American Movie

I picked up American Movie without really knowing anything about it other than what was on the box. “Sundance Festival Winner? Sounds good to me!” I gave Grant, my neighbor, a call, and convinced him to skip the guitar practice he was supposed to be doing to watch it with me.

After watching the adventures of the hapless Mark Borschardt as he labored with inhuman tenacity to film his project Coven (which centers around an alcoholic who checks into a twelve step program only to find that his group consists of satanists), I was convinced that American Movie was a Spinal Tap-style spoof. I was shocked to discover a few days later than Mark is a real person, and that Coven has actually been released.

In spite of all the obstacles that obstruct Mark’s slightly-demented vision as he’s putting his film together, he gamely keeps at it. The result is alternately funny, sad, and actually pretty touching at times. The people around Mark obviously don’t understand his vision, but they love him and support his efforts.

A wonderful postscript to this movie is available on zero tv, where you can follow the further adventures of Mark and his sidekick Mike as they start filling orders for Coven, enlisting the aid of some passing Mormons to package the movie. Amazing, zany, stuff, from the heart of America.