They call A Hard Day's Night the Citizen Kane of rock movies, but even that script isn't as entrenched in the rock lexicon the way This Is Spinal Tap's is. When was the last time someone called their haircut "Arthur"? And yet thanks to David St Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls, we have amps that go to eleven, green skeleton T-shirts, the word "rockumentary" so overused it no longer elicits the chuckles it did back in '82, people purposefully mispronouncing Dolby and dismissing a horrid album with the word pairing "shit sandwich." The Beatles' phenomenal career is still a yardstick few rock bands can honestly measure themselves against, but it's Spinal Tap's Smell the Glove tour and its meteoric failures that all rock bands identify with. Shit, it was prophecy, not parody. Who hasn't played inappropriate gigs like an air-force base where no one's heard of you or at an amusement park opening for a puppet show? And who hasn't dismissed a fallen-through tour date gig with this face saver: "It's not a big college town"?
Even the film's minor characters like Artie Fufkin, Bobbi Flekman and Morty the Mime managed to live on in one-liners like "I thought we had a relationship here," "Money talks and bullshit walks" and "Mime is money." So infamous is this movie's Stonehenge fiasco that Sting's band of "serious jazz musicans" re-enacted it as a prank in the 1986 rockumentary Bring on the Night. When, unbeknownst to Sting, a miniature-sized fortress around a heart was lowered on the stage during his pompous song of the same name, their humorless bandleader was predictably not amused to be part of the comedy. Could you see yourself going to a midnight showing of this movie? To quote Tufnel, "I don't know, wh-wh- ... what're the hours?" —Serene Dominic
Showing at midnight, Friday and Saturday, May 30-31, at the Main Art Theatre, 118 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-263-2111.