A five star rating for a parody of hard rock and metal? Definitely!!
There’s a small minority of rock and metal fans that feel this movie is making fun of the music and thus don’t like the movie because of it. If they truly disliked the music, then why would they continue to perform the material and dress up in character almost 30 years after the movie’s release? Comedy is as big a passion for me as music is, and this is an excellent example of bringing the two together.
The main plot of the film centers on Spinal Tap, an aging British heavy rock band, as they struggle with their dwindling popularity in the midst of a US tour. The band deals with strange offstage moments, even some on-stage blunders, and this is where the movie gets much of its replay value. Discussions of their endless list of deceased drummers, complaining about the “tiny bread” with the catering, performing at an air force base, becoming an opening act to a puppet show, getting lost backstage, …. Endless classic moments!
Many rock and metal bands claim they thought this was a true documentary when it first was released. I can honestly see why some bands claim to have thought this film was a genuine documentary, even when you ignore the behind-the-scenes mayhem. When listening to the music, they have constructed songs that have the same energy and musicianship that you could find on many 70s/early 80s hard rock albums. And, yes, the lyrics to the songs are laced with either sexual innuendo (“Sex Farm”, “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You”, “Big Bottom”) or ridiculous fantasy themes (“Rock n Roll Creation”, “Stonehenge”), but they aren’t that far off what Ted Nugent or Kiss would sing about when fantasizing about school girls or some larger than life stage shows and lyrical concepts of prog rockers. A bit exaggerated, true, but sometimes a bit close to home. That’s what’s so great about the concert footage! Plus the visual quality of the film is highly reminiscent of concert documentaries of the time.
You don’t even have to be a big heavy metal fan to appreciate this movie. It was the first DVD I ever purchased, and it’s one of the first things I think of when I think of well-done musical parody and mockumentaries.