Saturday, August 29, 2020

Best in Show

Movie Name: Best in Show
Year of Release: 2000
Director: Christopher Guest
Starring: Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Fred Willard, John Michael Higgins, Michael Hitchcock, Bob Balaban, Will Sasso, Don Lake, Larry Miller, Ed Begley Jr., Jim Piddock, Linda Kash, Malcolm Stewart 
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8 

Synopsis and Review:
Actor/Writer/Director Christopher Guest, followed his acclaimed "Waiting for Guffman" and the slightly less well received "Almost Heroes" with "Best in Show" which turned out to be one of the best reviewed films in his career so far. Much like "Guffman", he co-wrote the film with actor Eugene Levy, only this time around, they focus their satire on the universe of Dog Shows. The narrative is centered around a series of characters, which we accompany, as they all converge on a National Dog Show competition for Best in Show. We witness the neurosis of high strung couple Hamilton and Meg Swan, who are in couple's therapy, and whose lives revolve around their dog's needs. There's also Gerry and Cookie Fleck, hailing from Florida, who are financially struggling, and have a colorful past, particularly Cookie, who used to waitress, and date quite profusely. There's also Sherri Ann Cabot, and her much older husband Leslie, though Sherri competes and has a very close relationship with the trainer, the competitive Christy Cummings. There's also the openly gay couple of Stefan and Scott, who fully embrace the showmanship of the competition, and finally, the odd man out, Harlan who is there by himself with his bloodhound, and wants to become a ventriloquist. All these folks converge on the show, with high hopes for having their lives transformed by winning the competition.
Christopher Guest has become well known and associated with the mockumentary style, where his films are parodies, but shot as if though they're actually documentaries. "Best in Show" is a great example of this style, and one of Christopher Guest's best films. He manages to capture the over the top rivalries, showmanship and extreme focus that goes into these shows, all the while mixed with the silliness that also underlies it. In particular, he manages to depict and pepper the narrative with amazing humor, primarily due to the variety of personalities that converge on the show, some of which share a collective level of borderline insanity (the comments of the host of the show, portrayed by Fred Willard are simply fantastic). It's a film that lives from the collection of moments, of the awkwardness and deadpan of situations that Christopher Guest stages, all of which is superbly sustained by the impeccable group of actors he usually works with. Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Jennifer Coolidge, Michael McKean, Parker Posey, John Michael Higgins, Ed Begley Jr., Jane Lynch, are all phenomenal, and they truly make this an indelible experience. A very good film always worth watching.