Sunday Feature-Week 4: American Movie (1999)

Title: American Movie

Tone: Hysterical, heartfelt, down & out documentary


Director-Chris Smith

Cast- Mark Borchardt, Mike Schank.

When: 1999

What: Mark Borchardt, a down on his luck high school dropout, fervidly attempts to script, film, and screen his independent horror film Coven. Mark’s entire haphazard film-making process is documented from script to screen along with a multitude of trials and tribulations throughout the way.


  • Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival and listed as one of the 20 greatest documentaries of all time by the International Documentary Association, American Movie stands as one of the most unique, entertaining, and endlessly quotable documentaries ever made.
  • American Movie is a great example of how truth can not only be stranger than fiction, but also more dramatic and heartfelt than any script Hollywood could conjure up.
  • Although Smith’s subjects are at times laughable, he never holds them up to ridicule; documenting them with kindness and compassion.
  • Most importantly, American Movie is about hitting the lowest of low points in your life, gathering the pieces, and patching yourself back together. A subject that most everyone can relate to, hitting rock bottom and gaining your second wind, American Movie keeps up with that new year spirit of resolutions, second chances, and new beginnings.


Note:Best version of the trailer I could come by as I was unable to upload it myself.


~ by cinematte on January 24, 2010.

2 Responses to “Sunday Feature-Week 4: American Movie (1999)”

  1. This is probably my second favorite film ever. Real, funny, irreverent, philosophical, down to earth, sad, and wonderful all at the same time.

    Love it love it love it.

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