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10 Mockumentaries To Stream Before Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

10 Mockumentaries To Stream Before Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping: Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

When Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping hits theaters this weekend, it’ll prove two things to moviegoing audiences. First, that the Lonely Island can slip from Saturday Night Live shorts to movies surprisingly easily, and second, that you can never go wrong with a mockumentary.

Mockumentaries are a gift for those looking to deliver the most jokes with the least set-up: audiences already understand the documentary framework, and characters can simply explain the set-up of each scene directly to camera to avoid any difficult exposition. But the genre is more versatile than merely shooting punchlines out into the ether, as these ten prime offerings—each available to stream ahead of going to see Andy Samberg on the big screen this weekend—prove.

The fake documentary that (kind of) started it all has it all, including iconic scenes and catchphrases — what else could have taught the world about turning it up to 11? — and well as celebrity cameo appearances from the likes of Patrick Macnee, Billy Crystal and Anjelica Houston. Sure, it’s just a heavy metal version of the Rutles’ All You Need Is Cash, but that doesn’t make it any less hilarious. Available for rent from Amazon

TANNER ‘88 (1988)
A mini-series made by Robert Altman from a script by Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau, this fake tell-all about the political process mashes together fact and fiction to create something that feels depressingly true to life and important almost three decades later. Sadly, politics remains as insincere and deadly no matter what, it seems. Available on Hulu*

What kind of impact does a documentary have on the people making it? This cult Belgian movie — which bore the title It Happened In Your Neighborhood in its original language — investigates that with dark, dark humor as a camera crew following a serial killer find themselves curiously involved in their subject’s work. Available on Hulu

CB4 (1993)
Wha’s that you say? You didn’t know that Chris Rock co-wrote and starred in a parody of NWA back in the '90s, taking aim at the cliches behind gangsta rap while simultaneously try to appeal to fans of the genre? The result is a curio that is weirdly as compelling for the ways in which it fails as it is for its successes. If nothing else, you’ll have this in your head for days after watching:

Available for rent from Amazon

The hell that is community theater is exposed in Christopher Guest’s surprisingly warm take on the increasingly unfortunate efforts of director Corky St. Clair to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of a small, sincere town in the middle of Missouri. Come for the fake history, stay for the UFO rumors. Available for rent from Amazon

As if beauty pageants hadn’t already seemed ridiculous enough, Drop Dead Gorgeous ups the ante by adding a number of mysterious deaths to the mix. Considered a flop at the time, the movie has since gained a cult following, in part because of a cast that includes Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams and Allison Janney. Available on Amazon Prime

In many ways, Best In Show feels like a mix of the previous two movies, being a Christopher Guests movie that takes place during a pageant of its own, with the outcome of the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show hanging in the balance as pups and people alike vie for supremacy. The true winner of it all? Whoever decides to try and make the dream of a dog-owner journal for lesbians called American Bitch a reality. Available on Netflix

What happens when a bride calls off her wedding the day before it happens, but then decides to fake the entire ceremony to avoid disappointing her guests? Anyone who answered with “probably a complete disaster,” you’re utterly correct — although things end up going more wrong than you might have thought, and in more ways, in this debut comedy from the YouTube collective Periods. Available on Hulu

W1A (2014)
It can only be hoped that the BBC isn’t really organized the way that it’s portrayed in this two-season series that gives the broadcasting giant the Office treatment. Then again, the series is made by the BBC, so… that’s probably not an encouraging sign. Available on Netflix

As if the Sharknado craze wasn’t strange enough, another layer of oddness gets added with this fake revelation that an entirely different Sharknado movie was created before the first one that audiences saw… and then quietly never spoken of again for mysterious reasons. Made by the people behind the real series, Heart of Sharkness is a moment of self-aware genius. Or self-aggrandizing madness. Or both. Available on Hulu

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