" It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will make you look at their epic herpes mouth sores and hurl. "
Title: This is Spinal Tap by StudioCanal
Format: DVD Mockumentary
Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult
The Hype: Back in the early 80’s, Christopher Guest- a legend among dry comedians, put together a faux documentary about a fictional British rock band and their fall from grace. Now, some 20 years later, it’s been remastered, jam packed with extras, and brought to DVD.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story: Let’s get something out of
the way right now: Spinal Tap is an absolute classic. It’s comic genius without
question. The only problem is, it’s quickly growing a little dated.
The story, in short, is a documentary about the re-arrival in the US of a classic 80’s lipstick and hair spray rock band after their initial world tour some 8 years before. The big problem is that, while they were bigger than God in their hay day, they have decidedly fallen from the public grace and are now relegated to performing in 100 seat auditoriums. To make matters worse, the band has been slowly moving towards self-destruction after a decided combination of stale music and the lead singer’s Yoko Ono-esque control queen girlfriend. So now, under the unyielding eye of the documentary cameras, it’s all starting to unravel. Much incredibly dry hilarity ensues.
And though the plot may not be incredibly original (it is, after all, what actually happened to about 60% of those bands) it is done with such dead on accuracy and incredible sincerity that you simply won’t be able to keep from loving it. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will make you look at their epic herpes mouth sores and hurl. It’s gold from opening credits to closing interviews.
But probably only if you’ve lived through the 80s…Through the ridiculous drag suits of Twisted Sister, the androgynous lipstick and eye shadow of Poison, the overt and pointless sexual references of Motley Crue, the drugged out high profile whining of The Scorpions. You’ll probably have to remember when a rock star ODing wasn’t a big thing and when bands broke up and reformed faster than Michael Jackson changed noses to really appreciate what Spinal Tap’s offering. I think most of today’s kids raised on the overly self serious attitudes of Marilyn Manson and Nirvana won’t be able to relate to the days of a rock star and groupie trying to figure out whose fishnets are whose and sharing the same can of hairspray…And without that, a lot of the humor may be lost.
Still, for anyone over 20, this is Spinal Tap, feels every bit as real as it should be…which is a very frightening thing. 4 out of 5
Acting: For those not in the know, most of the cast and crew are all old friends and simply improv’d their way through most of the movie. As a result, they take on absolutely real personas, and a third of the way through you will have completely forgotten you’re watching actors. 5 out of 5
Action: Sorry, my Monkeys…It’s a drama, so there’s nothing to write about here.
Visuals and Directing: Setting the tone for all mockumentaries to come, Spinal Tap has a great combination of the solid production values you’d expect from a high grade movie and that mis-managed feel present in all documentaries. The camera rolls, loses focus, and mislights just enough that it feels genuine without ever actually costing you a bit of the story. Better yet, they do an amazing job of catching the characters "Au Natural"…Without the benefit of makeup, proper dressing, or scripts. It’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. 5 out of 5
Sound Track: Surprisingly enough, Chris Guest (as lead singer) has a pretty decent voice…and that’s good. Unfortunately, that leaves you with only the oddly comical lyrics as entertainment during the rather lengthy musical numbers. As a result, I think the sound track honestly suffers. Neither being off key enough to be funny or over the top enough lyrically to be outrageous, Spinal Tap the band honestly fits so well into the 80’s "butt rock" genre that you could well forget they weren’t real. Which, I think, detracts a bit from the overall comedy offered. 3 out of 5
DVD Extras: Lord, there is a ton. Music videos, deleted scenes, background history, and, best of all, audio commentary by the members of Spinal Tap alone, make the purchase price. Hollywood take note: this is what a DVD should look like. In-frickin’-credible. 5 out of 5
Value vs. Price: If you watch this movie less than 3 times I’ll be stunned…And that automatically means it’s worth purchase price. 5 out of 5
|This should go on your list of "Top 10 reasons to by a DVD"…Right underneath "Katie Holmes Digital Quality Pause and Zoom Naked." ‘Nuff said.|
The Good: A killer movie with tons of extras.
The Bad: A bit dated.
The Overall Ugly: You need this movie. It’s as simple as that.
What it's Worth: Market