This file was generated 2002-06-09 04:23 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2001-01-28.

Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> January 2001 >> American Movie

American Movie

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
5 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
January 2001
IMDB Name:
American Movie: The Making of Northwestern (1999)
Chris Smith
MPAA Rating:
R for language and some drug content.


I really want to express the relief I felt as American Movie drew to a close. I was afraid that it was going to end in disaster. For a documentary, there is a surprising amount of tension about how it will end. Mark Borchardt definitely has a lot of drama in his life, and his determination could serve as a model for any filmmaker, even if nothing else about him does. I was sure that his attitude would tax his friends and family past the point where they would put up with him, but they carry on in service of his dream. I was shocked that for as much as he imposed on people, he was never shown thanking them until the very end. It's a miracle that nobody in the film compares him to the infamous Edward D. Wood Jr., the no-budget dynamo behind Plan 9 from Outer Space, although Borchardt is certainly more discriminating when it comes to getting things right. Fortunately, Borchardt's friend Mike Schank is on hand to provide comic relief precisely when Mark is at his most grating.

Chris Smith and Sarah Price, both veterans of Michael Moore's The Big One, have deftly captured a slice of America. They lucked out selecting Borchardt as their subject, since he would probably qualify as a guest on a slow day of "The Jerry Springer Show". They also win big with the Wisconsin accent, which imparts folksiness with a vengeance. As documentaries go, this one was probably pretty straightforward throughout.

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Copyright 2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.