After music producer and folk icon Irving Steinbloom passes away, his children decide to put together a memorial concert featuring the reunion of the three folk bands he helped shepherd to fame during the height of the folk music’s hey day in the 1960s. In A Mighty Wind cameras follow the members of The New Main Street Singers, a cleverly color coordinated clan of amusement park singers, The Folksmen, a trio of musicians who haven’t played together for years, and Mitch & Mickey, a once up and coming duo in folk music that was torn apart by heartbreak, through two weeks of rehearsal and other pre-concert events all coming to a head at concert in New York City at Town Hall Concert Hall. The documentary includes extensive interviews with the bands about how they came to be formed and the history of their rise to fame. Also interviewed are historians, producers, and other important people who have aided in making the memorial concert a success. Cameras also capture moments of negotiation, planning, and the like as Jonathan Steinbloom prepares for his father’s memorial concert called “An Ode to Irving”.
The summary above may peak the interest of some people, but wouldn’t you be more interested to know that A Mighty Wind is another mock-umentary by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy who are the comedic geniuses behind This is Spinal Tap and Best in Show. Guest and Levy hit comic gold once again with this tongue and cheek documentary about the rise and fall of the folk music scene in America during the fifties and sixties. A music characterized by its message of peace and equality is shadowed by dislike, hatred, competition, and feuds. What makes this mock-umentary work is the deadpan performances by the characters that make you believe that this is their reality. Comedy spills over the top of the story and trickles down through every performance as an intricate web of past and present leads into the future of all of the characters.
Being a fan of quite a few of these Guest mock-umentaries like Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, For Your Consideration, and This is Spinal Tap it is fun to see the same actors in one movie play someone completely different in another movie and an even more different character in the next. Each movie finds a unique niche in American life that can seem somewhat silly but is funnier when the seriousness takes over the silliness. So many actors and actresses come together to make these movies as wonderful as they are. Michael McKean, Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, and Jane Lynch are only some of the names from this ensemble cast who make this comedy music to your ears. Once you have seen one of these movies, you will have to see them all just to see what happens in these movies of improvisational gold. I highly recommend A Mighty Wind for all true comedy fans.