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A Mighty Wind (2003)
HILARIOUS AND SURPRISINGLY POIGNANT
I didn't think I'd go see a Christopher Guest film and get a little teary-eyed, but that's exactly what happened. This faux documentary about a folk singing reunion features dozens of hilarious moments, but what was most surprising about it was the touching story surrounding the singing duo "Mitch and Mickey," expertly played by Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara. Other standout performances include Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Michael McKeon as "The Folksmen," Ed Begley Jr as a Swedish tv executive who also happens to be Jewish, Bob Balaban as the exasperatingly picky concert producer, Michael Hitchcock as the put-upon theater manager, Jennifer Coolidge as the show's bombshell-gone-bad publicist, and the always-amazing Fred Willard as one of the group's dim-bulb managers. I was disappointed that Parker Posey didn't have much to do in this film, as her performances are usually a highlight as well. The music is terrific, and made even more so knowing that everyone involved actually sang and played their own instruments. Easily the best comedy out so far this year!
On the Spot (2003)
Inventive and Playful
The WB is definitely taking a gamble with "On The Spot." Not only is it a unique mix of scripted material and improvisation, it also features comedy legend Tim Conway, who does not usually come to mind when thinking about the usual WB young demographic audience. I think the gamble has paid off, because "On the Spot" is one of the funniest shows of the year. What I like most about it, is that it doesn't take itself seriously at all. Actors are seen walking around the sets, talking directly to the studio audience, and even interacting with the house band, led by Dweezil Zappa. The result is like a crazy party that we're invited to every week. Besides Conway, the talented cast also includes "Whose Line is It Anyway" actors Jeff Davis and Chip Esten, Mindy Sterling (the Frau from "Austin Powers"), Michael Hitchcock (the yuppie lawyer from "Best in Show" and the theater manager in "A Mighty Wind,"), and Arden Myrin ("Working"). Every week has also featured a surprise guest or two including Jack Black, Cheri Oteri, Andy Dick, Robert Wagner, and singer Lisa Loeb. It's playful and inventive, and definitely worth checking out.
Satan's School for Girls (2000)
A DECENT TV MOVIE
I know everybody likes to rag on Shannen Doherty and Aaron Spelling, but I have to say I was pretty impressed with this tv movie. Doherty plays a girl who goes to an all women's college to investigate the supposed suicide of her sister. Judging by the title, you can guess that this isn't your average university. It's full of pretty girls who just happen to be Satanic, and the Dean of Students is played by none other than ex-Charlie's Angel Kate Jackson. It's campy, funny, and even scary at times - and the supporting cast (including a great Julie Benz as Shannen's roommate) do an admirable job.