Saturday, May 14, 2005

I Can Hold My Head Up HighAt Last!

I no longer have to be ashamed to admit that I have never seen This is Spinal Tap, as I purchased the DVD yesterday and watched the movie last night. Actually, I had seen clips of the most well-known parts of the movie, such as the amplifier that goes up to 11 or the band getting lost on the way to the stage or the Stonehenge debacle, and could bluff my way through when the film was discussed, but until last night I had never actually watched the entire film. While the film is great, some of the extras on the DVD are really amazing.
There's the "Music Videos" section which includes Gimme Some Money and (Listen to the) Flower People, excerpts of which are in the movie. These are dead on recreations of the look and sound of the 60's. If I didn't know that these were parodies shot in 1984, I would swear that these were the 60's TV variety shows they purport to be. Even the songs, while ostensibly parodies, could have been actual hits if they'd been around back then. That's how dead-on the parody is. (Which reminds me of the Turtles song Elinore, which was intended as a parody of the pop songs of the day, but was such a dead-on parody that no realized the song was meant as a joke and it became a huge hit.)
The film makers were just as adept at spoofing their own era with the Hell Hole video, which is a dead-on representation of the way videos were in the mid-80's (and sadly still are--the form doesn't seem to have evolved at all in 2 decades)
The deleted scenes are the biggest revelation on the disc. At over an hour of unused footage, it's practically a whole other movie. In fact,there's an entire subplot here concerning Derek's wife divorcing him that didn't make the film. This is a by-product of the way this film, and the later "mockumentary" films directed by Christopher Guest (picking up the mantle from Spinal Tap's Rob Reiner), are made. They shoot hours and hours of film and whittle it down to less than an hour and a half.
On the DVD of Waiting For Guffman, Guest reveals that he shot 58 hours of film for what became an 84 minute movie. (The Guffman DVD has a feature I've never seen on any other disc, but one that I just love. In addition to the commentary by Guest and co-writer Eugene Levy on the film itself, the deleted scenes come with a commentary track, allowing an extra glimpse into the mind of the film maker and the process of film making as they explain why each scene didn't make it into the final cut) Well, I've rambled on enough---catch you later.

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