Saturday, November 07, 2009

After a discussion about rock films on a Who list that I moderate, I decided I needed to get off my butt, well, on my butt, and catch up on some films I hadn't yet watched.

First up - Metallica's "Some Kind of Monster".

Going into this film, I was a bit like Rachel Fuller (Pete Townshend's partner) with The Who. I could name a precious few Metallica songs. I have a couple of coworker friends who are Metallica nuts, and I know they have a large fan base.

I had also just finished watching Season 1 of "In Treatment" on DVD. It's an
HBO series about therapy. It is SO up my alley - I love it. Can't wait for Season 2. ( I sometimes wish I was willing to shell out the $$ for digital cable and HBO but I'm not. I always hear our fellow Relayer Duke's voice echo'ing in my head .... "I realized the key to life was not having cable TV".) So I am deep into the therapy mindset these days.

"Some Kind of Monster" was a great mix of relationship and thrash. Not knowing the band members beforehand, I didn't have much in the way of preconceived ideas about them, other than I figured I might not relate to them.

I was surprised at many things. By the end of the film I loved the band members and the band. I now have huge respect for the process that they went through to make an album (St. Anger) at a very difficult time in the band's career. Their bass player quit the band because it wasn't cool for him to do a solo project. That issue was a glimmer into a fundamental problem the band, or at least the two main players/songwriters - Hetfield and Ulrich - had - they needed to control everything. It was during this time that Ulrich went after Napster, alienating many of his fans.

The film gives us an extremely intimate look into the process of being a band. Being in two of them myself, I could really relate to it. It is so very much like a marriage. Painfully so. I have so much respect for them for allowing this record of their very intimate and serious process to come out.

I appreciate the music of Metallica much more than I did before. While it is not my music of choice, I can at least now intellectually appreciate everything they put into it. And I think I might have a small crush on Lars Ulrich. I have huge respect for Hetfield, Ulrich and Kirk Hammett.

I recommend this film to those who are interested in the process of making a rock album, to those who appreciate the complexity of human relationships and communication. If, like me, you appreciate both, you will be very satisfied with this film.

Next up: "The Boat That Rocked", also now known as "Pirate Radio".

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