Anvil: The Story of Anvil

From a four-star review in THE INDEPENDENT:

There’s a calamitous foreign tour organised by a band girlfriend. There’s a shot of a volume-control knob turned to “11”. There’s a visit to Stonehenge. There’s even a drummer named Robb Reiner (note extra “b”).

But no, these guys are for real. Reiner and lead singer Steve “Lips” Kudlow have been best friends since school, and in 1982 released an album, Metal on Metal, that influenced Anthrax, Metallica and Guns’n’Roses. Anvil, unfortunately, never made it big – they barely made it small – and in the meantime Lips got a day job at Choice Children’s Catering in Toronto. Documentarist Sacha Gervasi, a former roadie for the band, catches up with them as they prepare for a European tour and a whole new raft of humiliations.

What’s horribly poignant, of course, is that Lips and Robb are now in their fifties, still slogging away, still searching for that big break. But as they record their latest album, This is Thirteen, tensions crackle in the air and all they seem to be heading for is a big breakdown.

The film accepts the bleak comedy of this, yet its refusal to patronise Anvil’s endurance eventually becomes quite moving. It’s a study in the blind hopefulness that just drives some people on, through every setback, and the effect that has on their loved ones. I felt like crying when Lips’s sister, Rhonda, offers to loan the impoverished band enough money to cover the studio costs. When a promoter calls inviting them to play in Japan (Tap again) you almost want to cheer. Almost. Despite the tremendous goodwill one feels towards this band, and towards this movie, I had to draw the line when an end title announced that Anvil’s music could be bought on their website – because it really is terrible. Could I make a charitable contribution instead?

[via Film Drunk]

About Alpine McGregor
Just like you, man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. All in the game, though, right?

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