on 4 December 2000
Well, what can you say, it creased me up on video and it still does it today. And, even with the dawn of DVD, I never thought that I would see as many extras and special features as you get with this one. The extra footage alone must amount to an entire films worth and you cant help but ask yourself 'why they would cut any of it out? I can understand that had they not cut certain scenes the film would have been close to the three hour mark, but the extras are just as funny (if not funnier in some cases) as the original. Rather than spouting off more praise, I can only urge you to buy this even if you dont have a DVD player! The scene with the limo driver singing frank sinatra numbers, stoned and naked is worth the 20 quid on its own. This is a seminal masterpiece which has never been (and I dont think it ever will be) beaten.
Spinal Tap. Not your everyday mulleted metal-rockers -- oh no, they're the loudest band in the world.
Or so says Marti DiBergi (played with a straight face by director Rob Reiner), in a hysterical "rockumentary" that focuses on the dumber side of rock'n'roll. "This is Spinal Tap" has become the quintessential rock'n'roll movie -- full of strangely lifelike jokes, gigantic hair, annoying girlfriends, hilarious acting, and a many an exploding drummer from time to time.
Spinal Tap, the loudest band in Britain, is returning to the US for the first time in years to promote their new album, "Smell The Glove." Trailing behind them is DiBergi, capturing every strange moment on film and interviewing the solemnly strange trio that makes up the core, Nigel (Christopher Guest), Derek (Harry Shearer), and David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean). Their many drummers have died in a series of bizarre freak accidents (including the vague "gardening accident"), choking on someone else's vomit, and spontaneous combustion).
Charting the history of the band (including psychedelic rock) to the present, DiBergi chronicles the controversy that springs up around "Smell the Glove"'s sexist cover ("What's wrong with being sexy?" "Sex-IST!"). After bizarre mishaps (a Stonehenge set the size of a cat), waning popularity and falling sales, the manager quits in anger and Nigel walks out. Is it the end of Spinal Tap?
One of the funniest ways make something funny is to stay really, really close to reality -- and that is where "This is Spinal Tap" strikes gold. It sticks JUST close enough to be semi-accurate, but remains just on the outside line of comedy -- basically, if you like laughtracks, gross-out humour and pratfalls, this isn't your kind of movie.
The humor is all the funnier because it's delivered in a deadpan manner: Nigel's amp that "goes to 11," the cucumber incident, or when Derek gets trapped in a plastic pod, and has to be freed via a desperate roadie with a blowtowtorch. And sprinkled in between are little interviews between DiBergi and the band, littered with hilarious quotables ("It's like fire and ice, basically. I feel my role in the band is to be somewhere in the middle of that, kind of like lukewarm water").
In fact, Reiner manages to craft a very believable rock'n'roll world, complete with label controversies, Sinatra-loving chauffeurs, groupies and frequent technical malfunctions. And the music... hoo boy, just try not to laugh at "Gimme Some Money," "Sex Farm," "Listen To The Flower People," and the sidesplitting "Big Bottom" ("Big bottoms drive me out of my mind/how could I leave that behind?"). Not to mention Nigel's ghastly Druid monologue.
And rock in-jokes are sprinkled liberally through the movie. There are homages to Black Sabbath (the teeny Stonehenge), Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin (playing a guitar with a violin), and countless other little jokes. Even Jeanine is based on famed rock girlfriends like Yoko Ono and Anita Pallenberg.
As for the actors... well, reportedly they made up a lot of their dialogue on the wing, which might explain why they are so unspeakably funny. You'd almost think they were real -- in fact, a few uninformed people have.
Guest and McKean form the core of the story, as the lovably clueless Nigel ("It's one louder") and the savvier, too-influenced-by-his-girlfriend David. These guys really rule the screen with their rambling dialogue and gigantic hair. The hairy Harry Shearer is less front-and-center, but both he's pretty funny too -- as is Reiner, who somehow manages to keep a straight face through it all.
"This is Spinal Tap" is the ultimate rock movie -- a funny, deadpan, wittily mocking little look at the world's loudest band. A treasure.
on 26 January 2014
Having been involved in the music business for many years I can truly say that, although a comedy "rockumentary", this film isn't all that far from the truth: a bit of hyperbole here and there but otherwise it hits the mark. Saying that even if you've no involvement in music you will find this film absorbing and very very funny.
The film basically revolve around the rock band Spinal Tap, their excesses and there fall from the top as music tastes change within their record company and their management goes from mistake to mistake. All the characters are larger than life but oddly endearing and believable. The scene with the customoised amplifiers is most often cited but there are many more e.g. the pods used to start a concert, the miniature Stonehenge....
Just one more thing, my cousins a drummer, what's his life insurance premium going to be?
on 13 January 2012
I'm surprised more reviewers haven't commented on the the two shoddy let-downs which spoil this set.
Of course, the film is fantastic - worth five of anybody's stars.
However, why is only half of the `Return of Spinal Tap` concert on this disc. It doesn't even fade out, it just stops without explanation after 57 minutes. I wish I'd watched this before my original copy had been taken down the charity shop - copies now sell at higher prices than you can buy this 3 disc set for!
Then there'd the Live Earth footage - again the footage just stops after one song (I think the band played three) ,and the short film isn't on the disc either.
Yes - there are plenty of high quality extras on here, but the omissions spoil the package for me.
May be the 30th anniversary edition will get it right?
Rob Reiner's hilarious spoof documentary about the so-called heavy metal band "Spinal Tap".
Spinal Tap's ardent fan, the curiously named Marty DiBergi, chronicles the band's American tour on film.
Some of the dialogue:
Marty DiBergi: "David St. Hubbins... I must admit I've never heard anybody with that name."
David St. Hubbins: " It's an unusual name, well, he was an unusual saint, he's not a very well known saint."
Marty DiBergi: "Oh, there actually is, uh... there was a Saint Hubbins?"
David St. Hubbins: "That's right, yes."
Marty DiBergi: " What was he the saint of?"
David St. Hubbins: " He was the patron saint of quality footwear."
What is worrying is that some of their spoof tracks sound better than the real thing...
Without this film, would we have had 'The Office'? Ricky Gervais cites this film as a major influence, and so do many of today's comedy innovators. Years ahead of its time, the film still feels fresh now and although the team responsible have made many excellent films and TV shows since, this is the one they'll be most remembered for. Outstanding in every regard. The rumour that 'The Darkness' would star in a remake...was just made up by me a minute ago (but wouldn't it be great?)
There can be little doubt that 'This Is Spinal Tap' is still very funny and also extremely influential. There are many memorable scenes, often quoted and I certainly won't bore you here by listing them. Actually, they are in danger of being over done. I just don't think there is any particular reason for yet another 'special edition' release of this classic movie. I have the previous two disc edition and I consider that more than enough.
There are a few new extras here with the main one being a new documentary on the movie featuring several famous talking heads. I enjoyed listening to Anvil the most here with their take on the movie and they are pretty funny(including the band member that never speaks, very Spinal Tap). The question is whether it is worthwhile stumping up your cash for this 25th anniversary edition. In my opinion it isn't as there isn't too much more on offer despite the extras, with a few of them already appearing on the earlier two disc release.
This is a classic that is really being milked now so if you want to own everything about this movie then the new extras will be worth it. For me though, enough is enough and I'm happy with the earlier special edition. What's the betting that there will be a 30th anniversary special??