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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.
This really did a lot more for me than the first one, but I'm also a lot more familiar with this music scene than with early punk.
An orgy of debauchery, misogyny and delusion. A perfect indictment of the biggest cultural migrane in 80s rock music.
"So it's either a rock and roll star or a bum, that's your trip?"
Sequences like Chris Holmes of WASP being sublimely intoxicated in his swimming pool show that the rock and roll star and the bum can be one in the same.
The soul of a cultural and musical movement contaminated by a bunch of white dudes more concerned with holding a literal dick-measuring contest. (And why even participate when it's so clear Paul Stanley is running away with it.) Sure, these metalheads may claim they're all about the music, and their defiance of societal codes of how to look and their incessant horniness does tie back to classic rnr and punk. It's just that they prioritize image and fame and, frequently, aren't good songwriters. Spheeris distances herself from her subjects in this second part, ridiculing them through editing and juxtaposition. Usually this jeering is fair. Sometimes it's not, as with the notoriously phony Ozzy OJ spill or the collateral damage incurred…
Director Penelope Spheeris changes the aesthetic and to some extent the goals of her documentary series The Decline of Western Civilization with Part II: The Metal Years. [She's] still documenting an era, but this time it's as a cautionary tale.
A great follow-up featuring '80s Hair Metal bands.
Same type of insight to this music and its musicians, all done through revealing interviews and concert footage.
An interesting reflection of the era. A bit sad in its reflection of the emptiness of the performers and their attempts for stardom. Also an interesting revelation of how predominate sex, alcohol and drugs were of this time and musical revolution.
The night scene where a completely plastered Chris Holmes sits on a floating raft in his pool, his mother sitting sadly beside him in a chair beside the pool... is shockingly pathetic and a bit heart-breaking. His complete addiction (literally) poured all over himself for all to see... it's powerfully sad.
Some really interesting moments and nice cinematography, but lacked the rawness that made the first one great.
"Do you think you're going to be a rock star?" "Oh ya, oh ya, I'm going to be famous, ya. I think it'll come pretty easily for me. You know, 'cause I'm different from anyne else." This is a hard movie to "rate." Directorily, she nails it. Disregarding sound or talent, she profiles bands that were earnestly going for it, whether it be for art or sex. It's real snapshot, just like Part I, of pop music.
A real gem is the juxtaposition of Megadeth being the close out interview, and how she interviewed Lemmy on top of LA. A silent nod to the real artists.
I'm not going to even pretend this is the best documentary ever, but it's damn good, and it's definitely my favorite. Add 10 stars if you grew up in the 80s.
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***EDIT (March 30, 2014)***
Wow! I never would have expected that I'd get anywhere close to 100 likes on this…