7.9/10
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147 user 68 critic

American Movie (1999)

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0:31 | Trailer
Documentary about an aspiring filmmaker's attempts to finance his dream project by finally completing the low-budget horror film he abandoned years before.

Director:

Chris Smith
6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Borchardt ... Filmmaker
Tom Schimmels Tom Schimmels ... Actor in 'Coven'
Monica Borchardt Monica Borchardt ... Mark's Mom
Alex Borchardt Alex Borchardt ... Mark's Brother
Chris Borchardt Chris Borchardt ... Mark's Brother
Ken Keen Ken Keen ... Friend / Associate Producer
Mike Schank Mike Schank ... Friend / Musician
Matt Weisman Matt Weisman ... Casting director
Bill Borchardt Bill Borchardt ... Mark's Uncle / Executive Producer (as Uncle Bill)
Cliff Borchardt Cliff Borchardt ... Mark's Dad
Tom Beach Tom Beach ... Production manager
Joan Petrie Joan Petrie ... Mark's Girlfriend / Associate Producer
Robert Richard Jorge Robert Richard Jorge ... Actor
Dean Allen Dean Allen ... Props / Special effects
Tommy Dallace Tommy Dallace ... The Movie Star
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Storyline

On the northwest side of Milwaukee, Mark Borchardt dreams the American dream: for him, it's making movies. Using relatives, local theater talent, slacker friends, his Mastercard, and $3,000 from his Uncle Bill, Mark strives over three years to finish "Coven," a short horror film. His own personal demons (alcohol, gambling, a dysfunctional family) plague him, but he desperately wants to overcome self-doubt and avoid failure. In moments of reflection, Mark sees his story as quintessentially American, and its the nature and nuance of his dream that this film explores. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 April 2000 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

American Movie: The Making of Northwestern See more »

Filming Locations:

Germantown, Wisconsin, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,260, 7 November 1999

Gross USA:

$1,165,795

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,165,795
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mark Borchardt says the word "man" 151 times. See more »

Quotes

Friend/Musician: [pointing to a makeshift crucifix] This is definitely a sign of voodoo.
Mark Borchardt: Why is it a sign of voodoo?
Friend/Musician: It's an unnatural cross, Mark!
Mark Borchardt: What, you think when Jesus was hanging there, he thought it was natural?
See more »

Connections

References Return of the Living Dead II (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Dee
Written by Randy Rhoads (as Randy Rhodes)
Performed by Mike Schank
used by permission of Essex Music/The Richmond Organization
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A great film
17 November 1999 | by Jared XSee all my reviews

Okay, so I'm a sucker for a good documentary, particularly where it tells a modern-day Don Quixote story. A caveat: I met Mark Borchardt in the winter of 1995/96 while he was still working on Coven. But I'll save that story for later. American Movie, which commenced production not long after, accurately portrays the person that I knew, although in greater depth than I expected or believed existed. This is simultaneously a very funny and very sad film, and is brilliantly executed. Mark comes across as his own worse enemy: his childlike ambition and optimism -- which I admire -- is undermined by his apparent artistic ineptitude as well as his bizarre fiscal expectations. But he's also a charismatic guy. His loyal Sancho Panza sidekick is equally likeable: loyal, if frazzled, to the core. Like Don Quixote, American Movie presents an often-ignored inefficient aspect of freedom -- that people will be drawn toward professions to which they are not particularly well-suited, irrespective of repeated failure. It is a great film.


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