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Archive for the ‘Decline of Western Civilization: Part Two: The Metal Years’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years [movie] (1988).

I feel like this movie aired a lot when I was a kid.  I wish I could remember what I thought about it back then, because watching it the other night I couldn’t believe how dumb everyone looked.  Whether it was Steven Tyler acting profound talking about masturbating or Joe Perry and his sourpuss.  Or Paul Stanley lying in bed with 4 women strewn around during his interview.   Or bless his heart, Chris Holmes’ drunken antics in the pool in front of his mother.   I’m half certain that it was staged, as nobody is that dumb.

Or any of the nameless masses primping for the movie (I’d love to know where the guy with half black/half white hair is now).  Or when any of the people who were sure they were going to become rock stars gave up and got jobs.

The only people who come out looking clever are Lemmy, seeming calm and wise on a mountaintop (?); Poison, for the love of God, who admit to their failings yet seem rather reasonable (and make the best unintentional joke about blowing all your cash on a Le Mans), Dave Mustaine who seems the most intelligent person in the movie, and Ozzy Osbourne.

Ozzy gets the best cut of anyone.  In his bathrobe, he makes a delicious breakfast of eggs, very undercooked bacon (he should have started the bacon first) and spilt orange juice.  At this time in his career, I believe he was being managed by Sharon (who everyone knows from the reality show), but at the time, she was unknown.  And I have to wonder how much of the genius of that scene was her idea.  Not only does it make anyone who called him a Satanist look silly, he gets the biggest and best intentional laughs.

Watching this movie as a married 40 year old, with my wife sitting next to me, I was frankly embarrassed for the way these bozos were carrying on.  And I think I was more embarrassed for them than for me.  Ah, Odin and your buttless chaps.

Of course, I’ve been a metalhead forever so I’ve always been amused by nonsensical antics.  And I’ve always rebelled against people like the woman from whatever anti-metal group was in the movie.  What’s great about her scene is that Penelope Spheeris doesn’t mock her.  She doesn’t do any weird edits or goofy sound effects or anything.  She just lets the lady speak her version of the truth and allows the audience (granted the audience is metal fans, but any reasonable adult could tell) to realize just how weird and silly she is.  The idea that the Secret Devil Worship Sign (as the Dead Milkmen call it) is really three 6’s (even her demonstration pushing reality) and that it is three fingers down to deny the holy trinity (when in fact it’s actually two fingers down and one thumb across) is just inspired lunacy.  Especially when you hear Ronnie James Dio, who ostensibly brought the sign into metal in the first place reveal that it was a something his grandmother did to ward off the evil eye.   Ah, the days of 80’s censorship, which I got ever so het up about.

But it was just those people that encouraged bands to come up with more and more outrageous names and deeds.  So, when Sarah asks me what is wrong with a band for naming themselves (* see below the fold for my newfound favorite band name), I told her it was in response to people like that.  When people go looking for evil in the mundane, well, why not just be evil right in their faces and see what they do.

Sure, it’s childish, but it’s also fun!

I only wish they would show The Decline of Western Civilization Part One once in a while.

[READ: February 28, 2010]  All Known Metal Bands (D-E)

About eight months ago, I posted that I had started reading this book.  Obviously I am not reading it very often as I am only up to the E’s.  But I picked it up again the other day and found my two new favorite band names: (more…)

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