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This Is Spinal Tap

This Is Spinal Tap (stylized as This Is Spın̈al Tap: A Rockumentary by Martin Di Bergi) is a 1984 American mockumentary film co-written and directed by Rob Reiner in his directorial debut. It stars Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer as members of the fictional English heavy metal band Spinal Tap (who are characterized as "one of England's loudest bands"), and Reiner as Martin "Marty" Di Bergi, a documentary filmmaker who follows them on their American tour. The film satirizes the behavior and musical pretensions of rock bands and the hagiographic tendencies of rock documentaries such as The Song Remains the Same (1976), and The Last Waltz (1978) and follows the similar All You Need Is Cash (1978) by The Rutles. Most of its dialogue was improvised and dozens of hours were filmed.

Plot

Filmmaker Martin "Marty" Di Bergi is creating a documentary that follows the English rock group Spinal Tap on their 1982 United States concert tour to promote their new album Smell the Glove. The band comprises childhood friends David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel on vocals and guitar, bassist Derek Smalls, keyboardist Viv Savage, and drummer Mick Shrimpton. They were known as the Originals until they found out another band had that name so they changed their name to the New Originals. They had a hit as the Thamesmen with their single "Gimme Some Money", before changing their name to Spinal Tap and achieving a minor hit with the flower power anthem "Listen to the Flower People", and finally transitioning to heavy metal. Several of their previous drummers died in strange circumstances: spontaneous human combustion (Mick Shrimpton), a "bizarre gardening accident" (John "Stumpy" Pepys), and choking on someone else's vomit (Eric "Stumpy Joe" Childs). Segments of Marty's film show David and Nigel to be competent but dimwitted and immature musicians. At one point, Nigel shows Marty a custom-made amplifier that has volume knobs that go up to eleven, believing this would make their output louder.

Awards