Friday, June 03, 2005

Some Kind of Monster

Some Kind of Monster is the documentary about Metallica's grueling ordeal in writing and recording their latest.... um.... album: "St. Anger".

Whenever I tell people how great this movie is, they say, "But I hate Metallica."

That's not the point. I haven't liked much of their post Black-album era either. I love this movie. The documentary looks into their little Metallica world and exposes everything - all the ugliness, all the bickering and drama and stunted maturity that comes with rock-stardom and drug/alcohol abuse.
I know films are edited - so to some extent, we're seeing these guys in the way the filmmaker portrayed them. James and Kirk somehow come across as sympathetic figures. Bob Rock comes across as a poseur jerk (which doesn't help his case; old school Metallica fans already notice how the big change and the decline in the band's music began as soon as they switched from Fleming Rasmussen to Bob Rock). Lars also comes across as an a-hole - but he has a few sympathetic moments too. He's genuinely hurt when he plays a new track for his dad, and his dad says "I'd delete that." He's genuinely wounded when he tries to do an innovative drum track behind an uninteresting, "stock" riff, and gets almost attacked for his efforts. He tries to politely explain his actions, but soon loses patience with the criticism and lashes back. There's a scene where he's complaining about James while working on his drumkit - it made me feel like I was back in my denim jacket, hanging out in some burnout kid's basement.
The only thing these guys ever eventually agree on is their frustration with their band therapist.

The highlight of the whole thing is the controversial confrontation between Dave Mustaine and Lars. It's almost the equivalent for our generation of George Harrison confronting John Lennon sometime in the late 70s.


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