Friday, July 21, 2006

Film Fave #2: This Is Spinal Tap


Good grief -- where do I even start? For one thing, This Is Spinal Tap miraculously prolongs one's appreciation of Heavy Metal as an artform. I first saw it -- January 1984, with a Bible School buddy -- in a tiny movie-plex theatre, filled with lads wearing Iron Maiden shirts and Pink Floyd caps. Everyone was laughing and cheering. Spinal Tap wasn't deflating Rock & Roll Mythology -- it was contributing to it.

Christopher Guest has done some incredibly funny movies since then, but Waiting For Guffman doesn't inspire me to join the community theatre, and Best In Show hasn't prompted me to go out and buy a dog. But this "Rockumentary" is different: even as these used-up geezers slip further into a well-deserved obscurity ("Puppet Show! And Spinal Tap"), the urge to actually start a band and take it on the road becomes nearly irresistable. To be so singularly confused and earnest and self-indulgent has to be fun!

Until now, I've avoided talking about DVD bonuses -- I usually equate "extras" with "extra waste of my time" -- but this disc has been packed to the ribs with incredibly entertaining goodies. For one thing, the "audio commentary" is provided by the three surviving Tap members, who take the opportunity to set viewers straight on director Marti DeBergi's "hatchet job". There are also deleted scenes and videos for "Gimme Some Money" "(Listen To The) Flower Children" "Hell Hole" and "Big Bottom" -- all very funny stuff.

I was never one to memorize Monty Python sketches and recite them for the assumed amusement of friends and family, but this movie has brought me as close to that brink as anything done by the Flying Circus. Fortunately, I can resort to timely short-hand: "Take it to eleven!" ("when we need that extra push over the cliff") or "That's just nitpicking, isn't it?" (in response to withering criticism), etc. The surest sign of a replayable movie is its infiltration into the viewer's daily goings-on. And with its ability to straddle that fine line between clever and stupid, This Is Spinal Tap invades with aplomb.

Film Fave #1

4 comments:

Jim said...

"It's just a rabbit!"

... sorry, wrong film.

Much obliged for the blogroll link. Back at ya.

Scott said...

"Spinal Tap" is indeed the gold standard (since "Waiting for Guffman" is so wildly uneven) but I think your fondness for metal edges this upwards, while mine for dogs brings me back to "Best in Show" every time. That movie has me wiping tears from my eyes!

And now that I own a dog and hang out with dog people, I see how it really IS a documentary and I laugh harder than ever.

Scott said...

Of course, I know what you're thinking -- "Yeah? Well make your ownlist! :)

Whisky Prajer said...

Scott - when it comes to this, or any other list here, I'm all for dissent. You're probably right about the "metal" vs. "dog" element. At least it isn't the "kimono" factor that settles the matter.