I'm beginning this review operating under the assumption that everyone reading has already seen Spinal Tap. If not, I want you to stop reading, open a new tab, and type in "This is Spinal Tap watch online free". Trust me, the viruses you're going to get will be totally worth it.
This is a hard movie to review for me, if only because if left unchecked, it will quickly descend into a "this part was hilarious, and this was really funny, and I died laughing at this" sort of thing. So I decided that rather than fighting it, I would just let it happen, in the form of a good old-fashioned top eleven list. I would have done ten, but...well, you know.
So without further ado:
The Top Eleven Greatest Moments in Spinal Tap
11. Every single glare Nigel shoots at Janine. Like Yoko Ono, Janine is blamed for breaking up her boyfriend's amazing band, but unlike Yoko Ono, actually is responsible because she's the worst person in the world. Janine, with your Zodiac-themed face paint and "Dobly" sound system, JUST LEAVE.
10. When the gang are in Graceland and stop by the King's grave. Their impromptu acapella performance of Heartbreak Hotel is just this side of agonizing, and gives everyone a little too much fucking perspective. Listening to them struggle for harmonies and bicker over whether their tribute sounds too raga or barbershop is equal parts painful and hilarious.
9. Pretty much everything to do with this man.
From his decision to respond to Ian's angry question of how they're going to fit 14 people in a king leisure bed with "Don't tempt me, sir," to his quietly indignant assertion that he's just as God made him, he is a national treasure.
Unfortunately, writing this made me discover via IMDB that Paul Benedict died back in 2008. RIP good sir.
8. The extended sequence where Tap are lost backstage at one of their shows, and keep getting turned around, repeatedly returning to the bemused janitor who first gave them directions to the stage. "Rock and roll!" I would bet money that this happened to more 70s rockers than are willing to admit.
7. In all of film history, there are few moments that cause more secondhand embarrassment than the scene in Spinal Tap where the band is sitting dejectedly at a record store album signing with a crowd of exactly zero people. You know how sometimes you're taking a shower and out of nowhere you're suddenly struck with the memory of something embarrassing you did in like third grade? I frequently think of this scene, and it didn't even happen to me.
6. Nigel's temper tantrum over the state of the sandwich tray in their dressing room. He just keeps folding the bread over and over...
5. Marty reads the reviews of several Spinal Tap albums, which includes the following:
Which is, of course, just nitpicking, innit?
4. The brief flashes of actual artistic merit. Nigel and David sing the bluesy song they apparently wrote when they were seven or eight years old, and it's miles better than anything they wrote as adults. See also: Nigel's beautifully sad piano composition, aptly titled, "Lick My Love Pump."
3. One of my favorite visual gags throughout the film is the rapidly diminishing status of the band as shown through the signs at their booked venues. Which give us gems like these:
2. The solemn conversation Tap has about all of their former drummers dying in unusual circumstances. The first involved a gardening incident so bizarre the authorities elected not to investigate any further. Their next drummer asphyxiated on someone else's vomit. Of course, they're not sure whose vomit it was, because as bass player Derek Smalls cleverly points out, "You can't dust for vomit." Then there's the spontaneous combustion which, quite frankly, the less said about it the better.
This leads into a surreal discussion that sees Marty chatting with the current Spinal Tap drummer (who is in the bathtub, because why not?) about the odds of his survival given the band's macabre history with drummers. I would look up the drummer's name, but there's not really much point because (SPOILER ALERT) he does not make it to the end of the film.
1. Ladies and gentlemen, I present without commentary, the Stonehenge sequence.
I don't want to overstate things, but possibly one of the greatest lines in film history is, "I think that the problem may have been that there was a Stonehenge monument on stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf."
And the icing on the cake is when Derek Smalls, ever the pragmatist, asked what everyone was wondering, "Can I raise a practical question at this point? Are we gonna do "Stonehenge" tomorrow?"