Title – This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Director – Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally)
Cast – Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Tony Hendra, Rob Reiner
Plot – Filmmaker Marty DiBergi (Reiner) follows rock n roll band Spinal Tap on a fateful tour around the United States. The band features many a character from lead singer David St. Hubbins (McKean), guitarist and backup singer Nigel Tufnel (Guest), bearded bassist Derek Smalls (Shearer) and dedicated if not entirely astute manager Ian Faith (Hendra).
“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”
Review by Eddie on 18/02/2014
This is Spinal Tap is so entrenched into popular and movie culture that it feels like there is nothing new to say about this joyous and quite frankly awesome mocumentary that without a doubt would be more true to the facts that many would care to pay mention to. What can be said about Spinal Tap is if you have not yet partaken in its journey to the depths of a band keeping it’s head barely above water seek it out today.
Doing things previously un-thought of the team behind Spinal Tap fully inhabited there over the top characters to the point of many not actually knowing if the men clad in tight spandex and flowing hair were in fact real or fake. The length the group went to to inhabit these characters is not dissimilar to a Sacha Baron Coen effort of actually melting into their creation and becoming the character. Look no further than Nigel Tufnel (played fantastically by future director Guest) showing off his guitar and amp collection or one single look at Derek Smalls beard for proof of this. These fantastic and committed performances would be nothing however if the Spinal Tap band were not ready to rock your socks off.
Spinal Tap features many a performance by the band each offering up a raucous and energetic rendition of their hit songs from “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight” through to “Big Bottom”, these gig set pieces are highlights of the film from the fantastically staged “Pod” appearance, the Stonehenge money shot or the bands playing of an Army Airbase with air traffic control interference all are laugh out loud funny moments and give the film a vibe that cannot be faked. The film also however reveals in smaller moments from band manager Ian’s obsession with having a cricket bat or a party catered for by waiters dressed as mimes (spot the Billy Crystal cameo here), these are but a few examples of the film working on many different comedic levels.
Holding firm today with its reputation as one of the all-time funniest movies, This is Spinal Tap will forever be a career peak for all involved. Grab yourself a Hi-Def remastering, crank the sound up to 11 and enjoy the 80 minute ride with a band that is always ready to rock, no matter what the interference.
4 undersized stage props out of 5
- ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare’: The origin of Spinal Tap (dangerousminds.net)
- Life imitates comedy: Spinal Tap uncannily anticipated Black Sabbath’s very own Stonehenge debacle (dangerousminds.net)
- Spinal Tap’s first performance from 1979, 5 years before their movie (twentytwowords.com)