This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

DVD Cover (Criterion Collection)
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Overall Rating 72%
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Ranked #1,012
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Connections: Spinal Tap

In 1982, the legendary English heavy metal band Spinal Tap attempt an American comeback tour accompanied by a fan who is also a film-maker. The resulting documentary, interspersed with powerful performances of Tap's pivotal music and profound lyrics, candidly follows a rock group heading towards crisis, culminating in the infamous affair of the eighteen-inch-high Stonehenge stage prop. --IMDb
Rob Reiner
Rob Reiner
Kimberly Stringer
Kimberly Stringer
Chazz Dominguez
Chazz Dominguez
Shari Hall
Shari Hall
R.J. Parnell
R.J. Parnell
Review by Nirrad
Added: June 29, 2008
I decided to look into the suggested movies list and pick a movie out of there to add to the site. I had suggested this movie a long time ago, yet I don't know why I just didn't do it myself considering it's one of my favorite movies. So after 8 months stuck in the "suggest a movie" abyss, I release to you "This Is Spinal Tap".

Rob Reiner has quite an impressive resume as you all know, but it was this movie that eventually put him on the map. While it didn't really do well at the box office, it was a big enough step for him to lead to greater accomplishments. But like I said, even though it didn't do well in the box office, it still went on to eventually become a cult classic. By now mostly everyone has seen the movie, or they at least know a lot of the jokes from the movie. Even the new Guitar Hero game features a joke from the movie in the opening sequence.

This Is Spinal Tap opens to filmmaker Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner) who gives us a speech about a band that he has been following on their previous tour. He wants to show us what its like to be in a band, and what happens behind the stage. Unfortunately for the band, it shows us that they really aren't great musicians, or that intelligent. Marty sits down with the members of the band: David (Michael McKean), Nigel (Christopher Guest), Derek (Harry Shearer), and the forgotten. Marty starts to quote critics with their review from past Spinal Taps records, of course each one is negative and the final one ends with hilarious results. We also find out that the band has been through numerous drummers. It appears that a drummer dies each year from random encounters.

As the band starts to tour the US in anticipation for their new album, they find themselves constantly at road blocks. They find out that their album cover for the new record entitled "Smell the Glove" is completely sexist and some stores refused to sell the record unless the cover is changed. They eventually have to start canceling dates due to low ticket sales and poor promotion. To top it off, they have a "big" problem with one of the stage sets. Unhappy with the way things are turning out, David decides to let his girlfriend help manage the band. Manager Ian Faith (Tony Hendra) disagrees with the idea and quits on the spot.

Nigel and David's girlfriend never get along, and this only causes problems on tour. So much that Nigel decides to quit as well. So what is a band to do without their manager and lead guitarist? Will the band pull through? Or will they just end their career on a low point?

This movie is a classic. I have watched this many times and have yet to get sick of it. People who have never seen the movie will recognize a lot of the jokes here. They have been quoted to death, and have been used on numerous occasions. Even though this is a fake documentary, they really do make it feel authentic with the camera, and most importantly the situations and reactions. Back in the 1980's when this movie was released; a lot of rock stars couldn't watch the movie, not because it was terrible, but because it was so close to reality it wasn't even funny. Every problem that occurs in the movie actually happened to other bands one time or another. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith once said that it was like watching the story of his life.

Performances are all well done, so good that when the movie was released, people thought it was a real band. They even asked Rob Reiner why he picked such a lousy and goofy band. I bet they were surprised when they found out they were fooled.

I strongly recommend you give this one a shot, it's pretty entertaining. You might even recognize one of the actors, or more importantly, his voice.

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