Monday, September 06, 2004

Metallica: Showing how fucked-up friendships work for more than 20 years

Busy weekend over here in my corner of the world. One of the copies for Metallica: Some Kind of Monster finally hit Madison (for some reason, I suspect that much like Bubba Ho-Tep, there are only four copies of the film making its way through the country -- hence the long delay time from its summer release).

It's a fine movie and an interesting documentary into the metal band that ruled the world for awhile. The personal dynamics are really interesting and there's some wonderful Spinal Tap moments -- such as the therapist literally having to be told, "You did your job, now get the fuck out," James Hetfield talking about how sometimes he wishes he was anonymous while speeding down the San Francisco highway in a modified hot-rod and Lars just saying the word "Fuck" over and over again as well as being teary eyed when Dave Mustaine came to talk about how leaving Metallica wrecked his life. I'm sorry, I couldn't stop sniggering at that moment.

Not to mention, Lars' dad is a weird looking Dane.

Because Jeff and Keidra have had debates about Metallica (Jeff's last rant was that the band died in Europe -- while some people made it out of the destroyed bus, the band died there), I've had a slight interest in the band. Frankly, if I knew about angry metal in high school as well as KMFDM, I might have been into it. All I knew was hair bands and they inherently suck.

It was fascinating for me to hear Lars and James both talk about the dynamics of their friendship as well as Jason's leaving the band. I don't think that anyone will disagree that James was an asshole -- I mean, telling someone not to do solo projects because you're off doing family shit is just messed up, but I understand why he did what he did. It's a very quick, knee-jerk reaction to the idea that if someone does something without you, they're being disloyal. The idea of loving something so much that you choke it to death is very apt in this case. Hell, I can identify with that feeling too.

Lars talking about how James turned into a different person when someone else was in the room with them was really fascinating. Who hasn't had a friend like that?

For me, the heart of the film isn't the record, but how these weirdly damaged people (seriously now, most of them are fucked up in their own way) have to establish relationships and work together. The dynamic was neat to watch because it's very human. I kinda like that about this movie. When a lot of people are trying to look polished and as cool as possible, this band is showing off its messed-up dynamic.

As Lars and James are battling with each other, poor Kirk trying to be the peacemaker. It was like watching the most messed-up family get together during Thanksgiving. It was awesome.

Oh, and bassist Rob Trujillo is cool. But I kinda dug him the first time I saw him.


K. said...

Heh! "My little Danish Friend!"

That's a funny scene, but I still have sympathy for Dave Mustaine. Like I said before, Megadeth has long been judged as the offical "also-ran" to Metallica (Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus, Armored Saint and all the other Bay Area bands never had to live with that distinction) I guess it would suck to see your former bandmates go off to become huge successes, while you are known by many as "the guy who got kicked out" Especially since they were as fucked up on drugs as he was at the time.

["Viv doesnt care" section] As for the common opinion of the "the band died with Cliff" I respectfully call that out as BS. Cliff was the most musically experimental, but bad production values aside, "And Justice" is the closest thing to progressive rock Metallica has ever done. I'll go to my grave defending that album. And there is solid, if poppy songwriting on The Black Album... Everything after that, I can't help ya with ;)[/Viv doesn't care section]

Yeah, Some Kind of Monster is a good film. It won't win them much love, they are shown to be the people that many people feared they were: selfish, greedy whiners. But I think it goes a long way in explaining the complicated relationships they have with each other and long-time fans have with them... It's weird to love and hate a band at the same time.

Viv said...

I gotta give the band props for allowing themselves to be portrayed in a not-so-flattering light. That's the truth about the band and like it or lump it, they are a bunch of whiny, angst-ridden rich, muthafuckers. I'm just impressed by the bravery to say, "Yeah, we'll continue with the filming and we'll be as honest as we can be." I don't know if I can do that.