Droid defines the Decades best movies – #12 Best in Show (2000)

best_in_show If there is one genre that’s been in the toilet for the past decade, it’s comedy. It seems all the best comedy writers have absconded to TV Land. From the entire decade, I can think of no more than ten (and that’s being generous) comedy films that are any good, and only two have made my Best Of list. ‘Best in Show’ ranks the highest, and deservedly so. It’s a hilarious look into the lives of a bunch of truly bizarre characters, and each one is funny in their own right.

The story follows numerous characters as they prepare for the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show and watch as the ‘drama’ unfolds. Gerry and Cookie Fleck (Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara) who can’t escape the past, time and time again, Meg and Hamilton Swan (Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock) who met at Starbucks (not the same Starbucks. He saw her from the one across the street.), Harlan Pepper (Christopher Guest) who’s also pursuing ventriloquism, Sherri Ann (Jennifer Coolidge) and Leslie Ward (Patrick Cranshaw), clearly modelled after Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall II, and Scott Donlan (John Michael Higgins) and Stefan Vanderhoof (Michael McKean), a gay couple who can never have enough kimonos.

best in show 1 Written by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy, this is one of the most quotable movies in a long time (always my barometer for a great comedy). It’s one of the rare comedies that clicks from the start, with the yuppy nightmares Posey and Hitchcock in therapy with their dog Beatrice, describing how she’s never been the same since she walked in on them performing ‘The Congress of the Cow’, or Levy describing how with therapy, he learnt to walk a straight line (he has two left feet). I love the description by Coolidge of how perfect her relationship with her catatonic husband is. “We both love soup. We both love the outdoors. Snowpeas. Talking or not talking. We could not talk or talk forever, and still find things to not talk about.” Or the yuppy couple stating “We were so lucky to have been raised amongst catalogues.

best in show 5 But once the show starts is where it becomes truly genius. The introduction of commentator Buck Laughlin (Fred Willard) who is utterly inept and completely inappropriately equipped for the job, much to the chagrin of co-commentator, expert Trevor Beckwith (Jim Piddock). Buck has some hilarious lines, like suggesting costumes for the dogs, such as putting a Sherlock Holmes hat and pipe on a bloodhound to make the show more fun, lamenting the fact that in some countries dogs are eaten or boasting about his bench pressing prowess. It’s a hilarious performance that is also necessary to keep our interest during the show itself.

best in show 6 The mockumentary is difficult to pull off. Guest himself has made four with varying degrees of success, from the hilarious ‘This is Spinal Tap’ and ‘BIS’ to the hit and miss ‘Waiting for Guffman’ and the all miss ‘A Mighty Wind’. Here all the main characters are funny, but also the small roles are funny as well. When Cookie and Gerry stop to visit one of Cookie’s old “friends”, who is a hostage negotiator, he fills them in on a little secret. “They all jump.” Or the Hotel Manager describing how a rock band prompted them to get a credit card imprint on check in. “I’m not sure they realised that there was a toilet IN the room. And roasting a goat, I still don’t understand. Getting the smell out of the drapes was a chore unto itself.” There are amusing little touches that make it even funnier, like the yuppy couple both having braces, or Cookie constantly being recognised by so many men that it would make it tough to be her husband.

best in show 3 As you can see I’ve spent a lot of this review just repeating quotes, which is probably the highest praise I can give to a comedy (plus it’s bloody hard to write about filmmaking techniques in a movie like this). All I can say is that it’s damn funny, and the writing (which was also improvised by the actors) is some of the best comedy writing I’ve seen. And it has Blue in it. You’re my boy, Blue! So if you haven’t seen this I thoroughly recommend it.

The list so far…

#13 – Open Range (2003)

#14 – The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

#15 – Bad Santa (2003)

#16 – The Hurt Locker (2009)

#17 – Where The Wild Things Are (2009)

#18 – Kingdom of Heaven (2005) Directors Cut

#19 – High Fidelity (2000)

#20 – Friday Night Lights (2004)

#21 – Frequency (2000)


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About Judge Droid

In between refining my procrastination skills I talk a lot of shit about movies and such.

22 responses to “Droid defines the Decades best movies – #12 Best in Show (2000)”

  1. Jarv says :

    With the massive pause between these articles, does anyone else think Droid’s at home typing with one finger and a perplexed frown plastered across his face.

  2. Continentalop says :

    I thought “Waiting for Guffman” was all hit and that even a “A Mighty Wind” had some funny parts (Witches in Nature’s Color was damn funny: “Humankind is simply materialized color operating on the 49th vibration. You would make that conclusion walking down the street or going to the store.”).

    “For Your Consideration” sucks crap though.

    • koutchboom says :

      Agreed For Your Consideration was shit. I blame Rickey’s annoying ass.

    • Droid says :

      Haven’t seen FYC. WFG was pretty funny, but wasn’t nearly as good as BIS in my humble opinion.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I agree BIS is their best. Guffman is hit and miss and I think A Mighty Wind HAD huge expectations (I mean as much as you can for a movie like this) so I think people were let down with it.

        I actually think story, plot and movie wise A Mighty Wind is their best and flows the best.

      • Droid says :

        If I remember correctly AMW had an actual story in terms of a sort of character arc. Like the band were trying to make a comeback or something. I don’t really recall it that well. But that’s quite different to BIS where what little ‘plot’ there is is just basically something to hang these weird characters on. So AMW was going for a little bit more. I just didn’t enjoy it as much.

        I think Reiner had a substantial role in Spinal Tap.

  3. koutchboom says :

    WOW! A comedy you and I both like! Probably one of my favorites. I think the best scene is the deleated scene where Guest is going on and on about his beach ball collection.

  4. koutchboom says :

    I want to see these guys take on:

    Buckfast and Teds

  5. koutchboom says :

    This is Spinal Tap, I wonder how much Rob was involved with that. Yeah I agree A Mighty Wind wasn’t total miss. Also the music was pretty good.

  6. koutchboom says :

    Another good Mockumentary i suggest you seek out is NBT: Never Been Thawed. Its about people who collect frozen dinners. Its done by the same guys who did Sex Drive (i’ve not seen that movie so I don’t know?) but I’m betting its a lot different. Mainly there is no one famous in it and its a mockumentary. Its Guest level good.

  7. xiphos0311 says :

    I’ve never got the appeal of these movies except for Spinal Tap.

    • koutchboom says :

      You would probably like nbt: Never Been Thawed. They are pretty much making fun of comic book collectors the whole time.

  8. MORBIUS says :

    You had me at…”You’re my boy, Blue!”

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