The next film on the Memorial Day Movie Binge Watch Weekend is one of the greatest films of all time and certainly the greatest mockumentary ever produced. It is a movie about a fictional band that turned out to release a couple of actual albums: director Rob Reiner’s This is Spinal Tap.
I first saw this film my freshmen year at the University of Iowa at a showing at the Iowa Memorial Union. My roommate took me to the showing and we absolutely loved it. I did not know until later that this film had been out for three years already and the showing at the Union was a re-showing. I became obsessed with Spinal Tap, purchasing the soundtrack and playing it consistently.
Spinal Tap, made up of David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) and Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer), is shown by documentarian Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner) as they return for an American tour trying to support a new album despite a declining fan base.
Like most of Christopher Guest’s movies, this is mostly improvisation showing how amazing these performers are. The film is remarkably funny and the banter and dialogue of the band is a huge part of that. It is clear that these men have worked together for years
There are many situations portrayed in This is Spinal Tap that may seem ridiculous, but have really happened to other rock stars. There have been many rock stars who say the scene where Spinal Tap gets lost backstage has happened to them as well.
The whole arrival of Jeannie (June Chadwick) is meant as a parody of Yoko Ono and her affect on the Beatles. The album cover controversy which many heavy metal bands faced.
This is Spinal Tap is one of the most quotable films of all time. Lines such as “This one goes to 11,” or “You know, several, you know, dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It’s just not really widely reported,” or “You can’t really dust for vomit.”
It is one of the greats and I loved getting a chance to watch it, sing along with it, and laugh at the absurdity once again. It is a satire done with love.