Anvil: The Story of Anvil

2008 heavy metal documentary

Rating: 17/20

Plot: Lips and Robb Reiner (note the extra "b") have rocked as the founding members of heavy metal almost-wases Anvil since they met at fourteen. Now well into their fifties, they haven't given up the dream of becoming
rock 'n' roll gods. This documentary follows them on a disastrous European tour and the recording of their thirteenth album as they try to fulfill their dreams.

"Out in the schoolyard--
Little peaches play,
Rubbin' their beaves,
Got a lot to say."

At first, you just think you're watching some This Is Spinal Tap knock-off. Then, you realize it's not a mockumentary at all, that Anvil are real hosers who have been reaching for rock 'n' roll stars for about forty years. There are comic moments, including more than a few that recall Spinal Tap, but it's the very human moments that makes this one so special. You really grow to like Lips and Reiner, connect with their struggles, and root for them to taste at least a little bit of success. And I'll tell you without any shame, that I teared up quite a bit during one scene. It's likely going to be my favorite movie moment of the year, in fact. Sonically, Anvil's music isn't really my bag, but I was really impressed with Robb's drumming abilities. His stick work made it impossible for me not to hold up the devil horns. And I'll tell you what--I'd consider myself an artistic success if I had fans like Mad Dog and the guy who drank beer through his nose. A roller coaster of a documentary that juggles humorous moments, really sad scenes, and ultimately touching and beautiful footage this well should be seen by anybody regardless of how much they like bands that play their Flying-V's with a dildo.

Sir Kent recommended this little gem to me.


cory said...

This was one of my favorite movies from that year. You're right that it is a lot of things; funny, sad, inspirational. The film really humanizes these guys and their struggle to live the dream. I love the 80's footage and the ending was incredibly sweet (were you talking about the connection to the director?). If you don't go in expecting too much, this is a very touching and involving doc. Also a 17.

Shane said...

No, what really got me was when they had to play first in that Japanese metal festival and were walking to the stage expecting nobody to be there but then (probably because they're Japanese) the house was filled with super-enthusiastic fans. Lips walks out into the crowd as they start playing, and there's this look on his face that made me cry a bit.

Of course, I've cried about seven times today for absolutely no reasons, so maybe there's just something wrong with me.

cory said...

If you go to the special features, you can see that the director was an original fan and roadie. His love for this obscure band was obvious and when he gets his moment with the band onstage I was also very moved.

Kairow said...


You can't discuss this without mentioning "This is Spinal Tap." They are far too similar, but "Anvil" is kind and honest about the subjects. They jokes not on them, because it's not a joke. It is thier lives.