Waiting for Guffman (1997)

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great cast with great improvising

Not for everyone

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Waiting for Guffman

Studio:  Castle Rock Entertainment

Genre(s):  Comedy

Release Date(s):  January 31, 1997

MPAA Rating:  R


We’re going to Broadway!!!

It’s Blaine’s sesquicentennial and it is celebrating. The local stage director Corky St. Clair (Christopher Guest) is planning a big celebration if he can get the funding. Gathering his cast, Corky’s assembled Blaine’s finest Dairy Queen worker Libby Mae Brown (Parker Posey), a folksy taxidermist Clifford Wooley (Lewis Arquette), cross-eyed dentist Dr. Allan Pearl (Eugene Levy), bad-boy Johnny Savage (Matt Keeslar), and travel agents (and Blaine celebrities) Ron and Sheila Albertson (Catherine O’Hara and Fred Willard). When the cast learns that a big Broadway producer has agreed to attend the performance, their dreams of success on the stage and on screen might finally come true.

Directed by Christopher Guest, Waiting for Guffman was a mockumentary art house release that received great reviews but a poor box office return. The movie went on to gain a cult following and helped spark other Christopher Guest films like Best in Show and A Mighty Wind (with many of the cast returning).


The saddest piece of chicken

I love Waiting for Guffman and I think it is probably my favorite film by Christopher Guest and his cohorts. It is a take on the Samuel Beckett play Waiting for Godot (in which two character sit waiting for a man named Godot…who never arrives). The movie is one of those movies that benefits from multiple viewings and if you’ve ever done anything with local theater or beginning actors, the movie is even better.

Waiting for Guffman is mostly improvised and that is why the movie works. You can watch individual characters and see little nuances in their performances that you can only pick up by seeing multiple viewings. Be it the relationships between the characters or the just background acting, the movie is full of great performances. In addition by great performances by the main cast, there are smaller performances by Bob Balaban, Brian Doyle-Murray, Michael Hitchock, Deborah Theaker, Larry Miller, David Cross, Don Lake, Linda Kash, and Paul Dooley…some of which appear in other Guest films.


Red, White, and Blaine!!!

Waiting for Guffman, actually makes me want to see Red, White and Blaine. It is a stage performance that I would go to if I could. As said in the movie, the songs are rather annoyingly catchy and rather well written for a joke. Be it “Stool Boom” or “Nothing Ever Happens on Mars”, you’ll remember the songs for their badness.

Waiting for Guffman is worth seeking out. If you’ve never seen it, it is quite funny and though it might be considered heresy, I enjoy it more than This is Spinal Tap. The mockumentary form has been played out a bit now, but this is one of the earlier outings. Guest followed up this film with Best in Show in 2000.

Related Links:

Best in Show (2000)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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