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Trailers from Hell and Ti West Take on Hilarious Doc 'American Movie'

Photo of Trailers From Hell By Trailers From Hell | Thompson on Hollywood May 14, 2014 at 11:18AM

This week on Trailers from Hell, horror director Ti West takes time off his new film "The Sacrament," currently gearing up to open in US theaters, to discuss Chris Smith's hilarious 1999 documentary "American Movie."
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'American Movie'
'American Movie'

This week on Trailers from Hell, horror director Ti West takes time off his new film "The Sacrament," currently gearing up to open in US theaters, to discuss Chris Smith's hilarious 1999 documentary "American Movie."

What should be a comedy of errors about a hapless filmmaker’s efforts to complete a low, low budget horror film becomes instead a poignant tale about dodging life’s slings and arrows in order to follow your dreams. The film’s main dreamer is the Quixote-like Mark Borchardt, a lanky Milwaukeean determined to produce his movie come hell or high water. He even has his own Sancho Panza in Mike Schank, the rotund friend enlisted to write the film’s score. Director Chris Smith films his two heroes tilting at every windmill that comes their way and revels in their eventual success, unexpected as it is. Smith’s film was successful as well, winning the Grand Prize at Sundance in 1999.

This article is related to: Video, Video, Trailers from Hell


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.