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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

10 years of Flick Filosopher: heavy duty documentary

I’m still stuned that I loved, loved, loved this movie as much as I did. From my review of Metallica Some Kind of Monster:

If This Is Spinal Tap had been a drama, it would have been Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.

Now, I don’t mean to demean Metallica or disparage the film by likening them or it to a mockumentary in which the “mock” equates to “ridiculing” as much as to “fake.” Not at all. It’s just that Tap so overshadows the genre of the rock movie that it’s almost impossible not to see the spectre of Tap in a film about a heavy-metal band looking to reinvent itself and nearly disintegrating in the process. Especially not when this is the first movie about music I’ve seen since Tap that is as profoundly moving, if in the opposite direction: If Tap attained a kind of comic genius in its skewering of heavy metal, Monster lends it a dramatic new gravitas. I’m not a Metallica fan and I’m not sure I even particularly like their music, but this extraordinarily powerful and intimate film had moved me to tears by the time it was over. Monster could redefine what the genre can and should achieve; it may well be the new yardstick against which the next 20 years of rock movies will be measured.

review of Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, posted 07.29.04

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  • JSW

    Actually, they already did a drama version of Spinal Tap a few years back, called Hard Core Logo. It was pretty cool.

  • MaryAnn

    I’m not familiar with that film.

  • Jan Willem

    I subtitled the first half of this documentary when it was broadcast on Dutch television some two years ago. However, unlike MaryAnn I did not find it especially moving. Quite the contrary: I thought it very funny indeed in places and was frequently reminded of – yes, I know it’s predictable – Spinal Tap. The two most striking characters were this weirdly manipulative mental coach, always wearing unsightly bland sweaters amidst the metal rockers and the drummer Lars Ulrich’s bearded father – who apparently played at Wimbledon for four decades – of whom Lars was still in awe after all those years. The tears of Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, who still smarted after being kicked out of Metallica in the eighties, were also a sight to behold. I will admit I’m no Metallica fan either, which may help explain my ironic take of film.

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