7 mockumentaries you can sink your fangs — er, teeth — into
There’s no denying the importance of real documentary work, but sometimes we just want to blur the line between reality and fiction, play with tropes and expectations. And nothing does that quite like mocumentaries.
Of course, we can’t talk mocumentaries without VAMPIRES (airing , about the home life of a vampire family. For everyone who’s so tired of paranormal romance they could scream, don’t worry — no sparkles and swooning here. Instead, it’s a tangy exploration of life on the undead side of the tracks.
THIS IS SPINAL TAP
We must pay homage to what many think of as the finest example of the genre. It’s a fantastic send-up of overblown rock documentaries and musician stereotypes everywhere, and really, who can forget the cucumber scene? If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re in for a treat, and you’re going to understand a lot more cultural references than you did before.
DEATH OF A PRESIDENT
On the opposite end of the spectrum, DEATH OF A PRESIDENT is deadly serious, and deadly provocative. Released in 2006, it imagined a world where then-President George Bush had been assassinated, and asked how the United States, and the world, might have responded to such an event. It’s a tense and uncomfortable watch, but stunningly well-executed.
BEST IN SHOW
Another Christopher Guest movie? Well, yes, but this is one of our favorites of all time, period, so of course it’s going on this list! With a delightfully quirky star-studded cast, and the antics of these dogs (and their owners) provide a light-hearted swipe at the world of professional showing.
A DAY WITHOUT A MEXICAN
A parody with political bite, A DAY WITHOUT A MEXICAN takes viewers to a California where all the Mexicans have vanished. It proved to be a hit in Mexico but not so much so in the United States; apparently it hit a little too close to home for U.S. viewers. If you dare, and you’re up for some in-jokes, check it out. It’s both funny and insightful — but you may need a warped sense of humor to appreciate it!
THANK YOU FOR SMOKING
Some people debate whether this Sundance alum really counts as a mocumentary, and it does straddle a line with its confessional style and approach. The film follows a tobacco spokesman, Nick Taylor, as he experiences a crisis of conscience in the line of duty. It’s sharp, funny and also bittersweet.
And what of the Joaquin Phoenix-Casey Affleck endeavor I’M STILL HERE? We’re not even going there…
Photo credit: VAMPIRES