THE LATE LATE REVIEW: THIS IS SPINAL TAP

Release Date: March 1984

Awards: It’s becoming ever more apparent that “cult classic” is just a long winded way of saying that awards panels don’t take it seriously despite the audience loving it. This movie continues the legacy of not winning anything.

Rating: The only film on IMDb to be rated out of 11 (you’ll get it if you’ve seen it), scoring a solid 7.9. 95% on the Tomatometer, with a 92% audience score.

The film which made The Edge from U2 cry is a “Rockumentary” about the fictional band Spinal Tap. Widely regarded as a spectacular send up of the rock music industry, the film follows Spinal Tap on their less than successful US tour promoting their album, Smell The Glove.

It’s honestly not hard to see why people thought this film was a genuine documentary. The characters aren’t a far cry from actual rock stars, and we’ve all seen interviews where a band take themselves a little too seriously and end up looking a bit daft. Harry Shearer (whose voice you might recognise from The Simpsons) plays Derek Smalls the bassist who reveres the two lead guitarists a little too much.

The two lead guitarists, David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel are played altogether too convincingly by Michael McKean and Christopher Guest. The dialogue was largely improvised owing to the ability in the cast to make it up so believably and these two manage to totally embody their characters.

The cast is rounded out with cameos from Billy Crystal, Tracey Ullman, Fran Drescher and Anjelica Huston amongst others. In spite of this, the movie was so convincing that many people believed Spinal Tap to be a real band and the film to be a genuine documentary.

It’s worth mentioning that musicians like Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page recognised similarities to real life in the movie, like getting lost in a labyrinth of backstage corridors. Lars Ulrich called the 1992 Metallica/Guns ‘N’ Roses tour “so Spinal Tap” and in response to Kurt Cobain‘s comment in an interview that “‘there’s never really been a good documentary on rock and roll bands”, Dave Grohl interjected “Except for Spinal Tap, [that] was the only rock movie worth watching”‘.

It is a stupidly entertaining movie, and really earns its Cult Classic status. The scenarios are hilarious, and I could watch the scene about the amps that go up to 11 on repeat for days. Also, the songs have some of the most offensive lyrics ever, and if that doesn’t convince you, then we have very different senses of humour.

Get and watch it if you haven’t already. You’ll thank me.

Is there an iconic film or album you think I should have experienced by now? Let me know @MoveToTRASHUK #latelatereview

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