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Classic Unscripted Films

The Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion
Picture & Television Producers are still at an impasse in their mediated
talks. A strike – as early as tomorrow – is a real possibility.

If that happens, movies shouldn’t be noticeably affected
until next year, since the scripts for films already in production are
obviously completed. Still, now is a good time to start appreciating unscripted cinema.

The films of Mike Leigh (High
, Life is Sweet, Secrets and Lies) are a good place to
start. The award-winning British
director often works from a general plot idea and has his actors rehearse for
extended periods, improvising dialog as they prepare their roles.

After the jump, a few more mostly unscripted suggestions.

For something lighter, any of the films directed by
Christopher Guest and starring his core repertory of actors would be a fine
choice: Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind or For Your

One of the funniest films ever to rely heavily on ad libbed
dialog – also featuring Guest – is the hilarious 1984 mock-rock-documentary This Is Spinal Tap, which traced some of
the darker days of the fictitious heavy metal band.

Blackballed: The Bobby
Dukes Story
is a pseudo-documentary about a disgraced paintball champion,
in the tradition of sports comeback comedies like Talladega Nights and Major
. It’s also largely improvised
and stars Rob Corddry, late of "The Daily Show."

And of course there’s always Jackass: The Movie and Jackass
Number Two
, but fingers crossed for a speedy resolution to the WGA/AMPTP standoff so it doesn’t come to that.

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