American Movie - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

American Movie Reviews

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May 24, 2016
To some, American Movie is a foreboding cautionary tale. To most however it is a charming and accurate portrayal of the creative and cinematic process.
May 6, 2016
Mark: Ready Mike? When I say 'Take 1' give it a couple seconds.... Take 1!

Mike: .... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Mark: ..... That was wicked man.
April 18, 2016
Documentary about an amateur filmmaker struggling to make his passion project, eventually settling to just finish a short film so he can raise money for the feature film, and barely managing to scrape the short together due to numerous setbacks and his own personal demons. While Mark Bouchardt is an interesting character in his own right, it's his friend Mike Schank who steals the show with his bizarre quiet demeanor...he almost seems like he doesn't know where he is or what is going on around him most of the time. It's a great little film about how hard it can be to make a film, especially when you are in debt and seem to have an inflated sense of self.
½ February 7, 2016
Car-crash cinema: this is a documentary about a bizarre group of blokes who's determination to suceed as a filmmaker seems to be one of the few things that have not been frazzled by using too much dope. It doesn't take long to figure out that this film is meant to show us that you can get it if you really want it despite being continuously hindered. This is quite funny, not deliberately so though.
January 17, 2016
A great documentary about indepenent film making.
December 6, 2015
Funny and honest doc about a guy from midwest in the US who wants to be a filmmaker.
October 31, 2015
How do you review your all-time favourite film?
½ September 4, 2015
This is the worst movie I have ever seen. I literally felt worse after watching it and thought about not watching movies anymore, just because I didn't realize they could be this bad.
½ August 26, 2015
to every filmmakers out there: Filmmaking is not a hobby, it's not a business. It's a calling--where we see ourselves and change others. We do it because we love it.
July 16, 2015
One of my favorite docs, a fascinating study on the nature of drive, desire, and the reality of low budget filmmaking.
May 13, 2015
JUST shy of being a FIVE Jack classic, could probably do with a bit of an edit... BUT what a film this is. Hilarious, heartwarming and made me do a lot of self reflection.
April 18, 2015
If you like this movie, go make fun of Special Olympians
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2015
There is a particular bent in documentaries lately to take the oddest people in society and make them think that they are being filmed for a serious purpose when in actuality, you are filming them to be mocked by broader society. In this case we get our laughs in at the moronic Borchardt and later feel equally annoyed and wanting some pity to a person who will clearly never make it.
February 6, 2015
Directed by Chris Smith (The Yes Men (2003), The Pool (2007) and Collapse (2009), this documentary came about after Smith met aspiring independent filmmaker Mark Borchardt, who had aspirations to make an epic horror film in his native Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. This shows just how difficult it is to make a film, and how it's a lot more than just pointing a camera at something and calling action. This tells the story of how small time filmmaker Mark Borchardt made Coven (1997), a 36 minute black and white horror film. Originally, Borchardt had wanted to make a horror epic called Northwestern, but that one proves to be too ambitious. So, using the same money they'd raised for Northwestern, Borchardt decides to make Coven, with help from his senile 82 year old uncle Bill. However, production proves to be difficult with various mishaps and setbacks happening. Mark, a chronic alcoholic, takes to the bottle when shooting gets stressful, but his friend and collaborator Mike Schank, who beat alcoholism, is determined to see Coven through. It's a true underdog story, and it shows that if you fight hard enough, you can get what you want to make made. But, it's a sad fact that independent films are the hardest films to get made in the cutthroat world of filmmaking. But, the fact that Borchardt fought against the odds to get Coven made is inspiring.
November 8, 2014
By far the most underrated movie of all time. The story of the movie is inspiring in its own right and Mark and Mike, the two main characters are truly as 'normal' as can be. You genuinely find yourself rooting for Mark to make a success of his career as his passion and commitment for movie making are completely inspiring. I couldn't recommend a better movie than this modern day cult classic.
October 18, 2014
I'm pissed that I waited so long to see this! I was in tears from laughing
hunterjt13
Super Reviewer
October 14, 2014
A midwestern independent filmmaker marshals his friends to produce his horror film, Coven, a title that he decidedly pronounces "Coe-ven".
What word means the opposite of "inspiring?" I suppose it's "discouraging," but that doesn't quite capture how this film makes me feel. Oftentimes, I get a paroxysm of courage that tells me to "just make the damn movie; use your iPhone if that's all you have." But this film casts a shadow of doubt over such moments because I fear that I could look as foolish and incompetent as Mark Borchardt, whose limited cinematic vision, failure to understand basic story-telling concepts, and utter lack of self-reflection are only eclipsed by his self-assuredness and courage. He's no doubt an idiot, but he's an idiot who fashions himself an artist, and there are lower ambitions that a man might set himself to.
American Movie is Borchardt's story, and your patience with his brash, over-taxing ambition will determine your patience with the film. For my part, I found him pitiable and my viewing of the film uncomfortable.
Overall, this documentary serves as an unwelcome mirror for those who fashion themselves artists; I only wish it were required viewing for all Hollywood execs as well.
October 11, 2014
filmed in Wisconsin? Makes me want to see it even more!
½ October 8, 2014
This is a quietly endearing documentary about the idealistic and irrepressible Mark Borchandt trying to fund his magnum opus by completing a silent horror film that he started 6 year previous. It is ultimately quite heartfelt and the sheer commitment to his film overlaps with his personal life in quite a touching manner.
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