Tuesday, June 3, 2014

This is Spinal Tap

This is Spinal Tap; comedy/ mockumentary, USA, 1984; D: Rob Reiner, S: Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Tony Hendra, David Kaff, R. J. Parnell, Bruno Kirby, Ed Begley, Jr., Fran Drescher, Patrick Macnee, Fred Willard, Billy Crystal, Dana Carvey, Anjelica Huston

Director Marty Di Bergi is making a documentary about an obscure British rock group, Spinal Tap. It consists out of two best friends, Nigel and David, as well as bassist Derek, keyboardist Viv and several new drummers, because each one died time and time again from mysterious circumstances. The camera follows their tour, their problems regarding a controversial cover art of their album, them becoming lost in a behind-the-stage tunnel, getting a too small replica of Stonehenge on stage... Nigel eventually leaves the band, but returns and enables them to continue.

The directorial debut film of Rob Reiner, comedy mockumentary "This is Spinal Tap" did not initially spark interest at the box office, yet its growing following with time managed to retroactively advance it into a status of a cult film. The movie wonders only between funny and simple, yet between those two frequencies it manages to mold enough of versatile events that cause a "reaction" among the viewers than many more complex films with a wider spectrum of themes. It never reaches the heights of its brilliant, purely fantastic forerunner, "The Rutles" - that evidently also had even better original songs - and has a fair share of jokes that backfire (for instance, the joke of the sexist image of the cover of their album is done to death in an overlong 4 minute sequence, even though the joke was never funny to begin with) as well as a few empty scenes, yet overall, "Spinal Tap" has more than enough quietly funny jokes to justify its existence, whether they arrive through dialogues ("On what day did God create Spinal Tap? And why couldn't he have rested that day?"; "Is this the end of Spinal Tap?" - "I don't think that the end can be assessed as of itself as being the end because what does the end feel like? It's like trying to extrapolate the end of the universe, you say, if the universe is infinite, then what does that mean? How fair is all the way, and then if it stops, what's stopping, and what's behind what's stopping it?") or observations (the by now classic scene where director Reiner speaks with the fictional Spinal Tap member Nigel, who explains him that he had create an amplifier with several volume knobs that go from 1 to 11, to get some extra loud sound, because "10 is not enough"). The most was achieved out of the two leads, great Michael McKean and Christopher Guest, who gave a spot on performance as David and Nigel, the two dimwitted rockers.


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