Best in Show (2000)

PG-13 | 90 mins | Satire | 27 September 2000

THIS TITLE IS OUTSIDE THE AFI CATALOG OF FEATURE FILMS (1893-1993)
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Director:

Christopher Guest

Producer:

Karen Murphy

Cinematographer:

Roberto Schaefer

Editor:

Robert Leighton

Production Designer:

Joseph T. Garrity

Production Company:

Castle Rock Entertainment
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Dog Show and Untitled Dogumentary . The opening and closing cast credits differ slightly in order. The end credits contain the following written disclaimer: “The B.C.S.P.C.A. and American Humane Association monitored animal action. No animal was harmed during the making of this film.” According to an Oct 2000 article in New York magazine, the film was originally shot on Super 16mm film and later blown up to 35mm for theatrical distribution. A Var Jun 2001 story noted that although Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy wrote a master plan for the script, most of the dialogue was improvised by the actors. A total of sixty hours of footage was shot, which was later trimmed to ninety minutes. The stories of the dog show contestants are cross-cut throughout the film. Guest, Levy, and actors Bob Balaban, Michael McKean, Fred Willard, Linda Kash and Parker Posey had previously collaborated on the 1997 film Waiting for Guffman . Guest and McKean also collaborated on the 1984 film This Is Spinal Tap . According to materials contained in the film’s production file at the AMPAS Library, Best in Show was filmed on location in Vancouver, B.C., and the Florida scenes were filmed in Los Angeles.
       Earlene Luke, a professional dog handler who served as the film’s technical advisor, taught the principal actors how to handle their dogs in the show ring. The dog show, which was filmed in a large auditorium filled with dog owners, handlers and audience extras, took five days to ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Dog Show and Untitled Dogumentary . The opening and closing cast credits differ slightly in order. The end credits contain the following written disclaimer: “The B.C.S.P.C.A. and American Humane Association monitored animal action. No animal was harmed during the making of this film.” According to an Oct 2000 article in New York magazine, the film was originally shot on Super 16mm film and later blown up to 35mm for theatrical distribution. A Var Jun 2001 story noted that although Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy wrote a master plan for the script, most of the dialogue was improvised by the actors. A total of sixty hours of footage was shot, which was later trimmed to ninety minutes. The stories of the dog show contestants are cross-cut throughout the film. Guest, Levy, and actors Bob Balaban, Michael McKean, Fred Willard, Linda Kash and Parker Posey had previously collaborated on the 1997 film Waiting for Guffman . Guest and McKean also collaborated on the 1984 film This Is Spinal Tap . According to materials contained in the film’s production file at the AMPAS Library, Best in Show was filmed on location in Vancouver, B.C., and the Florida scenes were filmed in Los Angeles.
       Earlene Luke, a professional dog handler who served as the film’s technical advisor, taught the principal actors how to handle their dogs in the show ring. The dog show, which was filmed in a large auditorium filled with dog owners, handlers and audience extras, took five days to shoot and was based on the annual Westminster Dog Show in New York. To assure the accuracy of the picture, Guest and producer Karen Murphy spent months attending and researching dog shows. The name of the Sitar player, Lord Haden-Guest, is the real title of Christopher Guest, who is a British peer. Best in Show had its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in Sep 2000 and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Picture, as well as being chosen as one of AFI's top ten films of the year. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
11 Sep 2000.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 1999.
p. 29.
Hollywood Reporter
15-21 Feb 2000.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 2000.
---
Los Angeles Times
27 Sep 2000.
---
New York Magazine
2 Oct 2000.
---
New York Times
24 Sep 2000.
---
New York Times
27 Sep 2000.
---
Newsweek
2 Oct 2000.
---
Variety
11 Sep 2000.
---
Variety
25 Sep 2000.
---
Variety
11 Jun 2001.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
in order of appearance:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
1st asst dir, Los Angeles crew
2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
3d asst dir
Addl 3d asst dir
1st asst dir, Los Angeles crew
2d asst dir, Los Angeles crew
2d asst dir, Los Angeles crew
2d 2d asst dir, Los Angeles crew
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam/loader
B cam op
Betacam op
Stills photog
Gaffer
Best boy lighting
Generator op
Lamp op
Lamp op
Key grip
Best boy grip
Rigging grip
Dolly grip
Philadelphia aerial footage provided by
AATON Cam/prod equipment provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Video asst
24-frame playback
Negative conformed by
Negative conformed by
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set dec, Los Angeles crew
Set dec buyer
Lead dresser
On-set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Prop master, Los Angeles crew
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Props buyer
Const coord
Const foreman
Lead hand
Lead hand
Scenic carpenter
Scenic carpenter
Scenic carpenter
Scenic carpenter
Lead laborer
Head painter
Lead painter
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic painter
Scenic painter
Tool maintenance
Head greensman
COSTUMES
Asst cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv, Los Angeles crew
Cost
Eugene Levy's shoes
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd mixer
Boom op
Dial/ADR ed
Dial ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
Sd asst
Sd transfers
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
ADR mixer
ADR rec
Mus mixer
Project coord/mus prep
Sd re-rec by
Mus ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Titles and opticals
Optical preprint mastering
MAKEUP
Key hair stylist
Hairstylist
Hair consultant, Los Angeles crew
Key makeup
1st asst makeup
Ms. Posey's and Mr. Hitchcock's orthodonics
Eugene Levy's prosthetic teeth
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Unit prod mgr, Los Angeles crew
Unit prod mgr, Los Angeles crew
Prod coord
Prod coord, Los Angeles crew
Prod coord, Los Angeles crew
Asst prod coord, Los Angeles crew
Co-prod coord
2d asst coord
Post prod supv
Post prod supv
Scr supv
Casting
Casting, Los Angeles crew
Casting assoc, Los Angeles crew
Casting asst
Extras casting
Extras casting asst
Extras casting asst
Extras casting, Los Angeles crew
Voice casting
Loc mgr
Loc mgr, Los Angeles crew
Loc mgr, Los Angeles crew
Asst loc mgr
LA prod liaison
Asst to Mr. Guest
Asst to Ms. Murphy
Asst to Mr. Guest and Ms. Murphy, Los Angeles crew
Asst to Mr. Vanston
Product promotions coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst, Los Angeles crew
Prod asst, Los Angeles crew
Prod asst, Los Angeles crew
Prod asst, Los Angeles crew
Animal wrangler
Dog show coord/consultant
Head trainer
Tech adv
B.C.S.P.C.A. coord
L.A. animal tech adv
U.S. Norwich Terrier coord
Ventriloquist puppet
Clearances
Unit pub
DGC trainee
Asst chef
First Aid/Craft service
Extras craft service
Security capt
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Accountant
Asst accountant
Payroll accountant
Payroll accountant
Post prod accountant
Accounting trainee
Film lab services provided by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Piano Seduction," written and performed by Paul Vanston
"March of the Mayflower" and "Mutt's Strutt," music by C. J. Vanston, performed by the Martini Brothers.
SONGS
"God Loves a Terrier" and "Terrier Style," words and music by Eugene Levy, performed by Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara
"Louisiana Nights," music and lyrics by Michael McKean and Christopher Guest, performed by Christopher Guest.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Dog Show
Unititled Dogumentary
Release Date:
27 September 2000
Premiere Information:
World premiere at the Toronto Film Festival: 8 September 2000
New York and Los Angeles opening: 27 September 2000
Production Date:
8 November 1999--late February 2000 in Vancouver, British Columbia and Los Angeles, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Castle Rock Entertainment
Copyright Date:
27 October 2000
Copyright Number:
PA0001039866
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby; SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound); Digital DTS Sound in selected theatres
Color
gauge
35mm
Lenses/Prints
prints by Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
37689
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Five days before the famed Mayflower Dog Show is to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, trendy dog owners Meg and Hamilton Swan take their neurotic Weimaraner Beatrice to psychiatrist Chuck Nelken to be treated for a state of depression triggered by Beatrice's witnessing her owners having sex. In Fern City, Florida, Cookie Fleck, a former waitress, and her good-natured yet oafish salesman husband Gerry serenade their beloved Norwich Terrier Winky while making plans to attend the dog show. At his fishing equipment shop in Pine Nut, North Carolina, Harlan Pepper readies his Bloodhound Hubert for the competition by holding a conversation with the dog in which Harlan voices Hubert’s thoughts through the use of ventriloquism. In New York City, Stefan Vanderhoof, the middle-aged proprietor of a hair salon, combs out his prized Shih Tzus, Miss Agnes and Tyrone, while recalling how he fell in love with his flamboyant young boyfriend, Scott Donlan, after watching Scott sashaying in the show ring where he proved to be “light on his feet.” At the Cabot mansion in Philadelphia, Sherri Ann Cabot, the nubile, collagen-lipped young wife of senile millionaire Leslie Ward Cabot gushes about the love of soup she shares with her elderly husband. Afterward, Sherri talks with dog handler Christy Cummings, who has trained the Cabot’s Standard Poodle Rhapsody in White, who is nicknamed “Butch.” The masculine-looking Christy explains that she provides Butch with discipline while Sherri offers unconditional love. Soon after, Meg and Hamilton fly with the high strung Beatrice to Philadelphia while Harlan loads Hubert into his recreational vehicle and Cookie, Winky and Gerry drive off in their van. ... +


Five days before the famed Mayflower Dog Show is to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, trendy dog owners Meg and Hamilton Swan take their neurotic Weimaraner Beatrice to psychiatrist Chuck Nelken to be treated for a state of depression triggered by Beatrice's witnessing her owners having sex. In Fern City, Florida, Cookie Fleck, a former waitress, and her good-natured yet oafish salesman husband Gerry serenade their beloved Norwich Terrier Winky while making plans to attend the dog show. At his fishing equipment shop in Pine Nut, North Carolina, Harlan Pepper readies his Bloodhound Hubert for the competition by holding a conversation with the dog in which Harlan voices Hubert’s thoughts through the use of ventriloquism. In New York City, Stefan Vanderhoof, the middle-aged proprietor of a hair salon, combs out his prized Shih Tzus, Miss Agnes and Tyrone, while recalling how he fell in love with his flamboyant young boyfriend, Scott Donlan, after watching Scott sashaying in the show ring where he proved to be “light on his feet.” At the Cabot mansion in Philadelphia, Sherri Ann Cabot, the nubile, collagen-lipped young wife of senile millionaire Leslie Ward Cabot gushes about the love of soup she shares with her elderly husband. Afterward, Sherri talks with dog handler Christy Cummings, who has trained the Cabot’s Standard Poodle Rhapsody in White, who is nicknamed “Butch.” The masculine-looking Christy explains that she provides Butch with discipline while Sherri offers unconditional love. Soon after, Meg and Hamilton fly with the high strung Beatrice to Philadelphia while Harlan loads Hubert into his recreational vehicle and Cookie, Winky and Gerry drive off in their van. Along the way, Cookie insists on stopping to visit Max Berman, an old acquaintance from her restaurant days. Much to Gerry’s chagrin, Max passionately embraces Cookie, then over dinner, recounts the sexual acrobatics he performed with her. Interspersed with reminiscences of his sexual conquests, Max provides a grisly description of his job as a hostage negotiator. When Max’s son Zach takes Winky hostage and climbs onto the garage roof with the dog, Max demonstrates his skill as a negotiator by threatening to disembowel the boy. Later as the contestants start to arrive at the Taft Hotel in Philadelphia, Scott takes it as an insult when hotel manager Mark Schaefer states that he has Scott and Stefan “down as a queen.” When Cookie and Max arrive at the hotel, they discover that their credit card has been rejected due to an unpaid bill, but Mark takes pity on them and offers them lodging in a utility closet. As they prepare for a welcoming party in the hotel lobby, Meg and Hamilton, who share a love of clothing catalogs, debate which monochromatic colors to wear that night. At the party, Cookie meets another dalliance from her waitress days while Harlan bores Meg and Hamilton with his description of fly fishing. When Scott introduces himself as “Mary” and shows off his flashy, embroidered pants, the gullible Gerry addresses him as Mary. Meanwhile, at the Cabot mansion party, an ice sculpture of Butch slowly melts as Sherri models her diamond tiara and the silent Leslie is rolled into the room in his wheelchair. Before going to bed that night, Scott and Stefan redecorate their hotel room and then phone Tyrone, who has remained at home, to sing him a lullaby. On the day of the show, Hamilton gives Beatrice a pep talk and then becomes hysterical when he realizes that the dog’s favorite toy, a rubber bee, has been left behind at the hotel. As the show begins, announcer Buck Laughlin provides a running commentary of lewd jokes and offensive remarks, much to the consternation of dog authority Trevor Beckwith. As Hubert wins the hound category, making him eligible to compete for “Best in Show,” Meg rushes back to the hotel to retrieve Beatrice’s bee. After failing to find it, she hurries to a toy store to find a replacement. Meanwhile, Scott prances around the ring with Agnes and is awarded first place in the toy dog category. Scott then hurries back to the hotel to change his clothes for the Best In Show competition. The terriers are next to compete, and Cookie and Gerry cheer Winky on with advice about maintaining a “happy attitude.” After Winky wins her class, Meg returns and tells Hamilton that she has failed to find a replacement bee, prompting him to scream at her and storm off. Later, when Hamilton marches Beatrice into the show ring, the dog attacks the judge and is dismissed in disgrace. After Butch wins her contest, Christy runs into the hallway and passionately kisses Sherri on the lips. Watching the proceedings on their hotel room television, Scott comments that Christy is “one happy fella.” While ushering Winky to the Best in Show competition, Cookie trips and injures her knee. It then falls to the inexperienced Gerry, who (literally) has two left feet, to act as Winky’s handler. When Winky is awarded Best in Show, Gerry is incredulous and Christy sulks. Six months later, Gerry and Cookie, now back home in Fern City, describe their victorious homecoming and their burgeoning career recording their terrier songs under the name of “The Captain and Cookie.” Christy and Sherri, meanwhile, have launched the publication of American Butch , a dog magazine geared to lesbian purebred owners. In Pine Nut, Harlan explains that after spending time reflecting at an Israeli kibbutz, he realized his fate was to become a master ventriloquist. Scott and Stefan have published a calendar picturing their dogs dressed as great lovers in the cinema, while Meg and Hamilton, who are back in therapy, tell Dr. Nelken that their marital problems were all caused by Beatrice, whom they have since replaced by a pug who enjoys watching them have sex. +

Legend
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Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.