The documentary art form is related to the pillars of truth, justice, and getting hands on some gold statues. This makes it rife for the comedic, horrific, and farcical treatment; it has become the go-to format for fiction on television with the likes of The Office (UK and US) versions, Parks and Rec, People Just Do Nothing, and What We Do in the Shadows cluttering up the airwaves in the last decade. But it’s to the big screen we go for today’s recommendations as we pick some movies that looked at this noblest of cinema and laughed in its face.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
If you’re as insane a horror fan as us over at No But Listen, Behind the Mask is the perfect mockumentary horror. Taking aim at the slasher genre as a wannabe new horror icon allows some film students to chart his attempt at a rise to infamy, it’s witty and self-referential without forgetting to put an actual story in there, too. Nathan Maesel as the titular Vernon is a delightfully fun take on various versions of slasher iconography, and the final twist is genuinely pretty shocking.
Best in Show
Christopher Guest’s place as the godfather of mockumentary is so undeniable that I have been convinced for years now that Jordan Peterson is actually Guest’s attempt at performance art, such is his command on how ridiculous American culture (I know, Peterson is from Canada. Which is probably part of the joke). You can’t convince me otherwise. With Best in Show, Guest points this keen eye on the dog show industry, aided by frequent collaborators Eugene Levy, Jennifer Coolidge, Catherine O’Hara, and Michael Mckean, as various dog enthusiast trying to win the best dog, and it is fucking hilarious. A typical blend of Guest’s physical comedy and incisive satire, it makes the most of an extraordinary cast doing the silliest shit imaginable.
Mike Bassett – England Manager
They say that a week is a long time in football, but 21 years have passed since Mike Bassett: England Manager, and it hasn’t dulled its edge one little bit. Starring Ricky Tomlinson as the titular coach, the movie follows his unlikely rise from Norwich manager to the World Cup in Brazil. Everything that is ridiculous about football is there to see from pampered players, fans having better tactics than managers, and sports science centres, all of which feel even more relevant today as we come up to a new World Cup.
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By Kevin Boyle
(header image via Rotten Tomatoes)