****/**** Image A- Sound B Extras A
directed by Chris Smith
by Bill Chambers You can imagine, as a virgin does sex, what it's like to make a movie, but until you do it, you'll never really know. In film school, I directed a couple of shorts--nothing you've seen, but that's beside the point: American Movie reminded me of why I hate making movies and why I miss it all the same. For me, watching this picture was a religious experience: Our (debatable) class differences notwithstanding, I don't know that I've ever identified with a screen character more than I did real-life struggling hyphenate Mark Borchardt. For non-directors, American Movie offers plenty of Fargo-style behavioral laughs, and it may kick-start the realization of your own elusive goals. This precious ode to fringe filmmaking pulls off the amazing feat of being accessible and specialized at once.