Long live rock, I need it every night

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Some Kind of Meltdown

A banjo. Really?
This week Rock Club returned to the big screen for its dose of rock. Highly anticipated, Metallica's 2004 "Some Kind of Monster," was on the bill. This rockumentary was originally planned to capture the most prominent metal band in the world's recording of its 10th album, but instead, it yielded an unwelcome look into the petty disagreements and troubles that an over-the-shark band faces when forced to produce. Most of this 141 minute film chronicles James Hetfield's complete lack of confidence and unreasonable demands for control over the daily activities of his co-workers.

This film was chosen to add a little taste of metal for our rock palette without subjecting RC to the long drive to Jaxx in West Springfield and the inevitable fist-fight that would ensue. By the way, I think Jaxx has changed its website recently. I don't remember Jaxx specifically being a "Euro" metal bar. What's that about? Have a look: JAXX. I'm not sure why they are "DC's Euro Metal Home," as opposed to being "DC's Metal Home," but I'm guessing that title must belong to someplace else. I look forward to seeing RATT on September 8th. Anyhow, what this 141 minute film failed to offer was some serious metal. Instead we saw the creative process of metal-up-your-ass-40-something-millionaires-with-Basquiat-paintings-on-their-walls come to a screeching halt as one guy in particular drove off the band's bassist of 14 years (Jason Newsted) and decided that he was too scared to make music. Hooray. I was hoping to see an interesting back story to an old-school metal band as it struggles to make a kick ass album but later tours the universe kicking ass everywhere they go! Wohoo Mutherfucker!
Uh, yeah. This 2 hour and 21 minute film took me half-way there, but on day 576 of filming, I realized that there would be no rock in this movie. Watching this film was like my recent trip to see the Allison Krauss concert. I was left quite unfulfilled.

Watching a rockumentary is tough to do without making quick comparisons to "This Is Spinal Tap," (my suggestion for the next RC movie night). But here are a few comparisons that couldn't be helped.

First, wasn't it obvious the James and Lars were meant for each other? Just like Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins, I was expecting to see them with matching cold sores at one point. Clearly Kirk Hammet was the dimmer bulb in this light fixture, and basically sought peace and calm for his band (and his retirement plan), very Derek Small-ish. Bob Rock was perhaps the most intriguing figure in this film. Why was he playing bass? Did he hope to win the job for the tour? Why was he so pathetic a character? Was the hair cut to blame? Bob Rock was most similar to Spinal Tap's manager, Ian Faith. All he lacked was a cricket bat.

Possibly the Yoko Ono/Jeanine Pettibone character for Some Kind of Monster was professional counselor, Phil Towle. Pictured at right and wearing his favorite Cosby sweater, Towle shows the band lyrics he's been working on.

What this film did not do was deliver the rock. No good concert footage. No in-studio moments of inspiring genius. Instead, this film delivered on exposing the tail spin of the once mighty Metallica. As Jimbromski pointed out during the screening, there is good reason to question the decision to actually release this film to the general public. It wasn't a flattering look at a band that holds up an image as being total bad asses. They (in particular Hetfield) end up looking more like the popular kids from high school whose rule has finally come to an end.


Jimbromski said...

Hey, didn't we all agree that no one would post any reviews, or do any work, or talk about rock, outside of my working hours (12:30 pm - 12:45 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays)? I see this review as a massive betrayal. You're expelled from Rock Club, we're replacing you with Bob Rock.

Jimbromski said...

And another thing--the fact that it took them nearly two years to make St. Anger is ludicrous. As I mentioned, the White Stripes take about 3-4 weeks to make an album, and their stuff is as good as or better than Metallica.

I don't mean to pick on Metallica. They're not really my bag but I think they're a pretty good band. It's just, work through your issues IN PRIVATE. I got no time for multimillionaires complaining about their psychic trauma. Eat a dick. Eat two dicks.