When folk icon Irving Steinbloom passed away, he left behind a legacy of music and a family of performers he has shepherded to folk stardom. To celebrate a life spent submerged in folk, Irving's loving son Jonathan has decided to put together a memorial concert featuring some of Steinbloom's best-loved musicians. There's Mitch and Mickey, who were the epitome of young love until their partnership was torn apart by heartbreak; classic troubadours The Folksmen, whose records were endlessly entertaining for anyone able to punch a hole in the center to play them; and The New Main Street Singers, the most meticulously color-coordinated "neuftet" ever to hit an amusement park. Now for one night only in New York City's Town Hall, these three groups will reunite and gather together to celebrate the music that almost made them famous.
As in their previous films, "Waiting for Guffman" and "Best in Show," Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy, his writing partner, present a group of sweetly self-deluded oddballs in pursuit of show business glory. Here, the large cast sends up the folk-music scene of the 1960's, some of whose fictitious leading lights — the lovey-dovey duo Mitch and Mickey, the hard-working Folksmen, and the appallingly upbeat New Main Street Singers — gather for a reunion at Town Hall in Manhattan. It has been noted that this trompe l'oeil satire ignores the political dimensions of American folk music, but Mr. Guest is so faithful to the world he has created that you can forgive any lapses with regard to the one that exists. Bad music has never sounded so good, and the film's deadpan sincerity — especially evident in Ms. O'Hara's performance as the disppointed Mickey — will make you clap your hands and sing along even as you are laughing your head off. — A. O. Scott
2003-04-16 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of A Mighty Wind