Video Picks Archive

July 27, 2001
This Week's Video Picks
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Reviews by Matt Heffernan <>

This week my picks are Pollock (2001 - ) and Waiting for Guffman (1996 - ).

The first film this week is the acclaimed directorial debut of Ed Harris, who has long been a highly admired actor. At the suggestion of his father, Harris took on the task of adapting Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith's biography of Jackson Pollock, a revolutionary painter who was the most significant American abstract expressionist of the 20th century. His life seemed tailor-made for a biopic, and Harris' uncanny resemblance of the artist (the reason for his father's suggestion) makes Pollock a truly special film. Harris turns in one of the best performances of his career while showing a definite skill for filmmaking, but it was Marcia Gay Harden who walked away with an Oscar for playing Pollock's wife (and a great artist in her own right) Lee Krasner.
Full review from March 8, 2001

Other actor/directors have not been so brave as to direct themselves as famous artists. Christopher Guest decided for his second film as a director (as well as the second pick this week) and his first time directing himself to go with a fictional artist -- and a bad one, at that. In Waiting for Guffman, Guest plays Corky St. Clair, the fey director and choreographer of a small-town community theatre. He receives news that his latest original work, to be debuted by the local "talent" (Eugene Levy, Parker Posey, Catherine O'Hara, and Fred Willard), will be reviewed by Mr. Guffman, a famous Broadway critic. The film is presented as a documentary, in the style of This Is Spinal Tap, showing the process of auditioning, rehearsing, and ultimately performing the play. This is a must-see not only for fans of Guest and Spinal Tap, but for anybody that has been involved with community theatre. But even an improv-hating philistine is sure to enjoy this film, which should act as a refreshing dessert after the dark tragedy of Pollock.

For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
Pollock (2000)
Waiting for Guffman (1996)

Here's some merchandise for sale at
Pollock (2000) -- VHS
Pollock (2000) -- DVD
Jackson Pollock: An American Saga, by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith -- Paperback
Pollock: Soundtrack -- Compact Disc
Waiting for Guffman (1996) -- VHS
Waiting for Guffman (1996) -- DVD Home
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