Back together for the first time again.A Mighty Wind
is a 2003 mockumentary
film about a reunion of Folk Music
singers, directed by Christopher Guest
. The movie's comedy is comparable to that of Guest's other films, This Is Spinal Tap
, Best in Show
, and Waiting for Guffman
, as well as having mostly the same cast as those films.
The plot is started by the death of Irving Steinbloom, a folk music producer, whose children plan a reunion concert with several of the bands he worked with to honor his memory. However, there are several things that make this difficult, such as the fact that folk music duet Mitch & Mickey (Eugene Levy & Catherine O'Hara) haven't spoken for decades since their messy breakup, and Mitch's resulting Creator Breakdown
Presented as an Affectionate Parody
of The Sixties
Folk Revival, the movie received largely positive reviews, with particular praise going towards the performances and the music within.
Contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Terry Bohner was subjected to a strange sort of abuse by his father—being locked in a room, made to listen to a single record on repeat, and then sent to bed with nothing but dessert.
- Affectionate Parody: Of the folk music revival of The Sixties and its personalities.
- Beard of Sorrow: Mitch sported one on the cover of his solo album Calling It Quits.
- Bland-Name Product: The Public Broadcasting Network (PBN) is a stand-in for the Public Broadcasting Service.
- Casting Gag: The Folksmen are played by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer, AKA Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins, and Derek Smalls.
- Creator Breakdown: In-Universe, Mitch's solo albums (one of which provides the image source). The names and themes get progressively more depressive.
- Crossdressing Voices: Christopher Guest does the voices of both the man and woman who are making love in the hotel room next to Mitch.
- Cult: The WINC (Witches in Nature's Colors) a coven that worships the power of color founded by Terry and Laurie.
- The Ditz: Amber Cole.
"Thank God for model trains, you know? If they didn't have the model train they wouldn't have gotten the idea for the big trains."
- Dope Slap: Jonathan Steinbloom is on the receiving end of one of these after the stage manager gets increasingly irritated with his inane questions. The slap was entirely unscripted, and it broke up the entire crew. This is why the shot cuts away so quickly afterward, due to cast laughter on the soundtrack.
- Fake Band: Several of them, in fact, but the performances are real. Much of the music was arranged by John Michael Higgins, who played Terry Bohner; and several cast members spent months learning to play their instruments, having never studied music before signing on for the movie. And, in something of a Defictionalization, most of the cast performed in character for a brief concert tour after the film's release. Eugene Levy & Catherine O'Hara also sang the movie's Oscar-nominated song in character as Mitch & Mickey at the 76th Annual Academy Awards.. The Folksmen actually predate the movie, and have opened for Spinal Tap from time to time. Some Spinal Tap fans didn't even realize that they were the same people.
- Gender Bender: The epilogue reveals that Mark Shubb is now living and performing as a woman, though still singing with his deep bass voice.
- Genius Ditz: Mitch may be a bit empty-headed, but damn, the man can play.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The title is basically a euphemism for flatulence.
"It's blowin' peace and freedom / It's blowin' you and me!"
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The Folksmen use a one-word title for their first five abums, with a missing final "g", eg. Pickin'. Their 6th album is titled Saying Something. They attribute the subsequent loss of their fanbase to that change in a scene cut from the theatrical release, but available in the DVD extras. That album was also the first where they used electric instruments, instead of strictly acoustic; parodying the fan and critic controversy over Bob Dylan's move to electric instruments on 1965's Bringing It All Back Home and the 1966 world tour.
- Improv: As with Guest, McKean, and Shearer's other mockumentaries, the movie is comprised of unscripted performances by actors who have gotten in-character.
- Insane Troll Logic: Terry's rationalization of his and Laurie's cult religion.
"This is not an occult science. This is not one of those crazy systems of divination and astrology. That stuff's hooey, and you've got to have a screw loose to go in for that sort of thing. Our beliefs are fairly commonplace and simple to understand. Humankind is simply materialized color operating on the 49th vibration. You would make that conclusion walking down the street or going to the store."
- Musicalis Interruptus: 'The Skeletons of Quinto'. After a 20 minute (off-screen) introduction explaining the song, the Folksman are rushed off-stage before they can sing it by the arrival of Mitch and Mickey.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: All the fictional acts are Affectionate Parodies of real ones:
- Mitch and Mickey - Ian and Sylvia, and to a lesser extent Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.
- The Folksmen - The Kingston Trio and Chad Mitchell Trio. (And possibly Peter Paul and Mary, per the closing gag!)
- The New Main Street Singers - The New Christy Minstrels, Serendipity Singers, and Rooftop Singers.
- Irving Steinbloom is based on real-life folk impresarios Harold Leventhal and Albert Grossman.
- Ramblin' Jack Elliott is briefly represented with a character called Ramblin' Sandy Pitnik (mocking the fact that despite his cowboy person, Elliott was a middle class Jew).
- Rail Enthusiast: Mickey's husband, Leonard.
- Right Through the Wall: Happens to Mitch. Over and over again.
- Running Gag: Mike LaFontaine had once starred on a television sitcom called Wha' Happened?, in which he tried to make "Wha' happened?" a Catch Phrase that would sweep the nation (the show was cancelled due to "complete lack of interest"). He continues to use the phrase throughout the movie.
- The Stoner: Mitch comes off as either this or a suffer of a decades-long Heroic BSOD.
- Take That:
"They're PBN viewers. I don't think they have remotes."
- Wanderlust Song: "Never Did No Wanderin'" - parodied in that, as the title suggests, it's about all the traveling the narrator hasn't gotten to do.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Amber Cole's bizarre dialect. Lampshaded by Christopher Guest in the commentary: "You can narrow [her accent] down to a continent..."
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: As is customary with Christopher Guest movies. (Real documentaries almost always have them.)
- Yiddish as a Second Language: Lars Olfen is the king of this trope, despite being so incredibly Swedish it hurts.
"The naches that I'm feeling right now... 'cause your dad was like mishpoche to me. When I heard I got these ticket to the Folksmen, I let out a geshreeyeh, and I'm running with my friend... running around like a vilde chaye, right into the theater, in the front row! So we've got the schpilkes, 'cause we're sittin' right there... and it's a mitzvah, what your dad did, and I want to try to give that back to you. Okeinhoreh, I say, and God bless him!"