This Is Spinal Tap!

Rock On!

Main Cast: Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner

Director: Rob Reiner

This is the first of three reviews of something not within the standard Hollywood genre, the mockumentary. This one is a classic, imitated by many others, and with good reason.

This concerns the rock ‘n roll band Spinal Tap. The director (Reiner) has been granted permission by the band to follow them around during their comeback tour in the United States. He dutifully chronicles their slow slide down into oblivion, including all the back-stabbing, arguments, and bad decisions that led them to this fate. They start off in 15,000 seat arenas and end up second-billed to a puppet show in a local fair. How the mighty have fallen!

Two lifelong friends, David St. Hubbins (McKean) and Nigel Tufnel (Guest), lead the band, and even their friendship is tested when things go sour. There are many hilarious scenes in the movie: the parade of guitars, the famous “it goes to 11”, the black album cover, and their visit to Elvis’s grave are but just a few. Oh yes: the parade of drummers is also a trip, and we see this copied in many other different works, including Harry Potter of all places! (I am convinced that the revolving Master of Dark Arts position in each book is a nice homage to this movie.)

The entire tone if the film is one sly wink, to a number of character actor walk-ins, including that so very beautiful but with so an annoying voice, Fran Drescher. Her take of a record company executive is spot-on perfect.

Please, simply buy or rent this one and check it out. It doesn’t matter if you like the music (although it was written and performed by McKean and Guest), it’s not about the music. It’s about the relationships.

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