Monday, November 24, 2008

I believe virtually everything I read, and I think that is what makes me more of a selective human than someone who doesn't believe anything.

Oh boy. Where to begin. If anything, This Is Spinal Tap is the reason I love the ridiculous side of rock and roll. Not because it's funny but because I can imagine rock stars are like this. Aloof, out of the realm of normal human beings and just straight up rock stars. Obviously, Spinal Tap isn't a real band Although their songs are pretty fucking wicked awesome, it's this spirit of the rock and roll mythos that is nothing short of hilarious. The minds working behind the film are all brilliant comedic heroes of mine. Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner really do the job right. They riff off of each other and the unending amount of hilarity that they achieve is nothing short of awesome.

For me, This Is Spinal Tap is a film best watched in a large group. Much like the cult followers of Rocky Horror Picture Show, it should be a joint gathering. Whether it's with friends who know every line like you do or if it's to show newcomers to the world of the Tap, it's a gratifying experience. The sheer power that this film has in it's comedy styling is unprecedented. There are few movies that I can safely say have me constantly laughing from start to finish. Take this for example:

...or this:

I could just post video after video, but I'd probably end up putting the entire movie up here.

My first time watching this was in grade school with the same friends who I loved the Python films with. High school, it was my band mates who shared in my revelry. In college, the radio show and commuter loungers were my humbled associates who joined in sweet, sweet laughter. Now, I watch it with a conglomeration of all of these great men and women. It's an event movie.

This Is Spinal Tap is also the catalyst for many other great "mockumentaries", many involving the same people involved here. It spawned the Christopher Guest series of hilarious films like Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. I'm sure it's not the first mockumentary, and it's not the first mock-rock-doc (remember The Rutles?) Regardless, it stands as one of the best forms of a truly hilarious documentary farce. There are some other great mock-docs like the harrowingly dark, yet still humorous Man Bites Dog. Something about this style just really draws me to it. You can create a universe and a culture and just run with the wakiest of ideas, yet we know that there are elements of the truth behind these satirizations.

I will safely say one of the greatest moments of my young-adult life started with a viewing of of Spinal Tap. It was the fabled 24-Hour Marathon at WEXP. During the first few hours, we watched both this film and Brain Candy, the Kids in the Hall movie. We would periodically go into the studio while watching the film and sit in on the regular shows that were being broadcasted, but it was the movie that got us all warmed up comedically for the next 20 hours or so of straight on-air tomfoolery. My association of that night to that film, as well as other great moments like the Fifth Step, the late night Caper, the call from a friend interviewing a homeless man and of course, the Babe Ruth Story. It was The Tap that got us into that silly vibe and it was gloriousness all around. I can safely say that it is the best way to get any creative comedy juices flowing and I will hold the film and these moments dearly for the rest of my days.

1. Cinema Paradiso (1988) dr. Giuseppe Tornatore
2. Rushmore (1998) dr. Wes Anderson
3. Jurassic Park (1993) dr. Steven Speilberg
4. It's A Wonderful Life (1946) dr. Frank Capra
5. Trust (1990) dr. Hal Hartley
6. Donnie Darko (2001) dr. Richard Kelly
7. On The Waterfront (1954) dr. Elia Kazan
8. Monty Python & The Holy Grail (1975) dr. Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam
9. Do The Right Thing (1989) dr. Spike Lee
10. Stop Making Sense (1984) dr. Johnathan Demme
11. Trekkies (1997) dr. Roger Nygard
12. Fight Club (1999) dr. David Fincher
13. The Sting (1973) dr. George Roy Hill
14. Ghost Busters (1984) dr. Ivan Reitman
15. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) dr. Rob Reiner

Up Next: Better Off Dead (1984) dr. "Savage" Steve Holland


gamesformay said...

oh hi Paul...just wanted to say...f-ing brilliant blog! named after a King Crimson album...someone from PA liking them, Floyd AND Pavement?! (they're 2 out of my 3 all time faves...Crimson being 4th and Radiohead being 3rd)

I used to live in Montgomery County, west of Philly...but now I'm in London studying music and media management. also love your taste in film, especially Rushmore, Fight Club, This is Spinal Tap and Ghostbusters! just wanted to let you know :D - Cassie

leo said...

I forgot that was part of the 'Thon, but I saw it so much during LA Salle, sometimes it's hard to distinguish when. I think Danno was the first to tell me about this and it's been an easy legend ever since.

There are so many things I can say about this, but one accomplishment that people might not think about is that this is one of the first movies that really made us want to buy DVDS and get a DVD player (all of my rommates did by the end of the year). They took advantage of the special features, since Reiner had a bunch of extra stuff he had to cut, and they had already made some for-TV: catching up" specials. If they weren't THE first, they had to be one of the earliest people to record a commentary in character, which is hilarious. They made it more bang for your buck.