One of the funniest films in many a moon was hiding at art house theaters in 1998. Former Saturday Night Live
comedian and Spinal Tap member Christopher Guest creates the ultimate parody of small-town dramatics, Waiting for Guffman
. Corky St. Claire (Guest), an overwhelming drama director hiding out in Blaine, Missouri, thinks he has found the vehicle to put him back on Broadway: the city's 150th anniversary play, Red, White, and Blaine.
As rehearsals start, we learn of the town's history ("the stool capital of the world") including a brush with a UFO. The mockumentary follows the various townsfolk wishing for stardom: Parker Posey as a Dairy Queen clerk, Catherine O'Hara and Fred Willard as stage-struck travel agents, Matthew Keeslar as the town's bad boy, and Eugene Levy (who cowrote the film with Guest) as a dentist who dreams of glory on the stage. The film is a hoot from beginning to end, and be sure to watch the closing credits. Fans of Guest's deft dry humor should not miss his other parody of the entertainment world, The Big Picture
(Kevin Bacon as a student filmmaker who goes to Hollywood). --Doug Thomas