartoony in comparison to everyone else. I didn't dislike it but it put me off at first.

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16 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Eugene Levy always took me some getting used to, his performance is so bonkers. But I've grown to really love it, it's so funny.

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My dream job is production design on stuff like these album covers or the made-up computer interfaces that they use in movies. My favourite of which is probably the vampire scroll decoding app that someone happened to have in one of the Blade movies, I think.

Anyone else reminded of Alice Cooper's Flush The Fashion with that Cry for Help album cover?

Edited to add a fun fact: the late Phil Hartman used to design album covers in the 70s, including for bands like America. He basically had Michael Beck's job from Xanadu.

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On 10/6/2020 at 5:31 AM, AlmostAGhost said:

Eugene Levy always took me some getting used to, his performance is so bonkers. But I've grown to really love it, it's so funny.

I agree. He seems out there but it really is a fully realized character. The only person I still find it hard to get use to is Jennifer Coolidge's character. Just seems a little out of place.

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I forgot to post earlier.  I'll do CATS showings at 7 and 9 tonight so people can prep for tomorrow's live event.  The movie is close to 2 hours so I can't wait long for latecomers.

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