Thursday, March 12, 2020
Thursday Movie Picks: Spoofs, Satires, & Mockumentaries
In the 11th week of 2020 for Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We go into the subject of spoofs, satires, and mockumentaries. A genre that’s been a dying art of late thanks in part to unfunny comedians and no-talent cum-buckets in Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer who not only destroyed the spoof film genre but also catered to the lowest form of civilization. Fortunately, there are films of the past that reminds audiences of what is funny though recent films in other genres have manage to border into the realm of parody by following certain plot clichés and such. Here are my three picks all based on the music genre:
1. The Rutles: All You Need is Cash
From Monty Python co-founder Eric Idle and the late Python cohort Neil Innes is a spoof film based on the career of the Beatles with Idle playing multiple roles as the film’s narrator, a professor of applied narcotics, and a parody of Paul McCartney in Dirk McQuickly with Innes as the John Lennon parody in Ron Nasty. Along with John Halsey as the Ringo Starr parody in Barry Wom and Ricky Fataar as the George Harrison parody in Stig O’Hara. The film is an inventive spoof that play into the many journey of the Rutles with appearances from Bill Murray, John Belushi, Mick Jagger, Ron Wood, Bianca Jagger, Michael Palin, Paul Simon, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, and George Harrison as a TV reporter. It’s a hilarious tribute of sorts to the Beatles as Harrison’s cameo just adds to the fun while it should be noted that during the moment where the cast were shooting the spoof of the Abbey Road album cover. The actors were mistaken to be the Beatles by on-lookers while George Harrison is laughing from afar with fans unaware of his presence.
2. This is Spinal Tap
Rob Reiner’s groundbreaking film that marks as the mother of mockumentaries revolves around a British rock n’ roll band called Spinal Tap who started off as a skiffle group and then evolve into what was cool at the time before settling themselves into the world of heavy metal as they’re promoting their new album Smell the Glove. The tour is filled with all sorts of hijinks that weren’t just inspired by events and such that real-life rock n’ roll bands endured but also things that acts would deal with after the film’s release. Getting lost in an arena, having to change a controversial album cover, awful two-word reviews, stage mishaps, catering mishaps, technical issues, and badly-measured stage props one of which includes Stonehenge. Yet, there are also some amazing songs such as very touching Sex Farm which was a major hit song in Japan.
3. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
From director Jake Kasdan and co-writer Judd Apatow comes a film that definitely was spot-on about how clichéd the music bio-pic had become and every other music bio-pic that followed would play into. Starring John C. Reilly as the titular character who accidentally cut his brother in half in a machete fight, here’s a guy who would endure so many things that every other musician has done. He’s been in multiple marriages, did all kinds of drugs, went through many musical phases, and broke a lot of sinks. Yet, there’s some great music in the film while the cameo appearances from many others including Jack White as Elvis Presley yet the best cameo is in who play the Beatles with Paul Rudd as John Lennon, Justin Long as George Harrison, Jason Schwartzman as Ringo Starr, and Jack Black as Paul McCartney as they all take some LSD and become trippy cartoons.
© thevoid99 2020
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I'm a huge fan of The Rutles, which (if memory serves) came in part out of a show that Idle worked on before Python. The song spoofs are good--some of them are legitimately good songs--and the parody of the Beatles' career is spot-on.
Spinal Tap, of course, is the ne plus ultra of musical mockumentaries. It's funny, the songs are just stupid enough to be ridiculous without delving fully into Weird Al Yankovich territory, and the musicianship actually sells the whole thing. It's also hugely quotable.
I need to see Walk Hard. I know it tanked at the box office, but I've only heard good about it.
How have I never heard of The Rutles? That film looks great!
Ahh, those two a-holes you mentioned at the beginning completely ruined spoofs. Who knows when we'll actually see a funny one of those again.
I've seen This is Spinal Tap and Walk Hard and enjoy both. I love that marijuana scene in Walk Hard so much. "Is it expensive?" "it's the cheapest drug there is." looool
I haven't seen any of these.
I love that you went with a music theme for your picks, Steven! Sad to say I haven't seen any of these, This is Spinal Tap is one I've been curious about so I should check that out soon.
I don’t even know the 2 you speak about who have ruined spoofs. I have to see The Ruttles again as I hardly remember it but would love to see it again. Spinal Tap is one I have yet to see and it’s one that has been on my list. Your last pick I wasn’t sure about but I do like the actor so I’m willing to give it a shot.
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