American Movie
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Director Chris Smith made this documentary about independent filmmaking which had its world premiere at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. American Movie centers on a low-budget horror-film buff named Mark Borchardt, who grew up on such horror classics as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Night of the Living Dead. Now in his late twenties, he has decided to make the ultimate horror opus in the form of an indie feature entitled Northwestern, the scariest film ever made in his Wisconsin town. Filled with determination and passion (and very little else), this… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"With American Movie, director Chris Smith finds the heart of cinema in the unlikely environs of Milwaukee."
‑ Rob Nelson, City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul
"A warm and funny tribute to the passion for film as well as the drive and determination of dreamers in general."
‑ Michael Dequina,
"Smith takes care not to make fun of his subject, even though the temptation must have been there."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Documentary about a Wisconsin wanna-be filmmaker is funny, honest."
‑ James Rocchi, Netflix
"The hook of the film is that it presents the ragtag Borchardt, a cantankerous, often disagreeable sort with the kind of freshness missing from most documentaries."
‑ Jason Clark, Matinee Magazine
"much more fun than the actual short film"
‑ Stefan Birgir Stefansson,
"An inspiration for every dreamer with too many excuses. If this chowderhead can make his movie, you can realize your ambition, too."
‑ Martin Scribbs, Low IQ Canadian
"When a film feels this rooted and comfortable with itself, it's hard to assail its faults -- in this case, a steadfast refusal to handle its characters with anything other than heart-shaped kid gloves."
‑ Brent Simon, Entertainment Today
"...even losers can have dreams."
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Conveys the magic, the frustration, and the pressure of independent filmmaking."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"Despite some lulls in pacing, American Movie ends up an inspiring and very entertaining look at a true dreamer."
‑ Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International
"Despite Borchardt's scary self-conviction, I'm not sure we're so easily convinced he deserves to make movies--or be the star of this one."
‑ Thomas Delapa, Boulder Weekly
"Like Ed Wood, this is the story of a man with debatable talent who is so artistically driven that his raw enthusiasm keeps him afloat when finances and ability conspire against him."
‑ Jon Niccum,
"American Movie shows what it is to be an artist obsessed with creating."
‑ Jeffrey Westhoff, Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
"This hilarious, touching film is even more wonderful because it's real."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
More reviews for American Movie on Rotten Tomatoes

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