Saturday, May 30, 2015
THE DECLINE OF THE WESTERN CIVILIZATION: PART II - THE METAL YEARS (1988)
Directed by: Penelope Spheeris
Cinematography By: Jeff Zimmerman
Editor: Earl Ghaffari
Featuring: Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Ozzy Obourne, Alice Cooper, Gene Simmons, Lemmy, Paul Stanley, Brett Michaels, Rikki Rockett, Dave Mustane, Riki Rachtman
This has to be One of the most depressing films I have ever seen.
This film traces the heavy metal bands that were taking over the music clubs and industry at the time. The first film explored the Punk Music movement. This continues through the metal years.
The film interviews all the players, club owners, groupies, established stars and wannabe's. As they talk about the pleasure of stardom or making it and the wannabe's chasing the dream and with their confidence. What they expect to gain with the stardom. Though in the film it all Comes off as shallow, vain, empty and ridiculous.
There is nothing, nor anyone to admire or respect in this film really. It's not the filmmakers fault, either as they seem to film and let the subjects speak for themselves. It's one of the few times Ozzy Osbourne is the most normal and down to earth subjects. He is actually a quiet presence on the screen.
This is one of those lost relics of cinema and music, that is rare or that one wouldn't expect. Especially as a follow-up documentary to part I. Which was more about the punk years. I like that these series of documentaries were around to document what seems like a different era of music of the times. Music that was considered trash, demonic, rebellious outsider music. While it doesn't cover too many. It seems that the subject were picked for maximum showcase. I only wish this series of documentaries could have continued when it came to grunge and hip-hop. To a degree. Though there have been documentaries on those genres never as in depth as this one is
While the film follows the successful and up and coming rock bands of the heavy metal and hair metal band scene. It also shows the destructive behavior as well as the damage the fame and lifestyle can do to the musicians.
The real horror is as much as it might have been a revelation at the time. That in hindsight watching it if onto the musicians knew how much borrowed time they were on as soon grunge was about to hit and put them out of business.
Though the film has it's highlights of excess that are memorable two scenes in particular stand out.
Paul Stanley being interviewed with a harem of beautiful ladies draped all around and on him. All of them half his age.
W.A.S.P.'s Chris Holmes almost drinking himself to death lounging in his pool. Floating on a flotation device while seeming like he is about to blackout while telling his philosophy and complaining while his mother looks on. And he looks like he is going to drown.
As well as Ozzy Osbourne coherent and understandable making a meal In His pink robe while being interviewed.
We also get a glimpse of the ladies who follow the scene, As fans and groupies. As we learn some even consider these musicians boyfriends and take care of them financially as they see it as an investment in the future of him and of them. Again knowing the heartbreak and pain that will soon rear it’s head. Especially if the guy and his band is successful.
This film is a fascinating capsule of the late 80's and showing the downside To success and ambition.
I believe it is telling you don't really hear or know most of the subjects interviewed today. So knowing their dreams of success never came true is equally depressing (though i get a sense even when the film came out you could probably tell the same)
A definite must see