Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

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Movie Review

Breezy fun, especially for fans

Published May 12, 2003

Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara
[Photo: Warner Bros.]
Catherine O’Hara, right, and Eugene Levy, who also co-wrote the script with Christopher Guest, play members of a 1960s folk music act in A Mighty Wind.

Movie: A Mighty Wind

Rating: PG-13

Summary: After the death of the most influential folk music producer of all time, his obsessive/compulsive son, Jonathan Steinbloom (Bob Balaban), organizes a tribute/reunion concert featuring the three most prominent folk groups of that era, the early '60s. The film chronicles the story of the bumpy re-entry into the music world for each of these three now outdated groups.

My View: This satire of the world of folk music comes from those magical people who brought us Waiting for Guffman (1996), and that comedic diamond, Best in Show (2000). Christopher Guest, who plays a lead role as the happy-go-lucky banjo player in the fictitious trio, the Folksmen, and Eugene Levy, who plays Mitch, half of a folk music duo, are the writing masterminds behind it. Because Best in Show was so extravagantly entertaining, I could not help but make constant comparisons between the two films, and A Mighty Wind is not quite up to par with its predecessor. The cast is essentially a reunion of Best in Show, with a few necessary add-ins. In addition to Levy and Guest, the ensemble includes Michael McKean, Ed Begley Jr., Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Jennifer Coolidge and Fred Willard (who was especially hilarious), and they are all gems! The humor is dry and spontaneous. The laughs were there, though not as abundant as in the previous effort. It's very silly and you can't help but laugh out loud. This is no Academy Award candidate, but hey, good laughs are good laughs any way you get them.

Recommendations: Limited appeal will be an issue for this film. If you saw Best in Show, you're probably already planning to see this one, but I can't see the trailers for this movie drawing diverse audiences. They're likely to attract more people who actually listened to the early '60s folk music than teenagers, but if you are a Christopher Guest fan, you will enjoy it.

Grade: C+

- Billy Norris, 15, is in the ninth grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times' X-Team.

[Last modified May 9, 2003, 12:57:45]

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