Trollhunter by Andre Ovredal opens tomorrow at the Ritz at the Bourse. I normally wouldn’t have much of an inclination to see a mockumentary monster movie, but the fact that its US premiere engagement prompted Chris Columbus’ company to acquire the rights for an English-language remake (and no one knows better than those in Philthy that individuals of the aforementioned name have a knack for getting things wrong), prompted me to see the original, if only so I could have a “valid” opinion about something that might not be terrible, but would never be believed two years later, after the American knockoff was out and I would just appear to be liking it simply because was “the original.” The film seems to draw more comparisons to The Blair Witch Project (which was actually shot in the backyard of my aunt and uncle) than anything resembling legitimate cinema but, on rare occasions, the mockumentary genre has actually leant itself to worthwhile filmmaking, so I would like to dedicate this article to the five greatest mockumentaries of all-time… and only two of them were directed by Christopher Guest.
5. Series 7: The Contenders Daniel Minahan (2001)
How this blood-soaked satire didn’t make a bigger splash I will never know. Random US citizens are Vietnam-style drafted to hunt and kill each other for the amusement of television viewers… and it’s a bloody good show.
4. Best in Show Christopher Guest (2000)
I fucking hate dogs and I think this film might accurately explain why. Still, as long as I’m slobber-free, it’s completely hilarious.
3. To Die For Gus Van Sant (1995)
After My Own Private Idaho Gus Vant Sant seemed to lose interest in the seriously subversive. However, To Die For remains a gem of mainstream cinema. Van Sant camps it up with Nicole Kidman as a weather girl who seduces a trio of teens into murdering her husband in something that resembles a modified re-telling of the story of the Manson family more suited for Days of Our Lives.
2. Waiting for Guffman Christopher Guest (1997)
A sincerely melancholy tale that will leave both the hip and the common folk in stitches. For the record, even if Parker Posey was a Dairy Queen employee in Blaine, Missouri, I would still be just as madly in love with her (but not if she had a dog).
1. Man Bites Dog Remy Belvaux, Andre Bonzel, and Benoit Poelvoorde (1992)
This may be cinema’s greatest commentary on city planning and “gentrification;” I’ve often cited it as “The Greatest Film Ever Made About Fishtown.” We follow the adventures of a brilliant humanist and critic of Le Corbusier, who also happens to be a mass murderer, as he develops an intimate relationship with the film crew covering, and eventually partaking-in, the ideology of a man who empathizes with the masses, but sees their individual plights as less tragic than what he believes their society has in store for them.