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This Is "Spinal Tap" (Cultographies) Paperback – 21 Nov 2007

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A documentary, a mockumentary, indeed a rockumentary, Rob Reiner's phony road movie following the exploits of a fictitious heavy metal band has long been celebrated as a comedy landmark, but this is the first attempt to provide a sustained critical appraisal of its success. Addressing general cinephiles and devoted Tapheads alike, this study considers the film within its contexts of cult cinema, real and mock documentary, Hollywood comedies and musicals and the history of rock music. This detailed stylistic and comic analysis of the film offers new insights into the ardent Cult of Tap.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
That was spinal tap. 21 Jan. 2012
By Turanga Leela - Published on
Format: Paperback
I couldn't disagree more with the previous review, this book proves that people still really think about things. It's obvious that the author understands and appreciates art and the evolution of entertainment. Most books of this type can be very dry, but this isn't, de Seife doesn't substitute humor for intelligence. His writing style is very academic but not unreadable. He provides interesting ideas and a valid analysis. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Pretentious and ponderous 21 Mar. 2009
By Dan Amrich - Published on
Format: Paperback
Nobody can destroy the joy of movies quite like a film professor. For a short book, Ethan de Seife's analysis of This is Spinal Tap feels mind-numbingly long, mostly because it repeats itself. A handful of points (Tap owes a lot to cinema verite; Tap simultaneously uses and breaks the rules of both conventional and documentary filmmaking) get overexplained with new and fancier words, like a grade-school book report stretching to meet its minimum word count with the use of a very large thesaurus (A sample: "The formlessness of alleged actuality is rendered more cinematically palatable by the use of mechanisms of narrative"). There are some interesting insights -- the film's parallel with traditional Hollywood musicals was well presented, and the author does a good job of looking at the rock culture the film lampoons -- but many of the insights from the filmmakers are lifted straight from the DVD commentaries, and better told by them than regurgitated by a stuffy academic. Rarely engaging to the reader, it's simply too overwritten and self-important to be enjoyable.
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