"Best In Show" Talkback (Spoilers)

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Best In Show

The first time I saw this years ago was a great experience. I wish I could say it was repeated. Only SOME of it is great. I'll tell you why I probably liked it more the first time.

The truth is the first half of the film is outright awful. But once Fred Willard as Buck Laughlin appears you forgot that fact entirely. I had such pleasant memories because of Fred Willard's role of lifetime. But the truth is the preparation for the dog show (and sadly the epilogue) mostly sucks. It's basically a showcase for nothing but pathetic and broken people. I never like either Gerry or Harland before, but those guys are even bigger creeps and losers than I remember. Only perhaps Stefan and Scott have a relatively healthy relationship.

This film not only made me love Fred Willard back in the day. It made me loathe Parker Posey. In every role I've seen her in since I picture Meg screaming in her ugly adult braces. Her and Hamilton's failures as dog owners are nothing compared to their failures as human beings. Really the end moral for them is that their dog Beatrice was toxic, and had a negative energy? In reality, Beatrice was just mirroring her disgusting owners.

Best Buck line remains "How much do you think I could bench-press?" I don't know if Willard ad-libbed that or not, but it's magnificent. Still. They should have carved it on Willard's grave.

The whole thing with Cookie and her ex-boyfriends wasn't merely unfunny. I found it sort of cruel to not just Gerry, but her character too. I don't like the fact that Cookie's most notable comedic facet is that she's a skank. And I dislike that more in 2022 than I did when I first saw this.

I am unsure of what to make of Sherri Ann and Christy hooking up. My favorite part of it was Stefan and Scott's reaction to seeing it on television, but despite it being somewhat passionate in the moment, I feel like in the Epilogue Sherri feels about as passionate towards Christy as the old dude she was gold-digging. "Likewise I'm sure," is funny, but said entirely without conviction.

Take note kids: Jane Lynch did not always play mean girls. I thought Christy saying not winning was disturbing was plenty obnoxious (as was her bringing up her mother's suicide as an afterthought) but Lynch is basically the sexy lesbian in the film, and not the mean-spirit shrew she is on Glee and Weakest Link. That wasn't always her shtick, and Glee got her typecast, which I think is a shame.

This was a great dog show hosted by Fred Willard in between long ass scenes of depressed and depressing people. I have to knock off a star and half from my final grade because my memory played some tricks on me. Buck is NOT the entire film. It would get five stars if he was. ***1/2.
 

Classic Speedy

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I didn't think the early scenes were that depressing, but yeah there's always an overtone of pathetic-ness to the characters in Christopher Guest's mockumentaries (and by extension, their precursor, Rob Reiner's Spinal Tap). Plus, there is still some amusing stuff in those early scenes, like Harlan and his love of nuts (yes, I know how that looks typing it out).

That said, you're right that things really pick up steam once they get to the hotel (I love the scene when Cookie and Gerry are unable to pay and have to sleep in the supply closet) and especially the dog show itself. And yeah, Buck is easily the highlight of the film. It's one of those things that I wish existed in real life; if I watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for example, I think "You know what would liven this up? One of the commentators making dumbass comments."

Fone Bone said:
The whole thing with Cookie and her ex-boyfriends wasn't merely unfunny. I found it sort of cruel to not just Gerry, but her character too. I don't like the fact that Cookie's most notable comedic facet is that she's a skank. And I dislike that more in 2022 than I did when I first saw this.
One bright side to these scenes though: Larry Miller.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Messages
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I didn't think the early scenes were that depressing, but yeah there's always an overtone of pathetic-ness to the characters in Christopher Guest's mockumentaries (and by extension, their precursor, Rob Reiner's Spinal Tap). Plus, there is still some amusing stuff in those early scenes, like Harlan and his love of nuts (yes, I know how that looks typing it out).

That said, you're right that things really pick up steam once they get to the hotel (I love the scene when Cookie and Gerry are unable to pay and have to sleep in the supply closet) and especially the dog show itself. And yeah, Buck is easily the highlight of the film. It's one of those things that I wish existed in real life; if I watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for example, I think "You know what would liven this up? One of the commentators making dumbass comments."
They don't have that already? They are missing out.
One bright side to these scenes though: Larry Miller.
I can't stand Larry Miller in this film. His mouth kiss with Cookie was revolting and his attitude toward his job of talking down jumpers was outright disgusting.
 

Classic Speedy

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I think you're misunderstanding my comment, and to be fair it's my fault because I didn't explain it. He IS a thoroughly detestable character. But that's what makes him so brilliantly played by Larry Miller, when a bit part like that can inspire such reactions. One can like what an actor does with what's basically a nothing role and still find the character unlikable.

There's also some darkly humorous stuff in that scene- like why would this guy be talking about a talk-down attempt gone wrong during dinner, and in such detail? (because he's a sleazeball)
 

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