Wednesday, June 10, 2015

34: This Is Spinal Tap

It is said that numerous famous rock musicians and bands do not like 'This Is Spinal Tap' beacuse it's so close to their own experience it's unfunny, and even slightly spooky. It is also said that many people, for many years (continuing to this day) believe 'This Is Spinal Tap' to be an actual documentary about an actual band, despite the fact that the principal actors themselves are famous for many other things. The actors themselves have somewhat perpetuated this by performing shows and even tours as 'Spinal Tap', thereby raising the question of whether they are, in fact, a real band.

The fact remains, however, that the film itself - 'This Is Spinal Tap' - was created originally as a spoof documentary about a pretend rock band, mocking both the musicians of the day and the documentary style itself that is still very familiar today. Mostly ad-libbed and then created by Rob Reiner from editing the huge amount of material this produced, it works on so many levels and even follow-up releases such as the DVDs contain commentary tracks with the actors discussing the movie scene-by-scene actually IN CHARACTER as the band themselves. So, in many ways, 'This Is Spinal Tap' (and indeed the entire universe created around it) can best be seen as a sort of long-form improvisational comedy routine.

Mostly, of course, it's funny. And as a music fan it's fun to watch it just to figure out who (or what) is being parodied at any given moment, and beyond that just to recall the set-piece sketches, whether it's the stonehenge prop disaster, the airport metal detector moment or the spontaneously-combusting drummers. And you just know they must have had a ridiculous amount of quality footage that they simply didn't use. Genius stuff.

And all that without mentioning that it goes up to eleven.

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