Best in Show


1h 30m 2000
Best in Show

Brief Synopsis

Eccentric contestants prepare to compete in a national dog show.

Film Details

Also Known As
Dog Show, Unititled Dogumentary
MPAA Rating
PG-13
Genre
Comedy
Release Date
Sep 27, 2000
Premiere Information
World premiere at the Toronto Film Festival: 8 Sep 2000; New York and Los Angeles opening: 27 Sep 2000
Production Company
Castle Rock Entertainment
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles, California, United States; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m

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. 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.

Cast

Jay Brazeau

Dr. Chuck Nelken

Parker Posey

Meg Swan

Michael Hitchcock

Hamilton Swan

Catherine O'hara

Cookie Fleck

Eugene Levy

Gerry Fleck

Carrie Aizley

Fern City Show spectator

Lewis Arquette

Fern City Show spectator

Dany Canino

Fern City Show judge

Bob Balaban

Dr. Theodore W. Millbank, III

Will Sasso

Fishin' Hole guy

Stephen E. Miller

Fishin' Hole guy

Christopher Guest

Harlan Pepper

Michael Mckean

Stefan Vanderhoof

John Michael Higgins

Scott Donlan

Colin Cunningham

New York butcher

Jehshua Barnes

Scott's wild date

Patrick Cranshaw

Leslie Wardrobe Cabot

Jennifer Coolidge

Sherri Ann Cabot

Don Lake

Graham Chissolm

Scott Williamson

Winky's party guest

Deborah Theaker

Winky's party guest

Rachael Harris

Winky's party guest

Jane Lynch

Christy Cummings

Fulvio Cecere

Airport passerby

Linda Kash

Fay Berman

Larry Miller

Max Berman

Ed Begley Jr.

Hotel manager [Mark Schaefer]

Cody Gregg

Zach Berman

Teryl Rothery

Philly AM host

Tony Alcantar

Philly AM chef

Camille Sullivan

Philly AM assistant

Dave Cameron

Philly AM host

Lynda Boyd

Cabot party guest

Madeleine Kipling

Cabot party guest

Merrilyn Gann

Cabot party guest

Andrew Johnston

Cabot party guest

Malcolm Stewart

Malcolm

Jay-lyn Green

Leslie's nurse

Fred Willard

Buck Laughlin

Jim Piddock

Trevor Beckwith

Carmen Aguirre

Taft hotel maid

Harold Pybus

Mayflower Toy judge

Hiro Kanagawa

Pet shop owner

Cleo A. Laxton

Mayflower Terrier judge

Corrine Koslo

Mayflower Sporting judge

Andrew Wheeler

Mayflower ring steward

Don Emslie

Mayflower Non-Sporting judge

Don S. Davis

Mayflower Best in Show judge

Steven Porter

Bulge

Melanie Angel

American Bitch photo editor

Doane Gregory

Terry the photographer

Can. Ch. Arokat's Echobar Take Me Dancing

"Beatrice" the Weimaraner

Can. Ch. Urchin's Bryllo

"Winky" the Norwich Terrier

Ch. Quiet Creek's Stand By Me

"Hubert" the Bloodhound

Can. Ch. Rapture's Classic

"Miss Agnes" the Shih Tzu

Can. Ch. Symarun's Red Hot Kisses

"Tyrone" the Shih Tzu

Brocade Exclamation

"Rhapsody in White" the Standard Poodle

Can. Ch. Exxel Dezi Duz It With Pizaz

"Rhapsody in White" the Standard Poodle

Paul Vanston

Cocktail piano player

Crew

Stuart Aikins

Casting

David Alexander

Stunt Coordinator

Ken W. Anderson

Lamp op

Jill Anthony

Casting, Los Angeles crew

Dave Auge

Prod Assistant, Los Angeles crew

Jim Barley

Driver

Robert Bauer

LA prod liaison

Derrick Beckles

Clearances

Jim Behnke

Unit prod Manager, Los Angeles crew

Karin L. Behrenz

Production Assistant

Anji Bemben

Key hair stylist

Jenny Bernice

Costumes

Stewart Bethune

Production Manager

Gregg Bissonette

Drums

Marina Black

Prod Assistant, Los Angeles crew

Ron Blenkarn

Driver

Donna Bloom

Unit prod Manager, Los Angeles crew

J. Alan Bloore D.d.s., M.s.

Ms. Posey's and Mr. Hitchcock's orthodonics

Rick Bold

Boom Operator

Lori Bolton

Loc Manager, Los Angeles crew

Fernand Bos

Music Editor

Bob Boulet

Scenic artist

Ray Boyle

Lamp op

Chris Bradford

Security capt

Denis Brock

Gaffer

Ken Brooker

Production Assistant

Nancy Brown

Art Department Assistant

Rich Brown

Payroll accountant

J. Stephen Buck

1st Assistant Director, Los Angeles crew

Val Burnley

Loc Manager, Los Angeles crew

Thomas R. Cahill

Props master, Los Angeles crew

Dany Canino

L.A. animal tech adv

Central Casting

Extras casting, Los Angeles crew

Bill Churchville

Trumpet

Rita Ciccozzi

1st Assistant makeup

Aaron Coakwell

Scenic painter

Mark Coffey

Sound transfers

David Cole

Music mixer

Lawrence Commans

Boom Operator

Vance Conway

Scenic carpenter

Judi Cooper-sealy

Hair consultant, Los Angeles crew

Sean Cossey

Casting Assistant

Donald T. Cox

Driver

Lawrence Crosthwaite

Set Dresser

Brent Crowell

Addl 3d Assistant Director

Jim Davie

Const Coordinator

Fred Davies

Driver

Gord Davis

Special Effects Coordinator

Hans Dayal

Production Assistant

Scott Delaplace

Driver

Jan Dennehy

Accountant

Bob Dennett

Transportation Coordinator

Ali Derakhshan

Sound Assistant

Bob Deschaine

ADR mixer

Andrew Dickler

1st Assistant Editor

Debbie Douglas

Assistant Costume Designer

Rick Drapkin

1st Assistant Camera

Paul Duffy

Lead painter

Mark Dumas

Animal wrangler

Jim Dunlap

Assistant accountant

Bill Dyson

Scenic carpenter

Robin Edgar

Assistant chef

Daniel Eisenberg

Payroll accountant

Gail M. Estrada

First Aid/Craft service

Felix Fanzega

Driver

Dominique Fauquet-lemaitre

Supervisor set dec

Harvey Fedor

Key grip

Rod Feldmeier

Generator op

Allan Fenske

Driver

Wade Ferley

B Camera op

Alison Fisher

Dial/ADR Editor

Jim Forrest

Driver

Leigh French

Voice casting

Julia Frittaion

Unit Publicist

Elliott Gamson

Negative conformed by

Joseph T. Garrity

Production Design

Carol J. Garvin

Dog show Coordinator/consultant

Gary Gegan

Re-rec mixer

Colin Gillett

Scenic artist

Paul D. Giordano

Assistant loc Manager

Gordon Glen

Driver

Ann Goobie

Loc Manager

Jeffrey Goodman

Violin

Doane Gregory

Stills Photographer

Jean-luc Grenier

Lead dresser

Pamela Griner

Assistant to Mr. Guest and Ms. Murphy, Los Angeles crew

Adam Gubman

Assistant to Mr. Vanston

Christopher Guest

Wrt

Christopher Guest

Composer

Jack Guppy

Scenic painter

Lord Haden-guest

Sitar

Stuart Haggerty

Best boy lighting

Tom Halm

Project Coordinator/Music prep

Rodrigue Hamilton

Lamp op

Jack Hardy

1st Assistant Director

Robert Harlan

Foley artist

Nick Harman

Prod Assistant, Los Angeles crew

Leann Harvey

Production Assistant

Mindy Heslin

2d Assistant Director

Dave Hoodless

Accounting trainee

Kelvin Humenny

Set Design

Andrew Hussey

Set Dresser

David Hyman

2d Assistant Director, Los Angeles crew

Matthew Iadarola

Re-rec mixer

Ari Jacobs

Prod Assistant, Los Angeles crew

Ed Johnson

Driver

Dennis 'bill' Kerney

Laborer

Dr. Howard Klaiman

Eugene Levy's prosthetic teeth

Nancy Kress

Extras craft service

Karmyn La Saw

B.C.S.P.C.A. Coordinator

Bud Lafaut

24-frame playback

Shari Lafranchi

Prod Coordinator, Los Angeles crew

Jason B. Landels

Assistant Props master

Sean Lavoie

Head painter

Susan Lawrence

U.S. Norwich Terrier Coordinator

Catherine Leighton

Assistant Props master

Robert Leighton

Editing

Eugene Levy

Composer

Eugene Levy

Wrt

Laura Livingstone

Assistant to Ms. Murphy

Kandace Loewen

Hairstylist

Earlene J. Luke

Technical Advisor

Peter P. Lunt

Head greensman

John Maccarthy

Addl 2d Assistant Director

Brian J. Madore

Driver

Michael Magill

Dial Editor

Daniel Mansfield

Production Assistant

Gordon Mark

Executive Producer

Lori Marshall

Extras casting

Dave Mcdonald

Driver

Shannon Mcfarlane

Set Dresser

Michael Mckean

Composer

Charissa Mclain

Assistant prod Coordinator, Los Angeles crew

Wayne Mclaughlin

Props Master

Brian Mcnulty

Post prod Supervisor

Roxanne Methot

Assistant art Director

Tricia Miles

Post prod Supervisor

Lynda Mills

DGC trainee

Hayley Mills-lott

Props buyer

Sarah Monat

Foley artist

Montez Monroe

Prod Coordinator, Los Angeles crew

Shawn Montgomery

Production Assistant

Lee Moors

Driver

Randy Morton

2d Assistant Camera

Karen Murphy

Producer

Gary Myers

Art Director

David Neveaux

Rigging grip

Jena Niquidet

2d Assistant Coordinator

Catherine O'hara

Composer

Bettina O'mara

Product promotions Coordinator

Clint Paglaro

Video Assistant

Walter Parry Jr.

2d Assistant Director, Los Angeles crew

Elizabeth Patrick

Set Decoration

Diana Patterson

Costume Supervisor

Mark Pawlitsky

Driver

Marlow Pederson

Tool maintenance

Gil Peyronnenc

Set dec buyer

Aldric Porter

1st Assistant Director, Los Angeles crew

Wayne Power

Driver

Monique Prudhomme

Costume Design

Derek Rama

Driver

Mark Rathgeber

Const foreman

Phil Robinson

2d 2d Assistant Director, Los Angeles crew

Dena Roth

Set dec, Los Angeles crew

Michael Rouse

On-set dresser

Connie Rusgen

Head trainer

Mel Russo

Casting Associate, Los Angeles crew

Roberto Schaefer

Director of Photography

Charlie Schultz

Best boy grip

Anne Scott

Post prod accountant

Tim Selberg

Ventriloquist puppet

Christine Shaw

Set Dresser

Don Shelton

Woodwinds

Kate Shorter

Key makeup

Martin Sigmund

Scenic carpenter

Randy Singer

Foley mixer

Brett H. Smith

Driver

Kurt Smith

Col timer

Patrick Stark

Extras casting Assistant

Hamilton Sterling

Supervisor Sound Editor

Russell Frederick Stewart

Scenic carpenter

Terry Storey

Driver

M. Almaz Tadege

Prod Coordinator

Christopher Iain Tarling

Production Assistant

Stephen Taylor

Betacam op

Chris Tedesco

Trumpet

John Joseph Thomas

Foley Editor

Matthew Tichenor

2d Assistant Camera/loader

Nathan Tichenor

Co-prod Coordinator

Karin Tolson

Assistant to Mr. Guest

Tami Treadwell

ADR rec

Gail Vance

Costumes

C. J. Vanston

Keyboards

C. J. Vanston

Composer

Jeffery C. J. Vanston

Music

Paul Vanston

Composer

Scott Vere

Dolly grip

David Wallace

Production Assistant

Carie Wallis

3d Assistant Director

Ted Wassenaar

Driver

Film Details

Also Known As
Dog Show, Unititled Dogumentary
MPAA Rating
PG-13
Genre
Comedy
Release Date
Sep 27, 2000
Premiere Information
World premiere at the Toronto Film Festival: 8 Sep 2000; New York and Los Angeles opening: 27 Sep 2000
Production Company
Castle Rock Entertainment
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles, California, United States; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m

Articles

Best In Show - Best in Show


It's impossible to consider the "mockumentary" without taking a good look at the work of Christopher Guest, an artist who virtually invented the genre and who certainly perfected it in a string of films beginning with This Is Spinal Tap (1984, directed by Rob Reiner but written by and starring Guest). In Best in Show (2000), his second directorial feature in faked reality territory, Guest set his satiric eye on the world of professional dog shows. Guest's movies focus on the delusions of those who seek fame and success, notably in show business, of which championship dog contests may be seen as an odd but distinct branch. His characters' determination and blissful unawareness of almost inevitable failure, along with the delight they take in simply being part of the game, affords Guest and his inspired stock company of performers ample opportunities for both outrageous humor and the wry, sometimes bittersweet observations that have increasingly marked his work.

Best in Show follows several competitors through the venerable Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show in Philadelphia. There is a dysfunctional yuppie couple who treat their Weimaraner as a neurotic child; a folksy would-be ventriloquist from North Carolina who speaks what's in his Bloodhound's mind; a flamboyant gay couple and their prized Shitzus; a Floridian with (literally) two left feet, an adorable Norwich Terrier, and a wife with more of an amorous past than he can handle; and a daffy Anna Nicole-like blonde married to an ancient, wheelchair-bound millionaire who entrusts her Standard Poodle - and more - to the care of a lesbian handler. Most hysterically off-kilter of all is a guest commentator with a knack for wildly inappropriate color commentary (reportedly modeled on baseball star turned TV personality Joe Garagiola, who once hosted the Westminster Kennel Club show to similar effect).

Guest said the idea for Best in Show came to him while observing people at a dog park near his home, just everyday folks whose conversations about their pets sounded more like doting parents. He then spent a year visiting dog shows before he and his co-creator Eugene Levy collaborated on a narrative outline, not a script. He gathered many of the cast members of his earlier feature, Waiting for Guffman (1996), along with other comic talents, all of them expert improvisers, and shot their off-the-cuff riffs on the basic story premise over a period of about six weeks in late 1999. Guest then spent eight months editing many hours of footage into the film's final 90-minute form.

Among the cast are SCTV alums Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara, Spinal Tap co-star Michael McKean, and Guffman players Fred Willard, Parker Posey, Michael Hitchcock, Bob Balaban, and Larry Miller. Christopher Guest himself appears as Harlan Pepper, the folksy Bloodhound owner.

Although something of an instant comedy classic, Best in Show actually got mixed reviews on its release. But it earned a slew of awards and nominations in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., including the American Comedy Award for Funniest Motion Picture, Supporting Actor (Willard), and Actress (O'Hara). The National Board of Review also gave it Special Recognition for excellence in filmmaking. In spite of its highly improvisational nature, the film also received a Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. Premiere magazine voted it one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies of All Time" in 2006.

All but one of the dogs in the film are champions; the remaining pooch was a last-minute replacement for one whose owner pulled it from production when she realized hers would not be the winner in the fictional story. Real judges were used as most of the on-screen judges, and professional dog handlers advised the actors on proper competition technique.

Guest has continued to work in the specialized but increasingly popular genre of "mockumentary" (a term he actually rejects as terribly glib) because it offers him so many creative possibilities. He told Time magazine in October 2000 (shortly after Best in Show's release): "In the past 10 years, film has become very unspontaneous, whether it's using digital technology or being very storyboarded. This is the other end of the spectrum. Yes, it is just people talking, but that is just as exciting to me as a big wave."

Director: Christopher Guest
Producer: Gordon Mark
Screenplay: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy
Cinematography: Roberto Schaefer
Editing: Robert Leighton
Art Direction: Gary Myers
Original Music: Jeffery CJ Vanston
Cast: Parker Posey (Meg Swan), Michael Hitchcock (Hamilton Swan), Catherine O'Hara (Cookie Fleck), Eugene Levy (Gerry Fleck), Michael McKean (Stefan Vanderhoof), John Michael Higgins (Scott Donlan), Jennifer Coolidge (Sherri Ann Cabot), Jane Lynch (Christy Cummings).
C-90m.

by Rob Nixon
Best In Show - Best In Show

Best In Show - Best in Show

It's impossible to consider the "mockumentary" without taking a good look at the work of Christopher Guest, an artist who virtually invented the genre and who certainly perfected it in a string of films beginning with This Is Spinal Tap (1984, directed by Rob Reiner but written by and starring Guest). In Best in Show (2000), his second directorial feature in faked reality territory, Guest set his satiric eye on the world of professional dog shows. Guest's movies focus on the delusions of those who seek fame and success, notably in show business, of which championship dog contests may be seen as an odd but distinct branch. His characters' determination and blissful unawareness of almost inevitable failure, along with the delight they take in simply being part of the game, affords Guest and his inspired stock company of performers ample opportunities for both outrageous humor and the wry, sometimes bittersweet observations that have increasingly marked his work. Best in Show follows several competitors through the venerable Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show in Philadelphia. There is a dysfunctional yuppie couple who treat their Weimaraner as a neurotic child; a folksy would-be ventriloquist from North Carolina who speaks what's in his Bloodhound's mind; a flamboyant gay couple and their prized Shitzus; a Floridian with (literally) two left feet, an adorable Norwich Terrier, and a wife with more of an amorous past than he can handle; and a daffy Anna Nicole-like blonde married to an ancient, wheelchair-bound millionaire who entrusts her Standard Poodle - and more - to the care of a lesbian handler. Most hysterically off-kilter of all is a guest commentator with a knack for wildly inappropriate color commentary (reportedly modeled on baseball star turned TV personality Joe Garagiola, who once hosted the Westminster Kennel Club show to similar effect). Guest said the idea for Best in Show came to him while observing people at a dog park near his home, just everyday folks whose conversations about their pets sounded more like doting parents. He then spent a year visiting dog shows before he and his co-creator Eugene Levy collaborated on a narrative outline, not a script. He gathered many of the cast members of his earlier feature, Waiting for Guffman (1996), along with other comic talents, all of them expert improvisers, and shot their off-the-cuff riffs on the basic story premise over a period of about six weeks in late 1999. Guest then spent eight months editing many hours of footage into the film's final 90-minute form. Among the cast are SCTV alums Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara, Spinal Tap co-star Michael McKean, and Guffman players Fred Willard, Parker Posey, Michael Hitchcock, Bob Balaban, and Larry Miller. Christopher Guest himself appears as Harlan Pepper, the folksy Bloodhound owner. Although something of an instant comedy classic, Best in Show actually got mixed reviews on its release. But it earned a slew of awards and nominations in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., including the American Comedy Award for Funniest Motion Picture, Supporting Actor (Willard), and Actress (O'Hara). The National Board of Review also gave it Special Recognition for excellence in filmmaking. In spite of its highly improvisational nature, the film also received a Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. Premiere magazine voted it one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies of All Time" in 2006. All but one of the dogs in the film are champions; the remaining pooch was a last-minute replacement for one whose owner pulled it from production when she realized hers would not be the winner in the fictional story. Real judges were used as most of the on-screen judges, and professional dog handlers advised the actors on proper competition technique. Guest has continued to work in the specialized but increasingly popular genre of "mockumentary" (a term he actually rejects as terribly glib) because it offers him so many creative possibilities. He told Time magazine in October 2000 (shortly after Best in Show's release): "In the past 10 years, film has become very unspontaneous, whether it's using digital technology or being very storyboarded. This is the other end of the spectrum. Yes, it is just people talking, but that is just as exciting to me as a big wave." Director: Christopher Guest Producer: Gordon Mark Screenplay: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy Cinematography: Roberto Schaefer Editing: Robert Leighton Art Direction: Gary Myers Original Music: Jeffery CJ Vanston Cast: Parker Posey (Meg Swan), Michael Hitchcock (Hamilton Swan), Catherine O'Hara (Cookie Fleck), Eugene Levy (Gerry Fleck), Michael McKean (Stefan Vanderhoof), John Michael Higgins (Scott Donlan), Jennifer Coolidge (Sherri Ann Cabot), Jane Lynch (Christy Cummings). C-90m. by Rob Nixon

Patrick Cranshaw (1919-2005)


Patrick Cranshaw, the grizzly American character actor who spent the last four decades playing a series of old sidekicks and comic relief in such diverse movies as Bonnie and Clyde (1967) to last year's hit summer film Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005), died of natural causes on December 28 at his Fort Worth, Texas home. He was 86.

Born on June 17, 1919 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Cranshaw became interested in acting while entertaining the troops with the Army Air Forces during World War II. After the war, he worked in radio, and slogged his way though bit parts in a few films before landing his first notable (if still uncredited) part as a bartender in the Claudette Colbert western Texas Lady (1955). It took a while before he got his next strong part, but he was memorable in his brief scene as the fidgety bank teller in Arthur Penn's classic Bonnie and Clyde (1967); and appeared as a hayseed in some wildly bad camp fare such as Mars Need Women and Hip, Hot and 21 (also 1967).

But so what if the good movie roles weren't coming? Cranshaw, with his small, expressive eyes, crinkled smile, and scraggly white beard, made for an ideal comic foil in sitcoms; and anyone with a passing interest for spotting character actors can't help but be impressed with his resume on that medium in the '70s: (The Odd Couple, Sanford and Son, The Bob Newhart Show, Mork and Mindy); the '80s: (The Dukes of Hazzard, Growing Pains, Perfect Strangers, Night Court, Diff'rent Strokes); '90s: (Coach, Ellen, Married...with Children, Just Shoot Me!, The Drew Carey Show); and even the 21st century: (Suddenly Susan, Monk).

Most impressively, Cranshaw should serve as model for all struggling actors that sheer persistency can pay off when you're hungry for some good roles in motion pictures, for he was in well in his seventies when he started gaining some decent screen time in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Everyone Says I Love You (1996), and Best in Show (2000). However, his most memorable moment in film came in the Will Ferrell/Vince Vaughn comedy Old School (2003). Here he played a octogenarian frat boy named Blue; and in one terrific sequence, he's dressed in his longjohns ready to wrestle two topless girls but dies of a heart attack due to overexcitement! He may have not won an Oscar® for his performance, but he developed something of cult following after that great comic turn.

Most recently, he played a Derby owner with Lindsay Lohan and Matt Dillon in Disney's Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005); and just completed the movie Air Buddies due for release next year. Cranshaw is survived by three children, Jan Ragland, Joe Cranshaw and Beverly Trautschold; his sister, Billie Gillespie; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Patrick Cranshaw (1919-2005)

Patrick Cranshaw, the grizzly American character actor who spent the last four decades playing a series of old sidekicks and comic relief in such diverse movies as Bonnie and Clyde (1967) to last year's hit summer film Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005), died of natural causes on December 28 at his Fort Worth, Texas home. He was 86. Born on June 17, 1919 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Cranshaw became interested in acting while entertaining the troops with the Army Air Forces during World War II. After the war, he worked in radio, and slogged his way though bit parts in a few films before landing his first notable (if still uncredited) part as a bartender in the Claudette Colbert western Texas Lady (1955). It took a while before he got his next strong part, but he was memorable in his brief scene as the fidgety bank teller in Arthur Penn's classic Bonnie and Clyde (1967); and appeared as a hayseed in some wildly bad camp fare such as Mars Need Women and Hip, Hot and 21 (also 1967). But so what if the good movie roles weren't coming? Cranshaw, with his small, expressive eyes, crinkled smile, and scraggly white beard, made for an ideal comic foil in sitcoms; and anyone with a passing interest for spotting character actors can't help but be impressed with his resume on that medium in the '70s: (The Odd Couple, Sanford and Son, The Bob Newhart Show, Mork and Mindy); the '80s: (The Dukes of Hazzard, Growing Pains, Perfect Strangers, Night Court, Diff'rent Strokes); '90s: (Coach, Ellen, Married...with Children, Just Shoot Me!, The Drew Carey Show); and even the 21st century: (Suddenly Susan, Monk). Most impressively, Cranshaw should serve as model for all struggling actors that sheer persistency can pay off when you're hungry for some good roles in motion pictures, for he was in well in his seventies when he started gaining some decent screen time in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Everyone Says I Love You (1996), and Best in Show (2000). However, his most memorable moment in film came in the Will Ferrell/Vince Vaughn comedy Old School (2003). Here he played a octogenarian frat boy named Blue; and in one terrific sequence, he's dressed in his longjohns ready to wrestle two topless girls but dies of a heart attack due to overexcitement! He may have not won an Oscar® for his performance, but he developed something of cult following after that great comic turn. Most recently, he played a Derby owner with Lindsay Lohan and Matt Dillon in Disney's Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005); and just completed the movie Air Buddies due for release next year. Cranshaw is survived by three children, Jan Ragland, Joe Cranshaw and Beverly Trautschold; his sister, Billie Gillespie; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

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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 October 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 Variety June 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 September 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.

Miscellaneous Notes

Nominated for the 2000 award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen from the Writers Guild of America (WGA).

Nominated for the 2000 Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature - Comedy or Musical, from the American Cinema Editors (ACE).

Voted one of the 10 best films of 2000 by the American Film Institute (AFI).

Expanded Release in United States October 13, 2000

Limited Release in United States September 27, 2000

Released in United States 2000

Released in United States Fall September 27, 2000

Released in United States November 2000

Released in United States on Video May 15, 2001

Released in United States September 2000

Shown at London Film Festival (Film on the Square) November 1-16, 2000.

Shown at Toronto International Film Festival (Gala) September 7-16, 2000

Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival September 22 - October 5, 2000.

Released in United States 2000 (Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival September 22 - October 5, 2000.)

Released in United States on Video May 15, 2001

Released in United States September 2000 (Shown at Toronto International Film Festival (Gala) September 7-16, 2000)

Limited Release in United States September 27, 2000

Released in United States Fall September 27, 2000

Expanded Release in United States October 13, 2000

Released in United States November 2000 (Shown at London Film Festival (Film on the Square) November 1-16, 2000.)