American Movie

Cast :

Mark Borchardt .... Filmmaker
Mike Schank .... Friend/Musician
Bill Borchardt .... Mark's Uncle/Executive Producer (as Uncle Bill)
Monica Borchardt .... Mark's Mom
Cliff Borchardt .... Mark's Dad
Chris Borchardt .... Mark's Brother
Alex Borchardt .... Mark's Brother
Ken Keen (II) .... Friend/Associate Producer
Joan Petrie .... Mark's Girlfriend/Associate Producer

Directors: Chris Smith (II) 

What is the essence of true human passion? This is a question that film makers have been trying to answer for decades.  Usually, the end result is a steamy passionate romance, or a desire and love between two people that is so strong, words are not necessary.  American Movie has succeeded where many others have failed; by realizing that true passion is defined by an emotion so intense that absorbs everything inside, and drives every action done.  It hits home with a reality that lulls its audience into a sense of complacency while reeling us towards a conclusion that is relatable to anyone who has ever had a dream.

There are thousands, if not millions of them in the world.  Their rooms are plastered with iconical shrines to their heroes.  George Romero, Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and more recently Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick (Blair Witch Project). American Movie taps into the source of what should drive the making of movie.  There should be a true love of the art that is cinema, combined with knowledge of how to translate that vision onto the screen.  Borchardt loves movies more than possibly anyone every portrayed on film.  He talks in technical terms that very few understand.  He gets frustrated at those who cannot comprehend his ideas.  Witness a scene where he mixing background sounds, while trying to explain to his daughter.  His passion is reflected in his reactions at her apparent ignorance and disdain. 

This is a man who will do anything to make this film.  He will cast his mother when no other friends are available.  He will utilize his Uncle Bill for financial support and sound bites.  He will pick a friend up from jail, just to expedite the production.  For all of these desires, Mark’s human aspects are depicted too.  He drinks too much (“staying up until 2 am calling Morocco while drunk on Peppermint Schnaps is not a way to utilize a budget”).  He is in debt above his means, and owes child support to an ex who is a constant source of strife.  For all of these hurdles, the process goes on.  He rides his cohorts, even berating them in fits of frustration, while attempting to make them see his vision, and absorb his passion. So many filmmakers, like Joel Schumacher, Jerry Bruckheimer, and more recently Brian DePalma, are given carte blanche on budgets, but cannot deliver any proof of money well spent.  If these studios gave this money to Borchardt, the result would be frighteningly powerful and no doubt entertaining.

Ultimately, American Movie is the antithesis of all that Hollywood is, and the vision of what it should be.  It is a film made by someone who knows how to recount a story, and a subject who has a true love and passion for his craft.  It is a cinematic rarity to capture pure emotion on film.  So often, Hollywood regurgitates predictable emotion to elicit reaction.  The true essence of humanity lies in its realism, the passion, despair and jubilation that fill the lives of most. American Movie is a perfect example of this essence.  The story of a man so driven by a dream that he has forsaken all else and focused his life towards the realization of this dream.  Everyday, an idea is born in the mind of a filmmaker.  Some even make it onto paper, while even fewer actually make it onto film.  The ones that do will usually head for the independent film heaven of Sundance, with visions of Clerks and Blair Witch dancing in their heads.  American Movie is the story of one film that completes the journey, both for the filmmaker and for its subject.  See this one, and support the making of more films by Smith and Borchardt.  The world will be a much better place, and the cinema, a more entertaining reflection of life. ($$$ out of $$$$)

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