When I first saw American Movie, I was working at a vintage clothing store and blithely guzzling vodka sodas until four in the morning; I had recently graduated from college and had plenty of time to land myself in a 30 Under 30 list or apply to graduate school. There were no failures yet, only promise.
Smith’s film evokes the slacker-cum-loser aesthetic so wedded to the period, but American Movie occupies a space of spiritual resonance deeper than its period aesthetic.
It’s no wonder that the story of Don Quixote is so eternally alluring to filmmakers. What could be more relatable than a man who expends all his worldly energy willing his self-contained reality into existence?