Best in Show (Guest, 2000)

It seems I built this film up too much over the years, loving it mainly because of it’s focus on canine’s. There’s just something brilliant about Guest’s Harlon Pepper saying “blood hound doggy” to his four legged counterpart. The interactions in this film between man and beast are dead on; the loving human need for companionship and competition. However, watching it again, it doesn’t quite hold up as the masterpiece I thought it was. Seems too short, almost fleeting, which could be seen as a great mirror of the characters dreams of victory. The standouts are Michael McKean and John Michael Higgins, Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, all hilariously bantering back and forth, completely knowing their strengths and weaknesses with each other and with their dogs. Fred Willard’s announcer, while still funny, provided almost too much distraction from the actual story. But still, a great example of Guest’s love for the unrepresented realms of art making.

For Your Consideration (Guest, 2006)

Christopher Guest’s obsession for the overly passionate marks his best films, the sublime competition of Best in Show and the sly sense of nostalgia in A Mighty Wind. Guest’s latest, a critique of awards show buzz and marketing called For Your Consideration displays a different, more disturbing disintegration of passion within moviemaking, which makes this venture both more saddening and ultimately less rewarding. Watching brilliant comedic actors like Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Ed Begley Jr., John Michael Higgins and the rest of the troupe unknowingly get wrapped up in an flurry of hope for success, then be turned away so quickly and without remorse, resonates discomfort. In his other film’s, Guest leaves us with some sort of tribute to these slightly manic characters who feel so much passion for who they think they are and what defines them as people. In For Your Consideration, there’s no such resolution, and by the final fade I was left both unsatisfied by the short duration of the film and the many moments of heartache the main characters feel, especially O’Hara’s Marilyn Hack, which seem to lead nowhere. If you’ve been around the movies for any length of time you’ve come to the realization that awards, buzz, and the excitement each can generate transcends the actors and films and filters down to the fans. Guest’s film never addresses this idea, and the film falters because it feels so intrigued with the talent (or lack thereof) who becomes so hopeful then disappointed (an character arc I just couldn’t get behind), instead of expanding the scope of the film to include how word of mouth works outside the inner circle of Hollywood. For Your Consideration is both funny at times and compelling (especially with the great Parker Posey), but compared to Guest’s best work, it feels slight and unimportant.