American Movie

Imagine “Beavis and Butthead” meets “Nightmare on Elm Street”

I’m rooting for Beavis in this case:.

“American Movie” is the story of Mark Borchardt’s quest for the American Dream.

He attempts to finance and complete a low-budget horror film called “Coven”.

This is a hilarious doc — I rank this #1 in my Top 22 Funniest Documentaries list (and it’s #10 in my list of 12 Best ‘Making of’ Documentaries).

The cast of characters includes Mark’s best buddy Mike Schank (steals the show), 82-year-old Uncle Bill and a man who lives in a trailer park but has $250,000 stashed away at the bank.

Chris Smith, known for “Collapse” (2009), captures the rollercoaster journey of director Mark who is driven by dreams yet surrounded by obstacles.

Dive into Mark’s chaotic world, as every frame breathes life into his chase for cinematic glory.

Trailer for “American Movie”

Where to Watch “American Movie” (Free!)

You can watch the full American Movie online for free here:


American Movie is also streaming here:


  • Genre: Filmmaking.
  • Released: 1999.
  • Director: Chris Smith.
  • Duration: 107 minutes.

My Favorite Parts (Includes Spoiler Alerts!)

  • Mark tries to raise money from his uncle Bill (who’s tight with his money) — showing Bill pics of sexy leading ladies seems to help.
  • Mark shoves an actor’s head through a cupboard for his Coven short film.
  • Mark says the 3 biggest film influences are Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
  • Mark’s brother says “I thought he was gonna grow up to be a stalker or serial killer or do something where he’d try to plan someone’s death, ya know ,and unfortunately sometimes I thought that it’d be mine.”
  • Mark finally finishes his short film Coven.
  • Mark’s uncle dies on September 13, 1997 and leaves Mark $50,000 to complete his other film “Northwestern”. As of January 2022, Northwestern has not been finished
  • “It’s alright, it’s okay, there’s something to live for!” – Uncle Bill.

A Cool Scene

MARK: “I’m a failure.”

MIKE: “No man, you’re a filmmaker.”

MARK: “I’ve got to finish ‘Coven’.”

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly

Chief Maniac, Daily Doc