Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Big Picture


This 1989 movie was the directorial debut of the guy who turned out to be the best there is at a very small sub-genre, the “mockumentary.” Christopher Lord Haden-Guest (yes, he is a peer of the realm) was a writer for SNL and The National Lampoon during their glory days, then co-wrote the amazing progenitor of the genre: This is Spinal Tap. They were so good they have repeatedly gone on tour, and I think there are still some people who don’t realize it was a joke. (My son Roger, a heavy-metal rocker himself, loves this movie, and he does get the joke.)
Some of the inspired madness we would see later in Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind is in evidence here, but he makes the mistake of trying to graft a serious story onto the satire, and a moral lesson. This is not his metier. The best parts are at the beginning, with excerpts of four truly awful movies up for an independent filmmaker award, and at the end, with a music video for a group called “Pez People,” with the rockers dressed as giant Pez dispensers. If you want to see a masterpiece of the nightmarish process of moviemaking in Hollywood, see Altman’s The Player.