Blast from the Past Movie Review – “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” (2008)
“Anvil! The Story of Anvil” is a lot like the respective mock-documentary “This is Spinal Tap”, both films are dealing with the metal music scene, featuring goofy/eccentric characters, and both films soundtrack isn’t all that bad. But, there is of course a difference between the too, “Spinal Tap” was written for laughs, “Anvil” is in fact a true story, about two 50-year-old guys who still dream to make it big in the music industry.
Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow & Robb Reiner (NOT the filmmaker behind “Spinal Tap”) have been best friends since they were little kids, and have been doing music since they were both youngsters living in Toronto. Their band Anvil made their first big impression touring in the early 80s with such bands as Scorpion, White Snake, and Metallica. However, after the last hoorah of a show set in Japan, all the other bands went on to bigger and better things and without a clear reason to both Lips & Robb, Anvil was cast away into the shadows. Living in Toronto to this day Lips and Robb still manage to keep Anvil alive in their 30+ years run. They have a small fan base scattered throughout the globe, but not enough to lead them down the path of fortune and glory they rightfully deserve.
Lips and Robb journey back into the touring scene at their middle age, when a die hard fan of theirs from Eastern Europe takes them all over her country and beyond to play at shows of all sizes, some big, some massive, and a lot small. Problem is, they’re not getting paid. These guys have jobs, hard working jobs back in Canada, so to take a month off to tour and barely get paid is quite the risk. Lips has always said that the reason they never made it big was because they never had a good enough manager, but more importantly a manager who cares about them.
I think what I find most compelling about this film is the fact that these guys are just so passionate about what they do even today. They never stop, they have a funny relationship, sometimes they explode with emotions, but it’s more of a brotherly thing and not something that would come off as self-destruction, although it does borderline that at one point. Lips & Robb are just pure passion, they could be the embodiment of passion and you’d never think twice. In the film we get to see real big rock/metal stars who come forward praising Anvil, saying that these guys were ‘it’ they were one of the original go-to metal bands who made a stance, and should’ve deserved more than what they got.
I listened to some of their music on Spotify recently and while it’s not my cup of tea per say, I do like rock, but metal is different, you have to give these guys credit. They have a sound, and will stick to it, because it’s a sound that attracts many fans.