May 3, 2009

ANVIL! The Story of Anvil

Who would have thought that a documentary about a heavy metal band would be the most poignant, stirring movie of the year? Anvil! follows "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner, these two now middle aged Canadian Jews who started this band in the 80s, were at the threshold of stardom but never found it. 3o years later, they are still trying to keep the dream alive, and it eludes them with a cruel streak, like fame tends to do for those who seek it. But these guys don't so much want fame as they want recognition and respect and someone to pay for their gigs, and more fans to delight.
One wavers between thinking they seriously need to grow up, and rooting for them. Anvil! is a movie about failure, and about true artistic struggle but it is also a movie about joy and purity and total commitment to your art. The heavy metal milieu just adds plenty of richness and texture, and yes, hilarity. It is funny, painful, heartbreaking, and ultimately truly inspiring. I don't think I have ever seen a performer more bathed in sheer joy and abandon, than Lips, even if he is playing in a German basement for one fat fuck sitting in a rocking chair. I bawled. And my tears were the kind of tears one is happy and grateful to shed at the movies. Bitter and sad and incredibly tender.
Everybody needs to see this film. And it better be in the Oscar pool next year.

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