For Your Consideration (2006)

Rated PG-13. Our ratings: V- 3; L-0; S/N-1. Running time: 1 hour 26 min.

The simple believe everything,
but the clever consider their steps.
The wise are cautious and turn away from evil,
but the fool throws off restraint and is careless.
Proverbs 14:15-16

For Your Consideration

Christopher Guest and his co-writer Eugene Levy move from the small-time theater world of Waiting For Guffman to the big time world of Hollywood in their newest film. Staged as a fictional story, rather than as a mock documentary, the film spoofs the actions of a group of actors and filmmakers who cherish Oscar dreams for a while. Although the kidding is gentle with this group, the satire is sharper when the focus is on the media hacks who feed off the movie industry through their newscasts and Entertainment Tonight-like shows.

Marilyn Hack (Catherine O’Hara) is playing the dying matriarch of a WW 2 Jewish-American family in a sudsy independent film entitled Home for Purim. (Interesting that this film should come out at the same time as that of the film relating the story of the origin of Purim, One Night With the King.) When she is told that an internet movie blogger who has visited the set has written that Oscar buzz is surrounding her performance, she shares this with others, resulting in a change of attitude—her own and that of the cast toward her. Local newscasters and then hosts of an Entertainment Tonight-like show pick up on this, so that soon all of Hollywood is interested in her and her low budget feature. Then one of her co-stars Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer), best known as a hot dog pitchman in TV commercials (he is featured dressed up in a big wiener suit!) also becomes mentioned as a possible Oscar candidate, soon to be followed by rumors of ingénue Callie Webb (Parker Posey) also being nominated.

The cast is all agog, able to think of little else, and then “the suits” come in. While Home for Purim was just a low budget feature, they were content to let ditsy producer Whitney Taylor Brown (Jennifer Coolidge) deal with the production. However, now that the film is the talk of the town, they come to the set and suggest “ a few tiny changes” to the script, including a change of title so as to make the film appeal to the widest possible audience. How all this turns out makes for rib-tickling viewing. The barbs hit their mark, especially when kidding the outer fringes of Hollywood, the various talk and entertainment shows that are so popular. If you liked Christopher Guest’s earlier films, you should enjoy this one. He has a small part as Jay Berman (Christopher Guest), the film’s director. His ensemble cast—and we have mentioned but a few of them—continue to work perfectly together, not just inviting us to laugh at their pretensions and impossible dreams, but also to sympathize and accept them because they are so much like ourselves.

For Reflection/Discussion

1) How does the film bear out the theory that humor results from the gap between one’s ability or station in life and reality? How talented really are the cast members? Have you had similar impossible dreams, only to realize this much later in your life?

2) What do you think of the two hosts on the entertainment show? Tune in to one of several such shows and listen to the talk: how much of it is vacuous and self-serving or heartfelt?

3) How does the scene with “the suits” depict the insidious way in which Hollywood powers that be can spoil a work? Compare this with such films as The Player or Barton Fink.

4) How might the following passage apply to “the suits”?

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life.

Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.

Proverbs 4:23-24 For Your Consideration Rated PG-13. Our ratings: V- 3; L-0; S/N-1. Running time: 1 hour 26 min.

The simple believe everything, but the clever consider their steps.

The wise are cautious and turn away from evil, but the fool throws off restraint and is careless.

Proverbs 14:15-16

Christopher Guest and his co-writer Eugene Levy move from the small-time theater world of Waiting For Guffman to the big time world of Hollywood in their newest film. Staged as a fictional story, rather than as a mock documentary, the film spoofs the actions of a group of actors and filmmakers who cherish Oscar dreams for a while. Although the kidding is gentle with this group, the satire is sharper when the focus is on the media hacks who feed off the movie industry through their newscasts and Entertainment Tonight-like shows.

Marilyn Hack (Catherine O’Hara) is playing the dying matriarch of a WW 2 Jewish-American family in a sudsy independent film entitled Home for Purim. (Interesting that this film should come out at the same time as that of the film relating the story of the origin of Purim, One Night With the King.) When she is told that an internet movie blogger who has visited the set has written that Oscar buzz is surrounding her performance, she shares this with others, resulting in a change of attitude—her own and that of the cast toward her. Local newscasters and then hosts of an Entertainment Tonight-like show pick up on this, so that soon all of Hollywood is interested in her and her low budget feature. Then one of her co-stars Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer), best known as a hot dog pitchman in TV commercials (he is featured dressed up in a big wiener suit!) also becomes mentioned as a possible Oscar candidate, soon to be followed by rumors of ingénue Callie Webb (Parker Posey) also being nominated.

The cast is all agog, able to think of little else, and then “the suits” come in. While Home for Purim was just a low budget feature, they were content to let ditsy producer Whitney Taylor Brown (Jennifer Coolidge) deal with the production. However, now that the film is the talk of the town, they come to the set and suggest “ a few tiny changes” to the script, including a change of title so as to make the film appeal to the widest possible audience. How all this turns out makes for rib-tickling viewing. The barbs hit their mark, especially when kidding the outer fringes of Hollywood, the various talk and entertainment shows that are so popular. If you liked Christopher Guest’s earlier films, you should enjoy this one. He has a small part as Jay Berman (Christopher Guest), the film’s director. His ensemble cast—and we have mentioned but a few of them—continue to work perfectly together, not just inviting us to laugh at their pretensions and impossible dreams, but also to sympathize and accept them because they are so much like ourselves.

For Reflection/Discussion

1) How does the film bear out the theory that humor results from the gap between one’s ability or station in life and reality? How talented really are the cast members? Have you had similar impossible dreams, only to realize this much later in your life?

2) What do you think of the two hosts on the entertainment show? Tune in to one of several such shows and listen to the talk: how much of it is vacuous and self-serving or heartfelt?

3) How does the scene with “the suits” depict the insidious way in which Hollywood powers that be can spoil a work? Compare this with such films as The Player or Barton Fink.

4) How might the following passage apply to “the suits”?

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life.

Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.

Proverbs 4:23-24