Really Late Review – This is Spinal Tap (1984)

On so many levels, This Is Spinal Tap keeps on giving. First, Rob Reiner co-wrote and directed it. His ability as a Hollywood A level writer/actor/director comes through and its a kick in the “wayback” to see him with hair. 

Second, there is a rotating cast of characters in this movie with cameo roles you may want to rewatch it again to see if you missed anyone. I missed Dana Carvey first time through.

Third, the story line is at the same time absurd and yet plausible.

Fourth, it would be almost impossible to have lived in this hemisphere in the past 35 years and not have heard some of the lines from the movie used in pop culture. “How much blacker could it be? None. None more black.” “That’s a beautiful melody. Whats the piece called? ‘Lick My Love Pump.” “Mine goes to eleven….it’s like one louder.”

The Rockumentary follows the band Spinal Tap on a tour across the country. The movie follows the band through every cliche and oft-told situation that one imagines happens to a band in the course of its existence. “Hello Cleveland!”  From a mess of canker sores to whining about  the way the sandwiches are cut in the dressing room, nothing is missed.

During the tour, ticket sales slow down and dates are cancelled. A mutiny takes place in the band and the main creative duo are cleaved apart by one of the girlfriends. A record release party and a record store appearance fall short. And how much closer to the bottom can you get when you play a gig at an airforce base and your wireless microphones are on the same frequency as the control tower operators?

I’m sure there are still record company reps who cringe at being called Artie Fufkin, truly the funniest role Paul Shafer has ever played. “It’s my fault. I’m gonna kick my own ass!” And hasn’t every band had a drummer who died of spontaneous combustion or a bizarre gardening accident?

Suspend your disbelief and don’t bother taking notes. If you have ever been in a band, worked for a record label, been a concert/event promoter OR have ever been to a concert, bought a record, listened to a song or have drawn a breath of air, this movie is for you.

The review may be late, but, never fear, the movie holds up.

~Derek Botten

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1 thought on “Really Late Review – This is Spinal Tap (1984)”

  1. It never gets old. Belly laughs every time.

    Tip: rent the DVD and watch it with the band members’ (in character) commentary. It is hilarious, as are extra scenes.

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