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American Movie — Could This Have Been Me? August 7, 2009

Posted by patrick.klepek in movies.
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Rarely do you watch a story and think to yourself, “if things had gone a tad different, that could have been me.”

I found myself deeply sympathizing with the focus of American Movie, a 1999 documentary chronicling the creation of a homegrown horror movie called Coven by would-be Milwaukee suburban filmmaker Mark Borchardt. Even though Borchardt is a consummate drunk whose life priorities are a sloppy mess, the PRB-fueled man with a camera has such passion to make the movie of his dreams.

Man, I can relate. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wanted to sit down and write a movie script, whether something as banal as Puppet Master or Hellraiser sequels (my very own, “man, I know I can do better than that moments” that I’ve never executed on) or executing on a short story based on pages and pages of scribbled notes during boring college courses. Like most, however, I’ve never followed through.

Borchardt followed through, usually to a fault. In spite of the notable consequences — rising debt, ignored personal relationships, questionable parenting — it was motivation I can’t help but respect. It’s what makes American Movie such a touching two hour drama, what stirred me to feel as though, in a different world, I could have been Borchardt.

Ironically, my tastes do not linger long past Borchardt’s own. Borchardt loves violent movies with a fervor he can’t explain to anyone, even the people (mostly his family), financing his endeavors. I’m cut from the same cloth, a person with a self-admittedly peculiar interest in, well, seeing death portrayed on film. The reasons I enjoy constant absorption of such macabre content is a discussion left for another day.

Even though I’m not Borchardt, at least the PBR part can become our common bond. And death. And film. And hope.

(These are cross-posts from my Tumblr blog, which I mainly use for my own personal writing.)

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