This is actually going to be a two part review. I was going to do my first double review of two unconnected movies (as opposed to whole trilogies like The Butterfly Effect or comparing a remake like Carrie), but decided to just split them into two separate reviews. So I’ll post this one tonight and the second one tomorrow night.
This Is Spinal Tap is a 1984 mockumentary directed by Rob Reiner and starring Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer. It follows fictional rock back Spinal Tap, which has been around for over seventeen years (at the time of the film), as they tour America for the first time in years.
It is shot so well that had I not known it was satire when I first saw it years ago, I’d have probably thought Spinal Tap was an actual band that I just somehow missed.
The film has multiple iconic scenes, most famously the “Turn it up to 11” scene. But one of my favourite scenes, one that never fails to make me laugh, is when the band is standing at Elvis’ grave trying to harmonize to Heartbreak Hotel.
As mentioned above, the film makes this feel like a real band. So much so that I’m kind of curious what they’d be doing today. There have been a couple of updates, but nothing as big as an official full scale sequel.
The four main actors went on to become legends in their own right.
Rob Reiner, who both directed it and played the fictional director, Marty Di Bergi, finished the ’80s by directing Stand By Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally. He started the ’90s by directing the Stephen King classic Misery. He’s done quite a few between then and now, with an upcoming film, Shock and Awe, in the works.
This Is Spinal Tap really set the bar for future mockumentaries. Countless have been made in the over thirty years since it’s release, and there are very few that are even worth mentioning. However, there is one that came out fairly recently which I think is the closest thing to a modern This Is Spinal Tap we could have hoped for. That will be the subject of tomorrow’s review. Never thought I would say this on a Casabloga review, but…
TO BE CONTINUED…