Okay Documentary lovers I just saw this doc last night and I loved it. Imagine Spinal Tap meets Forest Gump! It’s still in select theaters so if you can go see it on the big screen.
In the early 1980s, the Canadian metal band Anvil wrote the thrash blueprint for followers like Anthrax, Metallica, and Slayer. While those bands went on to become metal titans, Anvil faded into obscurity–so much that decades later, the band’s core members–guitarist Steve “Lips” Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner–work menial day-jobs even as they continue to churn out little-heard records and dream of rock-star success. Director Sacha Gervasi (who was once a roadie for the band) chronicles the duo’s efforts to regain their ’80s glory in the funny and touching documentary ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL.
As the camera follows Anvil on a European tour organized by an inept manager and beset by comical, this-can’t-be-real moments–flubbed itineraries, audiences that can be counted on one hand, club owners who refuse to pay for gigs–it might be easy to mistake ANVIL! for a THIS IS SPINAL TAP mockumentary. But despite the snicker-inducing heavy-metal trappings, this is also a warmly human portrait of two men pursuing their creative passions despite Sisyphean odds.
The film is at its best when it explores the codependent friendship between the optimistic Lips and the more pragmatic Reiner (the two bicker like an old married couple); their relationships with their families (some of whom are still supportive and others who wish the fiftysomething pair would just grow up); and the difficulties of pursing a career in music (while Lips’s siblings are solidly middle-class, the guys in Anvil just wanna rock–and they have made financial sacrifices to do so). Their struggles will ring true to anyone who has felt the pull of the artist’s life and wondered whether it would ever pay off. In Anvil’s case, audiences will be rooting for them to finally make it to the big time.