American Movie Reviews

  • Sep 04, 2020

    An achingly candid documentary about such outlandish people you'd swear it's all an act. Imbued with an odd and endearing charm that permeates throughout. Has the feeling of a real life This is Spinal Tap with a much more subdued humor. What American Movie has going for it the most is it's incessant kind-heartedness and sense of devotion to the craft of filmmaking.

    An achingly candid documentary about such outlandish people you'd swear it's all an act. Imbued with an odd and endearing charm that permeates throughout. Has the feeling of a real life This is Spinal Tap with a much more subdued humor. What American Movie has going for it the most is it's incessant kind-heartedness and sense of devotion to the craft of filmmaking.

  • May 17, 2020

    A cool documentary with a love of filmmaking!

    A cool documentary with a love of filmmaking!

  • Sep 17, 2019

    Absurdly, perfectly, genuinely good

    Absurdly, perfectly, genuinely good

  • Sep 02, 2019

    Great movie, super funny!

    Great movie, super funny!

  • Mar 03, 2018

    This is one of the few non-well known films I saw before I got into film. Since I wasn't used to slow pacing at all, I struggled quite a bit and, before rewatching it for this thread, I hadn't thought much about it. Now that I've finally sat down to give it another chance though, I've come to the conclusion that it's pretty excellent and criminally underseen. When I rate and review films I dislike, I rarely think about how dedicated the director could've potentially been to their work while in production or how many hurdles they could've run into in the process of directing that film. More importantly though, I encounter films which fail to give me any insight into the mind of the director who made that film. However, learning about the personal struggles of a director or getting a sense of who the director is can be a really beautiful experience. Since I haven't watched Coven, I can't speak to whether it's a good film or not. However, this documentary reminded me that even if a movie can feel student film-y or misstep a number of times, a lot of work can still be put into that film and the director can also show a strong, overwhelming passion when making it, regardless of how much it shows in the film. Knowing this about the director can cause you to feel more sympathetic towards their work. I find that getting a sense of this is really fascinating and this film evokes this sense in spades. Not only did we get to see how determined Borchardt was in the production of this film, but we also saw him run into a number of obstacles while creating it in addition to several conflicts with other people in his life. Given this knowledge of Borchardt, this induced a truly affecting and strangely personal layer of empathy for him. Also, I say the word "personal", because watching this documentary reminded me a lot of all the times I've watched/read/played something by a close friend of mine. Though I may have my issues with what they make, I often find myself hesitant to point these issues out since I'm really close to that person and am aware of what creating that form of media means to them. Since this documentary did such a thorough job at fleshing Borchardt out and exploring his motivations and aspirations, he felt like a proxy for all the times I've encountered this. While Mark Borchardt was at the heart of the story, the film also fleshed out a handful of other characters around Borchardt who influenced and shaped him as he went about the production of Coven. The first of which was his mother, who fervently supported him and occasionally went out of her way to help him out with his goal despite having her doubts that he'd ever succeed as a movie director. Knowledge on how she used to fight with Borchardt's father also interested me since it gave a sense of Borchardt's background. Borchardt's best friend Mike was also compelling. Little about his ambitions were known. Like, we knew he was a musician, but we didn't know whether he worked anywhere or if he was unemployed and simply played it on his own accord. Regardless, I appreciated him for his strong dedication to Borchardt, not just in the sense of how he helped him with Coven, but also how he helped him with a number of the films he made when he was younger. His prior struggles with drug addiction were also compelling to learn about. The most interesting of these characters, however, was Bill, Borchardt's uncle. He was elderly, lived alone in a trailer, and had a negative outlook on life in how he constantly expressed his dissatisfaction and indifference towards Borchardt and a number of other things which happened in the film. He seemed to have no ambitions left. In spite of this, however, Borchardt consistently tried to get him involved with the production of his film, perhaps an attempt to help him find happiness given that he recommended this to him at a few points in the film. Bill's final lines really resonated with me as they were the culmination of Borchardt's efforts. Overall, this documentary was powerful and it lingered with me for a while after finishing it. With documentaries, I rarely find myself eager to rewatch them, but I can definitely see myself watching this one again in the future since it impressed me so much. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend doing so.

    This is one of the few non-well known films I saw before I got into film. Since I wasn't used to slow pacing at all, I struggled quite a bit and, before rewatching it for this thread, I hadn't thought much about it. Now that I've finally sat down to give it another chance though, I've come to the conclusion that it's pretty excellent and criminally underseen. When I rate and review films I dislike, I rarely think about how dedicated the director could've potentially been to their work while in production or how many hurdles they could've run into in the process of directing that film. More importantly though, I encounter films which fail to give me any insight into the mind of the director who made that film. However, learning about the personal struggles of a director or getting a sense of who the director is can be a really beautiful experience. Since I haven't watched Coven, I can't speak to whether it's a good film or not. However, this documentary reminded me that even if a movie can feel student film-y or misstep a number of times, a lot of work can still be put into that film and the director can also show a strong, overwhelming passion when making it, regardless of how much it shows in the film. Knowing this about the director can cause you to feel more sympathetic towards their work. I find that getting a sense of this is really fascinating and this film evokes this sense in spades. Not only did we get to see how determined Borchardt was in the production of this film, but we also saw him run into a number of obstacles while creating it in addition to several conflicts with other people in his life. Given this knowledge of Borchardt, this induced a truly affecting and strangely personal layer of empathy for him. Also, I say the word "personal", because watching this documentary reminded me a lot of all the times I've watched/read/played something by a close friend of mine. Though I may have my issues with what they make, I often find myself hesitant to point these issues out since I'm really close to that person and am aware of what creating that form of media means to them. Since this documentary did such a thorough job at fleshing Borchardt out and exploring his motivations and aspirations, he felt like a proxy for all the times I've encountered this. While Mark Borchardt was at the heart of the story, the film also fleshed out a handful of other characters around Borchardt who influenced and shaped him as he went about the production of Coven. The first of which was his mother, who fervently supported him and occasionally went out of her way to help him out with his goal despite having her doubts that he'd ever succeed as a movie director. Knowledge on how she used to fight with Borchardt's father also interested me since it gave a sense of Borchardt's background. Borchardt's best friend Mike was also compelling. Little about his ambitions were known. Like, we knew he was a musician, but we didn't know whether he worked anywhere or if he was unemployed and simply played it on his own accord. Regardless, I appreciated him for his strong dedication to Borchardt, not just in the sense of how he helped him with Coven, but also how he helped him with a number of the films he made when he was younger. His prior struggles with drug addiction were also compelling to learn about. The most interesting of these characters, however, was Bill, Borchardt's uncle. He was elderly, lived alone in a trailer, and had a negative outlook on life in how he constantly expressed his dissatisfaction and indifference towards Borchardt and a number of other things which happened in the film. He seemed to have no ambitions left. In spite of this, however, Borchardt consistently tried to get him involved with the production of his film, perhaps an attempt to help him find happiness given that he recommended this to him at a few points in the film. Bill's final lines really resonated with me as they were the culmination of Borchardt's efforts. Overall, this documentary was powerful and it lingered with me for a while after finishing it. With documentaries, I rarely find myself eager to rewatch them, but I can definitely see myself watching this one again in the future since it impressed me so much. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend doing so.

  • Feb 12, 2018

    One of the funniest, most interesting films ever made. Unforgettable people and scenes. Beyond wacky and crazy at times. Classic.

    One of the funniest, most interesting films ever made. Unforgettable people and scenes. Beyond wacky and crazy at times. Classic.

  • May 06, 2016

    Mark: Ready Mike? When I say 'Take 1' give it a couple seconds.... Take 1! Mike: .... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Mark: ..... That was wicked man.

    Mark: Ready Mike? When I say 'Take 1' give it a couple seconds.... Take 1! Mike: .... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Mark: ..... That was wicked man.

  • Apr 17, 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.

    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.

  • Jan 17, 2016

    A great documentary about indepenent film making.

    A great documentary about indepenent film making.

  • Dec 06, 2015

    Funny and honest doc about a guy from midwest in the US who wants to be a filmmaker.

    Funny and honest doc about a guy from midwest in the US who wants to be a filmmaker.