This is Spinal Tap @ Tribeca Film Festival

Part of Tribeca’s roster is made up of previously released films which are celebrating anniversaries. This is Spinal Tap, directed by Rob Reiner (A Few Good Men, Misery), was originally released in 1984. That makes the film an amazing 35 years old! Boy, does time fly! This rock mockumentary is still being enjoyed by music and film fans alike today.

Spinal Tap had built its reputation as England’s loudest heavy metal band and enjoyed huge popularity back in the day. The year is now 1982 and they are no where on the musical radar. So the guys in the band decide to kickstart their comeback in America by going on tour.

The tour is to promote their new album, Smell the Glove and is touted to be so large that it has attracted some attention even before it begins. Coming along with them on the tour to document it all is fan and filmmaker Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner – from television’s All in the Family). Despite their big hopes, the tour does not go as they expected. In the beginning they played to sold out crowds, but as things go the number of tickets sold decreases to the point that they are reduced to playing charity benefits. Rock bottom is hit when they start playing private parties at which no one even listens to them.

When Smell the Glove comes out it receives rather good reviews overall from the critics, but the sexist nature of the album cover results in record stores not wanting to sell it. Sales are low. On top of this things start really going wrong with the tour. Problems with sets and poor album sales result in shows being cancelled. As if things weren’t bad enough a band member’s girlfriend arrives and indicates she would like to act as the band’s manager causing plenty of tension.

It is one of those films in which lines are repeated over and over. Certainly has made its mark. So a part of pop culture that even those who have not seen the film (there are amazingly a few) will know bits of dialogue. Who hasn’t made a reference to the turning the dial up to 11? Plus there are plenty of really clever scenes like the Stonehenge dance and the inability to find their way from their dressing room to the stage at a show in Cleveland. Precious few of the scenes in the 80-odd minutes will not have you chuckling at one point or another.

One of the best satires of the rock and roll industry even put on film, This is Spinal Tap has been adored for decades. The reason it works is that though it seems rather over the top in actuality it is rather bang on. Even though it is a parody it still looks at rock and roll lovingly. That is a big part of its appeal; that it still loves the music world. Not nasty, just funny. Shows how silly the music world inherently is in a brilliant and hilarious way.

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