Monday, 11 February 2008

Mitch & Mickey was Robbed!

I re-watched Christopher Guest's "A Mighty Wind" the other night and three things came to mind:

1) If not his funniest, I think it's his best film overall. Oh sure, it isn't perfect - there's some slow passages followed by strangely out of place humour - but the characters are great and the music is wonderful.

2) Catherine O'Hara is simply fantastic in her role and she's just one of my favourite performers EVER. Her comedic skills are unsurpassed (her celebrity impressions, character creations, ability with slapstick, etc.), but she shines here as an actress with some nicely subtle moments.

3) The song "A Kiss At The End Of The Rainbow" by the film's fictional duo Mitch & Mickey was nominated for an Oscar as Best Song that year - and I think it should have won. It was written by Eugene Levy, performed by both himself and O'Hara in the film, used as bookends for their story and did a great job of mimicking the style of music that was being gently parodied. Best of all, it's just simply a very lovely song.

This was their performance of it at the 2004 Oscars:

C'mon, Catherine O'Hara even plays the autoharp herself! Can she do no wrong?

Like the recent winner "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" and this year's likely winner from "Once", the song was integral to the story of the film. Isn't that a better indication of a Best Song winner than something that plays over the credits?

By the way, 2004 was a strong year for Best Song contenders. I would've been happy if either of these other two nominees had won:

"The Scarlet Tide" was from the film "Cold Mountain" (which I did not see) and combined the talents of Elvis Costello, T-Bone Burnett and the lovely voice of Alison Krauss.

"Belleville Rendezvous" from the animated "The Triplets Of Belleville" is probably my favourite song of the bunch - something I would listen to outside the context of the film. And there's a guy playing a bicycle in this performance. C'mon!

But in the end, Annie Lennox's "Into The West" won since it was featured in the juggernaut that was "The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King" - over the end credits I believe...

Oh well. So as not to leave on that note, here's another tune by the fictional Mitch & Mickey from "A Mighty Wind" (actually this footage wasn't in the film, but parts of this song played during the movie and the entirety of it was during the closing credits). Again, it's a terrific tune and honestly sweet in a way that much of today's "twee" pop could only hope to achieve.


Chet Mellema said...

I really love this movie. I saw this in the theatre in '03 with a good friend of mine when I was in grad school and I will never forget the moment those album covers popped on the screen...first the "Singin'"; "Wishin'"; "Pickin'" crop followed by the brilliantly hilarious Mitch album covers "Calling It Quits" and "Cry for Help". I think Guest did something amazing with A Mighty Wind in combining a campy atmosphere with nostalgia, humor and overwhelming dramatic sadness. Although there are a few missteps along the way, which you accurately point out, it is really quite an accomplishment and easily his best film. It really makes the failure of "For Your Consideration" that much more significant.

Bob Turnbull said...

I pretty much agree with you on all points Chet! Those Mitch solo album covers were inspired...

I really, really wanted to like "For Your Consideration" and there are a couple of good scenes, but it just had no spark of any kind.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

I agree with you 100%. Not only is this a charming movie but the song was so perfect for it - that is something I wish would hold a little more weight at the awards becuase they sooo hsould have gotten it!