June 17th: U.S. of States

American Movie

129. American Movie (Chris Smith, 1999)

Mark Borchardt is a very driven man, American Movie is the story of his single minded drive to make and release a film on the career path to becoming a career film-maker. Over several years we see Mark and his motormouth come closer and closer to achieving his dream of making and releasing his short film Coven. We are introduced to the bizarre supporting cast of friends, family and part time actors that comprise Mark’s life. They really are an incredible bunch of characters too – Mark’s best friend, Mike Schank, is a reformed drink/drug addict whose on camera presence is like that of a South Park character come to life. It’s from Mark and Mike that most of the undeniably funny moments of the film spring to life, despite seeming to have nothing in common they are damn good friends and you get the impression that Mike would follow Mark and his non-stop hyperbole to the ends of the earth. That’s the charm of this documentary, Mark is a dreamer and he’s fallen in love with American horror cinema and he absolutely will succeed. Or at least he believes he will. To the viewer it all looks like a lost cause – a series of increasingly doomed scenarios. ‘Poor Mark’, you might think, ‘destined never to realise his dream.’ The brilliant irony is that Mark has become involved in the business of American cinema. American Movie made him something of a celebrity in his own right and a quick glance at his page on IMDB shows that he is increasingly involved in cinema – something that made me very happy indeed.

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