June 20, 2004

The most eagerly anticipated movie in years.

Not since "Waking Life" have I wanted to see a new movie as much as "Some Kind of Monster," about which there is a nice, long article in today's NYT Magazine. This film, which is a documentary about the rock band Metallica in group therapy, is directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, who made the great HBO documentary "Paradise Lost," about three small-town Metallica fans who were accused of horrible, ritual-style murders. Metallica (a band known for guarding its music rights against on-line downloaders) allowed the directors to use their music free in "Paradise Lost," and the relationship between the band and the directors eventually led to the current documentary. It sounds like what "Let It Be" might have been if only The Beatles had been willing to let their real feelings show, like that one little part, the coolest thing in the movie, when George got snippy with Paul.
For the first 30 minutes of ''Some Kind of Monster'' (roughly three months in real time), you see a band whose members don't necessarily like one another, struggling with a record no one seems completely enthusiastic about creating. But then -- suddenly, and without much explanation -- Hetfield disappears into rehab. Ulrich and Hammett have nothing to do in the interim except talk to their therapist. This is the point where "Some Kind of Monster' starts to change; what it becomes is not a glorification of rock 'n' roll but an illustration of how rock 'n' roll manufactures a reality that's almost guaranteed to make people incomplete. Metallica's massive success -- and the means through which they achieved it -- meant they never had to mature intellectually past the age of 19....

[W]hen Hetfield returns to the band from rehab as a completely changed man ... the deeper issue of "Some Kind of Monster" emerges: Hetfield and Ulrich have spent their entire adulthood intertwined, but they've never been close; they've never needed to have a real relationship with each other. And that is what you mostly see over the last hour of this film: two middle-aged men fighting through their neuroses and confusion, earnestly talking about intimacy and emotional betrayal and how they feel about each other.

Actually, what it reminds me of a bit is The Sopranos: the big tough guy's in therapy talking about his feelings.

Read the whole article: it's written by Chuck Klosterman, who wrote "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto," which I highly recommend. And watch the movie trailer here.

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