Thursday, August 23, 2007

Movie Review: The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years

I'm not much of a documentary watcher, but man is this one great - and funny. It's always entertaining to watch young punks pump themselves up, boasting of their drinking, drugging and screwing and how they'll all be stars - no back-up plans for them! And now we sit twenty years later and know that none of them made it (except perhaps for Faster Pussycat, and that one's a stretch). But as for Seduce, London, Odin - nada.

Of course, I had a feeling Odin might not make it when I saw their singer come out in assless leather pants.

There's also entertaining interviews with veterans. Poison gets a lot of play for some reason - as it turns out, they only had one more hit album in them before Nirvana sent them (and almost everyone like them) packing. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons showed me again why I find them and Kiss completely uninteresting. Everything about them just seems calculated. Here, while most of the other interviews are held on stage, in a nondescript room, in a studio, these guys instead choose to pose. Simmons is just hanging out (right) in a lingerie store, and Stanley is sprawled out on a bed full of models. And every interview with the guys that I've ever seen, they both sound like they are reading the responses from cue cards. They are absolutely the most planned-out heavy metal band ever. (And, of course, it worked - for a few years anyway.)

But blowing everyone out of the water are the "Omelets with Ozzy" segments. Ozzy's already auditioning here for his later role as the most befuddled celebrity father in history. Every segment with him is a blast - especially his reminiscing about how much drugs they did in Black Sabbath while attempting (and failing) to pour himself a glass of orange juice to go with his eggs. And although he's still pretty far from normal, his answers to the questions are both funny and strangely insightful. I'm not sure whether he intended them to be either.

If more of the bands shown here had listened to Ozzy, Aerosmith and Lemmy, more of them might still be around. When Lemmy comes across as the sober, intelligent one, you know you aren't dealing with a bunch of brain surgeons. Although things get a bit repetitive over time (we probably could have lost one of the Seduce/London/Odin group without missing them), and although the impact of what was going on in the metal scene has diminished a bit over the years (decades!), this is still a great documentary. Four stars.

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