Best Mockumentaries of All Time

Best Mockumentaries of All Time

Can The Lonely Island's upcoming movie, "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping" compete?

The Lonely Island have, a decade after their debut on Saturday Night Life, mastered the art of parody. Vacillating between broad swipes at pop culture and absurdist comedy, their music videos have nearly singularly defined the age of the viral video. Now, they're taking their multifaceted talents to the silver screen in "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping," a mockumentary with a promising trailer. Time (and A.O. Scott) will only tell if this is a landmark comedy of megalithic proportions or just another overhyped and overinflated disaster resting on the laurels of the ensemble cast's previous efforts.

Like this one.

The film, however, has a lot going for it. Starring Andy Samberg with an impressive supporting cast that includes various SNL alum and music superstars, it has not only the inane and irreverent world of modern pop superstardom from which to mine comedy, but documentaries as well. The mockumentary genre has given the world some of the most ingenious satires in recent memory, and if the film manages to put its stellar cast to good use and strike at the heart of the vapid world of modern fame, it could join the ranks of these greatest mockumentaries of all time.

1. "Take the Money and Run" (1969).

After the whole married-his-stepdaughter thing, people tend to forget that Woody Allen was, a long time ago, an incredibly gifted comedian. "Take the Money and Run" proves that in spades. One of Allen's earliest directorial efforts, it details the life of Virgil Starkwell -- a hapless, luckless criminal whose criminal career is more hilarious than it is threatening, such as when the gun he carves from soap melts in the rain and his awful handwriting in a bank robbery leads to his arrest ("That looks like 'gub', that doesn't look like 'gun'). This film is a rare example of a pioneering piece of work (in this case, the mockumentary genre) that still stands as one of, if not the greatest of all time.

2. "This Is Spinal Tap" (1984).

Not the first mockumentary, but without a doubt the best, "This Is Spinal Tap" documents the rise and fall and rise of British heavy metal band, Spinal Tap. It is a riotously funny movie, one that mercilessly mocks the fast-paced-yet-asinine music industry with an unparalleled grace. From detailing the series of inexplicable drummer deaths (spontaneous combustion, a freak gardening accident, choking on someone else's vomit) to the send-off of Yoko Ono in the form of character Jeanine, it is an unrivaled classic, one that set the bar far too high, far too early.

3. "Waiting for Guffman" (1996).

A group of local, eccentric townspeople, with the help of lunatic director Corky St. Clair, put on "Red, White, and Blaine", a musical commemorating the 150th anniversary of the founding of Blaine, Missouri. The ensemble cast, including Christopher Guest, Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard, and Eugene Levy, is phenomenal, and, with much of the dialogue being improvised by this stellar group, it gives "Waiting" a unique wit all its own. Christopher Guest -- the man behind "Spinal Tap" -- co-wrote, directed, and starred in this masterpiece, cementing his legacy as the King of Mockumentaries.

4. "Jackie's Back" (1999).

A largely ignored diamond-in-the-rough, "Jackie's Back" follows the forgotten and fictitious R&B diva Jackie Washington as she tries to make a comeback. The only hitch in her plan is that everyone, from her family to her colleagues to her ex-husbands, hates her, and with good reason. Dolly Parton, Chris Rock, Charles Barkley, Bette Midler, Whoopi Goldberg (as her extremely bitter sister) and a dozen other stars are all interviewed about their horrible, hilarious experiences with Jackie. Thankfully, because it's a made-for-TV movie, and a criminally unknown one, it's on YouTube in its entirety.

5. "Borat" (2006).

Before we all got sick and tired of our friends endlessly quoting it and of seeing memes of Sacha Baron Cohen's nauseating green leotard/speedo, Borat was a riotously funny movie. I shouldn't have to explain the premise behind this one; a Kazakh man named Borat tours America (meeting with real people who truly believe SBC to be an immigrant) to gain an understanding of our culture. This film (and yes, it deserves to be called a film) is a milestone of filmdom for the new millennium. It nearly, singlehandedly, elevated toilet humor to a true art form and though I might gag if I hear another quote from it ever again, was a genius piece of mockumentary filmmaking. It's just too bad Cohen had to follow it up with "Brüno."

"Popstar: Never Stop Stopping" (2016).

This looks like it has potential, but as we've seen from so many of our beloved SNL alumni (everyone who starred in "Grown Ups" -- shame on you all), a large ensemble cast can sometimes spell disaster. But despite my apparent cynicism, I have faith in The Lonely Island and can't wait to see what they manage to do with the vast, vast swath of comedy material in their capable hands.

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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