“Why are we going to an air force base?” - This Is Spinal Tap Review
PLOT: Spinal Tap, the world's loudest band, is chronicled by hack documentarian Marty DeBergi on what proves to be a fateful tour.
LOWDOWN: I was first introduced to Christoper Guest movies back when I had first started high school. Being a huge fan of the comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous, I recommended this title to a close friend who told me if I liked this sort of mockumentary style I would love Waiting For Guffman. At first I was a little hesitant to watch this, but after doing a complete blind buy, I couldn't have been more happier. Never before had I honestly seen such a funny movie that had the sort of deadpan sense of humor I so love and cherish. Not long after that I got around to watching Best In Show which was playing on a constant repeat on cable. Loving this style of film making, I made sure I got to see A Mightly Wind when it was released in theaters back in 2003. Years passed and I still always couldn’t help but smile and begin to quote these movies nonstop whenever somebody mentioned them. It wasn't until last month when I watched Jamie Lee Curtis' Q&A from HorrorHound on YouTube. Sadly I was unable to staff this show and was more than a little heartbroken over missing it. I was very surprised to see how friendly Mrs. Curtis seemed and how fun and interesting the panel was. I had known for years she was married to Christopher Guest, and I had heard the ever so awesome story about how back in the 1980's she was reading an issue of Rolling Stone and saw him in his Spinal Tap getup and fell head over heels in love, giving her number to his agent the two were married shortly after. (Can we say coolest couple ever?) Anyways, even though I had heard about Spinal Tap for years, I had never gotten the chance to really fully watch it besides a few clips here and there. Finally at the end of Jamie's Q&A somebody asked about how cool it was to be married to Nigel Tufnel? Laughing, she answered the question remarking on how wonderful he was and how shy and to himself he is. Yet, you couldn't help but see how much she lit up when she thought about him and remarked on how he plays an instrument each day. Finding this couple more than a little interesting, I wanted to finally get around to watching the movie that made the Scream Queen decide to settle down and start a family.
Now I'm a pretty big fan of Rob Reiner. One of my favorite Romantic comedies is The Sure Thing, and who didn't watch Stand By Me or The Princess Bride growing up? I adored Misery, but sorta fell out of his movies as the 1990's and 2000's went on. Still there's no denying the fact this man had talent and for six solid films one after another he made some pretty awesome classics.
His first in this string of success was This Is Spinal Tap.
The first time I had heard of this movie was watching a documentary for The Princess Bride. Mr. Reiner mentioned that he made a spoof satire and then did a romance...and decided to finally made a satire of a romance in The Princess Bride. For years I had often wondered why Spinal Tap had such a cult following...now I know why.
It's fucking awesome that's why.
I'm not a huge fan of heavy mental, nor was I really live long enough in the 1980's to really enjoy or know about the music scene. Still, what Mr. Reiner did was take this out of control storm that was taking over the world at the time and spun it on it's head. Taking pretty much every element on why the whole heavy metal glam bands from the era were just on the verge of being ridiculous. Between the crazy hair, clothes, makeup, album covers, lifestyle, accidents, small dwarfs, and music business, we were able to get a bird's eye view of three aging rockers who still acted as though they were twelve years old.
Guest, McKean, and Shearer honestly stole the show. This by far in my eyes after Waiting For Guffman is the best in the whole line of mockumentary films. In fact I still can't believe how gorgeous Guest was seeing that I had always thought of him as Corky St. Clair or Harlan Pepper, listing off how many nuts he knows. Gotta hand it to Mrs. Curtis, she had an eye back then. What wonders a little eye makeup and a wig can do.
This movie displayed three rockers who may or may not be pushing the limit on how long they have stayed in the spotlight. After nearly 36 drummers, gardening accidents, exploding on stage, and choking on somebody's vomit, they have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I loved how they were followed on their US town. Fighting to get their sexy...excuse me sexist cover “Smell The Glove.” released, dealing with Ian their lying manager, getting STDs from groupies, not being able to find the stage, getting stuck in giant pods, bitchy controlling girlfriends, breaking small bread, not knowing the difference between feet and inches and having a Stonehenge monument in danger of being crushed by a dwarf.
All these moments are totally classic.
What's great about Spinal Tap besides the classic quotable moments, the memorable cameos and scenes...has to be the music.
I don't care if your a rock n roll fan, these songs are fricking catchy. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that the lead actors all performed the music themselves. As silly and as tongue in cheek as the lyrics are (Big Bottoms, ect) you can't help but find yourself humming them or even have the songs on CD or downloaded on your Ipod. I know I do.
Mr. Reiner did a great job. I've said it once and I'll say it again, this man can direct. Not only can he made great dramas and thrillers, he can also made comedy gold. In fact I'm stunned that the same man made films such as The Sure Thing, Stand By Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, and Misery. I'm not that surprised though that Christopher Guest went on to direct his future projects. As much as I think Reiner was a main reason who this movie worked so well, I do believe Guest' talent was what really out shinned and I think his input was very clear which translated into the comedy gold we now all know and love.
So it's safe to say I've jumped onto the Spinal Tap Tour. I completely now understand why it's such a cult movie and why it's still after nearly thirty years so popular. Very few movies in my book have lasting power that you just can't help but quote whenever they get brought up (Such as Caddyshack, Vacation, ect.) Spinal Tap is now one of them and I think is up there along with Waiting For Guffman to be one of the best comedies ever made. You really have to hand it to Mr. Guest, if it wasn't for him the British Office wouldn't have been inspired to be made which resulted in the ever so popular American version.
So between the deadpan humor, the over the top clothes and hair, the catchy music, the memorable scenes and lines, and of course the cute guys...Spinal Tap has now found itself in my top ten favorite movies of all time which is a very hard list to make.
I do wish though they had made a sequel in the late 1980's. I know they have done return tours and TV specials but it would have been great to see the guys all get back together and see how long the currant drummer would last.
So if you are ever looking for a great smarty made comedy music fan or not, go pop in this classic and listen to some music that's been mixed in Dubly.