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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

memo to Christopher Guest: Please take on Sarah Palin. Please

If we did not have some independent confirmation that Sarah Palin is actually a real person, would we not think this was something out of a Christopher Guest movie?

Guest wouldn’t even have to be mean about it. His mockumentaries are always pointed but gentle: His last film, For Your Consideration, ever-so tenderly ripped apart the artistic aspirations of indie filmmakers. Before that he poked fun at folk musicians (in A Mighty Wind), dog-show aficionados (in Best in Show), and small-town thespians (in Waiting for Guffman). Always, Guest has wielded a masterful satiric blade against the pretensions and misapprehensions of ordinary people while never being unrelentingly cruel to those ordinary people themselves: Guest always manages to find the pathos in the would-be grandiosity, so that we could always understand and even sympathize with the yearning for something other than a small, ordinary life and the desire to make a splash and make a difference.
Is it too much to ask for Guest to come back and do the same for a segment of Americana — Tea Partiers — that is screaming out for his unique brand of mild-mannered but razor-sharp scorn? I can see it now: the lone befuddled black man (perhaps played by Craig Robinson) wandering around at a rally where white folk in Revolutionary War-era dressup rave about the benefits of slavery in a depressed economy. There’d be talk of Parker Posey for an Oscar for her incisive and hilarious portrayal of a grizzly-huntin’ lipstick-emblazoned half-term governor from some manly sort of state — Wyoming, maybe, or Montana — who’s such a rube she doesn’t even realize she’s been cast as The Rube in a political puppet show run by a cabal of slick DC insiders (led by Michael McKean and Catherine O’Hara). Bob Balaban would be the reasonable candidate hung out to dry, and Fred Willard would steal the show as the right-wing TV personality.

I’ll help you write it, Mr. Guest. Or I’ll just stand aside in gape in awe as you work. Pretty please?



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