Friday, May 30, 2003

May 30, 2003
On our roadtrip last weekend my son Thomas was reading aloud from a magazine article on the “Top 50 Cult Movies of All Time.” We were all comparing notes on whether we had seen them. “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” seen it. “Blade Runner,” seen it. “Evil Dead II,” Tommy owns it and has seen it dozens of times. “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure,” seen it. But then he got to number one, “This is Spinal Tap” and both my kids shrugged and admitted they had never even heard of it. This was crushing to me. What a lousy parent I have been. I put the pedal to the metal and vowed to go straight to the nearest Blockbuster Video Store and rent the classic. Unfortunately there is no Blockbuster Video in Cliff, New Mexico, and although there is a Blockbuster in Carefree, Arizona they don’t carry it (Oh, the horror, the horror!).

I mentioned this at a TW staff meeting and no sooner had I got back to my office than Minnesota Mike came in and said, “Here’s a tape of 'Spinal Tap.' Don’t lose it. This is a Melrose family heirloom.”

For the past two nights we have watched this amazing Rockumentary and it gets better with every viewing. The same guys who did “Tap,” Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer also star and made the new film “A Mighty Wind,” which is a parody of folk music. “Spinal Tap” is a parody of English metal bands, but I’ve heard that Aerosmith was really upset when this came out (1982) because they thought it was their life story. Ha. If you’ve seen Behind The Music you’ll know why. The band manager Ian Faith is played by Tony Hendra who was the editor of National Lampoon magazine in the seventies and in fact flew to Phoenix to hang out with Daniel Harshberger and I at the Razz Revue (we co-produced a humor magazine from 1972-76). So it’s a bit weird to see him in this classic movie (he’s brilliant by the way). Another treat is the many cameos by future stars like Billy Crystal, Dana Carvy, Fran Dressler (sp?), Angelica Huston to name a few. The music head honcho, Eaten Hogg, is played by Gene Barry, the guy who played Bat Masterson in the old TV series (he seems clueless to what is going on in this movie which is also perfect). If I remember correctly, one of the parody songs they play in the movie actually charted

If you’ve ever played in a band you have to see this movie. They've got amplifiers that go "up to 11." One of my favorite lines: “There is such a fine line between stupid and clever.”

“If it is true that we have sprung from the ape, there are occasions when my own spring appears not to have been very far.”
—Cornelia Otis Skinner

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