Time for Door 11 of The Fourth Annual James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films and in honour of the date we’re going to ‘turn it up to 11’.
Because today’s entry is the 1984 ‘rockumentary’ known as This is Spinal Tap, a poignant and compelling insight into the trials and tribulations of a touring rock band.
Or, more accurately, one of the most groundbreaking and beloved comedy films of all time.
A ‘mockumentary’ in the truest sense, there is a barely a scene which isn’t laugh-out-loud funny but, for all that, many of the best jokes are more subtle than you might realise and for this reason the movie bears repeat viewings pretty well – indeed it’s possible to find it funnier the second or third time you watch it.
Perhaps the reason the movie stands up so well is that, for all the protagonists are entirely risible, they remain resolutely likeable throughout. At it’s core, This is Spinal Tap is a pretty warm-hearted affair, albeit one that is riotously funny from start to finish.
Score for Christmasishness
Of all the movies that have made my festive list over the years, this is by far the most tenuous. There is nothing remotely Christmas(ish) about this film. However, the band Spinal Tap has continued to exist as an entity outside of the movie and in the same year they released a single called Christmas with the Devil. It’s not on the original soundtrack but the re-release of the movie’s soundtrack in 2000 includes two version of that song. It’s a dubious reason to include This is Spinal Tap in my annual Christmas compendium but it’s such a good movie that I’ll take even the flimsiest of links to the season as an excuse to re-watch it.