Wednesday, May 26, 2010

“Anvil! The Story of Anvil”

I have to admit that my knowledge of heavy metal is limited. So I hope you’ll forgive me for thinking that “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” was a “This is Spinal Tap” ripoff. Everything about it felt like a rock and rock cliché. From the album covers (each featuring an anvil), the names of the band members, Lipps and Robb Reiner, (How could you not think his name is a tip of the hat to “Spinal Tap’s” director, Rob Reiner?) to the seemingly improbable streak of bad luck on their European tour. But after a quick search, it turns out that Anvil is (or rather was) the real deal. And that changed my whole perception of the movie. While it was enjoyable from the beginning, once I knew Anvil was started by a couple of 14-year-olds in the 1970s and influenced such monsters in metal as Anthrax and Metallica, only to have their dreams evaporate, the story takes on a certain poignancy. It’s now 30 years later and Lipps, the front man and driving force behind Anvil, is working at an industrial catering company, delivering food to schools. He has hope against hope that if Anvil plays that one great concert, produces that one great album, that the band can recapture its former glory. He, Robb and the rest of Anvil take off on a European concert tour, which is an unmitigated disaster. They’re playing to tiny audiences in obscure venues, traveling in what seems like steerage, and having to fight to get paid for performing. They return home, down but not out, and at their own expense, cut their 13th album (what Lipps and Rob believe is their best ever), shop it around and get courteous “no thank yous.” Throughout the entire ordeal, Lipps remains a true believer. And after seeing his hopes dashed throughout the film, it ends with Anvil playing a concert in Japan. Which make him (and me) believe that there’s hope after all. My Tweet: Anvil! The Story of Anvil-Documentary about the nearly famous and now obscure metal band should’ve been titled “All You Need is Luck.” 7.5 (out of 10)

Anvil! The Story of Anvil”

Released: 2008

Rating: NR

Length: 90 minutes

Cast: Steve "Lips" Kudlow, Robb Reiner, Malcolm Dome, Lars Ulrich, Scott Ian, Lemmy, Slash

Director: Sacha Gervasi

Genre(s): Documentary, Music

1 comment:

  1. Got the screener for it during last years' Spirit Awards. The documentary is well-done, but it made me feel terrible for their wives. It's actually very very sad when one of them says something along the lines of realizing that it's never going to happen, that they should grow up.

    I was on the IMDb boards and, well... I guess a lot of the Anvil fans, they were mad at the wives saying they weren't supportive enough. I was surprised, considering they've been there for 30 years...

    So so sad.