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This is Spinal Tap (1984)

Rob Reiner is truly a versatile director. He has made some flops (the only one I ever sat through was North), but the hits he has made makes it near impossible to pick a favorite. How do you pick a favorite out of Stand by Me, The American President, When Harry Met Sally, A Few Good Men, Misery, and The Princess Bride? One thing can be said with confidence: the movie that got him to stardom as a director was This is Spinal Tap, which was once voted by Entertainment Weekly as the greatest cult film of all time.

This “rockumentary” follows the fictional band called Spinal Tap, known as one of Britain’s loudest bands (thanks to an idea of pushing their volume up to eleven, shown in one of cinema’s funniest moments). This, of course, despite the fact that so many drummers have died in the band’s history. What makes the movie so funny is that the band members are dumb, but not over the top. Over the top stupid characters can be funny, but when the characters are so sure of themselves that they fail to see how dumb they are, it is something special. One clear-cut example is when Nigel (Christopher Guest) is upset about the size of bread that comes with the snacks before a show.

It says something about a movie when it makes a fictional band that seems so non fictional. All of the actors (who also wrote the screenplay) are actually playing the music, and singing the songs. It has even been featured on guitar hero.

Parents, this movie is not for kids, but High Schoolers could do fine with it (there is some swearing, but mainly it is all the innuendo). This is Spinal Tap is clearly essential viewing for anyone who ever wants to be in a rock band. Just make sure you turn that volume up to 11.

Overall: Four and a Half Stars ****1/2

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