Since 1978, Anvil has become one of heavy metal's most influential yet commercially unsuccessful acts. In 2006, after a fledging European tour Anvil sets out to record their thirteenth album and continue to follow their dreams.
A documentary crew followed Metallica for the better part of 2001-2003, a time of tension and release for the rock band, as they recorded their album St. Anger, fought bitterly, and sought the counsel of their on-call shrink.
At 14, best friends Robb Reiner and Lips made a pact to rock together forever. Their band, Anvil, hailed as the "demi-gods of Canadian metal, " influenced a musical generation that includes Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, despite never hitting the big time. Following a calamitous European tour, Lips and Robb, now in their fifties, set off to record their 13th album in one last attempt to fulfill their boyhood dreams. Written by
What a great documentary. By turns hilarious, heartbreaking, warm, touching, head- scratching, and full of more edge of your seat suspense than any 10 Hollywood thrillers. It's been called the "real life Spinal Tap," and these metalheads surely do walk the fine line between genius and stupid, but it's got so much more heart and humanity than that. It reminded me more of "American Movie," another great documentary about the unstoppable creative urge and the do-it-yourself-or-die-trying spirit. Lips and Robbo, the two fiftysomething never-say-never-again rockers at the heart of the film, are such fascinating, lovable characters, half heroes, half putzes, partly delusional, yet partly triumphant too. They're good at what they do, they know it and love it and can't stop doing it, even though the music industry passed them over a long, long time ago. They caught all the bad breaks they possibly could, but they didn't let that stop them. As the movie follows them on an agonizing (and yet hilarious) European tour, their attempts to get anyone in the record industry interested in their 13th LP, and an out-of-nowhere gig in Japan, you root for them and fret for them more than any characters in any recent film. That's because, of course, this isn't a film about rock n roll, or about these two guys even -- it really is one of those films that's about all of us, our fears and dreams, our success and failures, our genius moments and our putzy ones. No kidding, not just one of the best docs I've seen in recent years, but one of the mot touching and affecting movies, period.
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