by Josh Gross
Let us briefly consider the films of Christopher Guest (For Your Consideration, A Mighty Wind, Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, This is Spinal Tap). They all have great casts, bizarre themes, catchy musical numbers and endlessly quotable dialogue. But I'd submit that what actually makes them great is how non-fantastical they all are, that Guest has found real-life cartoons in the world around him and translated them to film.
Let's do the list.
With its strong adherence to Murphy's law (anything that can go wrong will) and a continuous cast of rotating drummers, Spinal Tap, as anyone who's ever been in a band knows, is one of the most accurate assessments of what its like to crash and burn with a smile on your face; it's the core of the rock and roll experience.
Theater geeks are alternately drawn to and repelled from Waiting for Guffman, which either paints or reflects them as something of buffoons. Viewers want to hate every one of the characters, but can't get past their plucky determination, which lies somewhere between hopelessly oblivious and heroically starry-eyed. This is a battle anyone who has ever sat through an amateur theater production can certainly identify with.
Then there's Best in Show ... You know what, rather than taking my word for it, wouldn't you rather just go see for yourself? Today if you swing by the Idaho Fish and Game office around 6 p.m., you can sit in on the monthly meeting of the Idaho Kennel Club.
The club meets once a month to prepare dogs and their owners for dog shows and the goofy experiences and characters that so inspired Christopher Guest. Dogs train in conformation, agility, obedience or rally events, while the people get bitterly competitive in the background like parents at a soccer match.
Ooohhh ... Christopher Guest, I've got a movie idea for you.