This Is Spinal Tap is what Almost Famous would have been if Almost Famous didn’t take itself seriously. Where Famous follows the fictional band “Stillwater” on their rise to success and semi-biographically follows young journalist William — based on the real-life story of director Cameron Crowe — as he becomes a writer for Rolling Stone at age 15, This Is Spinal Tap follows fictitious British band “Spinal Tap” as they embark on a U.S. tour that all but finalizes that their days of glory are coming to an end (hint: watch as their venues get smaller and smaller). However, while the rockumentary-mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap is entirely satiric and parodical in its nature, its brilliance is right on par with Almost Famous, a movie I consider to be nearly perfect.
Directed by Rob Reiner, perhaps better known for his role directing The Princess Bride, This Is Spinal Tap balances that quintessential Bride humor with a genuine ode to ’80s rock band nostalgia that will warm hard rock, heavy metal hearts, and keep them laughing. The profile of the band starts with a typical interview, wherein the band hilariously describes the mysterious deaths of their various drummers throughout the band’s history. One, they claim, actually exploded. This becomes a theme as the movie progresses, and despite being simplistic in nature, never really stops being funny.