Failure can be fun. So this is about the fictional band Spinal Tap, a group that has been around the block a few times, and has released 15 albums during their 17-year career. They are all set to go on their North American tour, but when egos and management clash, things are bound to go awry. Now this may not be the first mockumentary ever made, but it is definitely known for starting the trend. If you didn’t know any better, you would just think that this is some obscure British band that is big in England, but small in the States, and the film is well crafted enough for you to buy into it. It makes for a novel effect and a memorable experience.
Another classic from Rob Reiner, Spinal Tap is filled with memorable jokes. It’s so short and compact that you actually retain a lot long after you walk away, and it is easy to see why this gained its cult status. For example, how many times have you heard somebody reference turning something “up to 11”. Have you ever heard the line, “No one knows who they were, or what they were doing”? Spinal Tap is the movie that’s responsible. Between creative lines of naturally flowing dialogue, the Stonehenge prop and the outrageous egos and insatiable personalities, you have hilarity ensuing all over the place. This is all about beautiful failure, and the fact that this band is oblivious to the fact that their glory days are far back in the rear view mirror makes for terrific entertainment.
Now I know this movie has a huge following, so a lot of you probably already know everything that I’m writing down here. I also know that this entire review has been nothing but aglow with praise, but I don’t actually love this to a point where I would label this as one of my top favorite movies, but I do really like everything that it does. It’s nothing personal, just a matter of preference, and I completely understand the many people out there that have this in their regular rotation of films that get frequent viewings. It’s so short that you can watch it easily at any time, and the parody of it all demands that you watch it at least once. At the very least, this is a definitive answer to the following question: “is it better to burn out or fade away” (it’s definitely, DEFINITELY burn out).
This Is Spinal Tap (1984) ****
– Critic for Hire