***EDIT (March 30, 2014)***
Wow! I never would have expected that I'd get anywhere close to 100 likes on this…
The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years
It's more than music...it's a way of life.
This flick interviews up and coming glam bands who made their home in the L.A. scene. Also interviewed are some of the genre's idols including Kiss, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Poison, Megadeth, Lemmy from Motorhead and of course, Ozzy. Also, spotlighted performances from bands such as Faster Pussycat, Odin, London (Nikki Sixx's old band), Seduce and Megadeth. The movie's range of topics include groupies, alcoholism, drugs, the glam image and why it attracted so many people from many walks of life. The movie's funniest (and saddest) segment includes filmmaker Penelope Spheeris's attempt to interview a W.A.S.P. guitarist in his pool, drunk as a skunk and with his MOM sitting right there!
"Why didn't you pick better songs?" - Some Jabroni who kept throwing devil horns during the dopiest metal moments.
Where oh where did Penelope Spheeris stumble upon Chris Holmes? Time stood still during the swimming pool interview where he douses himself with vodka as his mom glares. Probably the most arresting segment I've seen in a movie this year. I can still see him splashing his mom when I close my eyes.
Spheeris asks some really great questions, like "What if you don't make it?" And, "Is dating girls for food and money prostitution?" They occasionally put the subjects in a bind or tee them up for self-incriminating answers. One of my favorites: Steven Tyler's rambling comparison between masturbation and…
Not necessarily the best movie to watch back to back with the original. Where the original feels immediate, urgent and objective, this movie is so staged and angled towards condescension that it's almost off-putting as a documentary. In order to believe that Ozzy is really spilling orange juice all over his countertop, one has to ignore that it's an insert shot showing this (Ozzy maintains that this was staged). The memorable Chris Holmes bits, which thrilled/shocked me so much when I first saw this, may also have been largely staged. But then you gotta consider the subject matter. Isn't making something ridiculously fake and laughable exactly the form that this content deserves? The answers is, for the most part, yes!…
A document of both cringe-inducing comedy and high personal tragedy, this subjects of this film leave a vague depressing sensation that only grows more poignant as time marches on. The general ickiness in behavior on display is undercut by the obvious self-destruction of some of these folks, while others are just clearly dumb assholes. The most unforgettable moment is still Chris Holmes in the pool, calling himself "a piece of crap" and drinking to incomprehensibility. KISS might be the most loathsome band in the world, and how they managed to achieve this end while maintaining general sobriety I'll never know. But the person who comes off the best in the interviews is probably Lemmy, mostly because he doesn't say awful…
"Belief in yourself should be the drug."
A glorious exploration of dumb-assedness.
The inverse of the first volume in so many ways.
First, except for closing act Megadeth, none of the bands shown in concert here are remembered today. Odin, anyone? Spheeris knows this intuitively which leads to a great montage of her asking a bunch of aspiring rockstars what will happen if they don't become rich and famous. (They all refuse to believe that this is an option, let alone the likely one.)
Secondly, this film is almost entirely about the objectification of women, with the musicians recounting their various sexual escapades (edited ingeniously together in a cross-cutting montage which renders them all incomprehensible) and an uncomfortable extended sequence depicting a horrible sleaze pageant run by a despicable, perverted promoter. In…
As a documentary, The Metal Years fails due to its judgmental, condescending tone. The level of respect and fascination that Spheeris showed toward the punk scene is completely absent here. Maybe I'm overly defensive because I'm a fan of many of the artists interviewed in the film -- and of course each artist is partly culpable for how they're portrayed (after all, nobody's putting words in their mouths) -- but as an interviewer, Spheeris is clearly leading each one with her line of questioning.
The camera mocks the artists for their vanity, for their love of sex and drugs and partying. It also seems to mock the aspiring artists for chasing dreams of stardom. If punk music is anti-everything, glam…
While the first one is probably the more important movie, I had more fun with Part II. I was never a punk, and I watched the first one with detached anthropological interest. I was never a metalhead either, but I'm much more at ease with metalheads, and even when the musicians interviewed here provoke unintentional laughter, I find them oddly endearing. Also, Lemmy FTW.
This movie is a bad influence... I want to be a rock star now! The unedited footage of Lemmy is great. That guy was awesome.
Sharper, slicker and funnier than part one, Spheeris' second documentary about a specific LA music scene - in this case the hair metal scene of the mid-to-late '80s - retains the same mix of enthusiasm and detachment that made the first so good. Spheeris clearly has affection for the people involved and the music they play, but she's also interested in asking tough questions and getting to the heart of what makes the band members tick. The resulting interviews are by turns hilarious and sad, but never less than fully engrossing.
Two thoughts to watching this again:
I cannot believe how popular this music was, given how terrible it was and is. And I say this as a person who was very into it at the time -- in fairness, I turned 13 in 1988, so it was clearly aimed right at me.
Also am amazed at the optimistic cluelessness rampant in the film from the up-and-comers -- or, as they really are, the-never-were's.
This is such a fascinating documentary series because I'm not interested in the music of either movement so far, but I love to hear them talk about it. This time their madness takes a different shift. Instead of romanticizing a maush pit they're romanticizing their drug-free lifestyle. It's funny and strange and I love how the director is starting to question some of the things that people are telling her. The montage of people talking about what happens if they don't become rock stars is fascinating.
RIP Lemmy, in this classic document of the LA Metal scene he comes off as a wisecracking Buddha, an elder statesman. The young guys comprising the bulk of the scene and the bulk of this film are so empty and fake, in juxtaposition to the older guard depicted by Lemmy, Aerosmith, and Alice. Great watch, better film than the first, despite depicting a much more vacuous scene of kids who really don't stand for anything.
An amazing documentary about terrible, pathetic, depressing people.
Only Lemmy and Ozzy escape this thing. Everyone else is a straight up disgusting idiot. Love everything about it.
***EDIT (March 30, 2014)***
movies directed by women,
regularly updated with new releases
Here are some #DirectedbyWomen Film Viewing Possibilities... Will add MANY more soon...
Also building a major list here: