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Saturday, January 7, 2017

January Film Club

Happy New Year everyone!

2016 is finally dead and 2017 is here to take its place.  Rejoice as we dance upon its grave.

Now, down to business.  A new year means a whole new slew of films for Film Club!

I've decided to start off the new year with one of my favorite comedies of all time: Rob Reiner's masterful, This is Spinal Tap.

This is Spinal Tap is a 1984 American rock music mockumentary comedy film written, scored by, and starring Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer.  The film portrays the fictional British heavy metal band Spinal Tap.  Directed by Reiner, the movie satirizes the wild personal behavior and musical pretensions of hard rock and heavy metal bands, as well as the hagiographic tendencies of rock documentaries of the time.  Reiner and the three main actors are credited as the writers of the movie because they ad-libbed much of the dialogue.  Several dozen hours of footage were filmed before Reiner edited it to the released movie.  The three main members of Spinal Tap-David St. Hubbins, Derek Smalls and Nigel Tufnel-are played by actors McKean, Shearer, and Guest, respectively.  The three actors play their musical instruments and speak with mock English accents throughout the movie.  Reiner appears as Marty Di Bergi, the maker of the documentary.  Other actors in the movie are Tony Hendra as group manager Ian Faith, and June Chadwick as St. Hubbins' interfering girlfriend Jeanine. Actors Paul Shaffer, Fred Willard, Fran Drescher, Bruno Kirby, Howard Hesseman, Ed Begley Jr., Patrick Macnee, Anjelica Huston, Vicki Blue, Dana Carvey, Billy Crystal, Brinke Stevens, and Linnea Quigley all play supporting roles or make cameo appearances in the movie.  In 2002, This is Spinal Tap was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry.

The film holds a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes out of 61 critical reviews.  Roger Ebert awarded the film 4/4 stars, later adding it to his list of "Great Movies".  He said this of the film in his review: "There are a lot of great visual jokes, which I don't want to spoil, but there also are moments of inspired satire aimed at previous styles in rock films, as when we get glimpses of Spinal Tap in its earlier incarnations.  The film assumes that audiences will get most of the jokes.  I think that's right.  "Entertainment Tonight" and music TV and Barbara Walters specials have made show-business trade talk into national gossip, and one of the greatest pleasures of the movie is that it doesn't explain everything.  It simply, slyly, destroys one level of rock pomposity after another.  This is Spinal Tap, one of the funniest movies ever made, is about a lot of things, but one of them is the way the real story is not in the questions or in the answers, but at the edge of the frame.  There are two stories told in the film: the story of what the rock band Spinal Tap thinks, hopes, believes or fears is happening, and the story of what is actually happening.  The reason we feel such affection for its members is because they are so touching in their innocence and optimism.  Intoxicated by the sheer fun of being rock stars, they perform long after their sell-by date, to smaller and smaller audiences, for less and less money, still seeking the roar of the crowd."

Come on out and turn the New Year up to 11 with this wonderfully funny film.  Hope to see you there!

Here's the trailer:

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