MUSIC FLICKS: Anvil! The Story of Anvil

MUSIC FLICKS:  Anvil! The Story of Anvil (photo)

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Ever see the movie about the legendary metal band that gives unprecedented access into their personal lives? The one where a whole bunch of good ol’ fashion drama unfolds as they work on their latest album?

Nope. I’m not talking about Metallica’s Some Kind Of Monster.

(left to right: Robb Reiner and Lips from the Canadien metal band, Anvil.)

Ever see the documentary about a group of highly influential musicians, who were discovered years after their heyday–a group of men that could still outplay artists half their age?

Uh-uh, not the Buena Vista Social Club.

How about the 1980s mockumentary that masterfully hits just about every rock and roll idiosyncrasy on the head?

No, not This Is Spinal Tap.

I’m actually talking about, Anvil! The Story of Anvil, think of it as all of the aforementioned movies rolled into one. First time director (but no stranger to film), Sacha Gervasi, documents the rise and fall–or I guess I should say, fade into oblivion–of Canadian metal band Anvil (Gervasi is not only a fan of the band, but used to be one of their roadies in the ’80s).

If you’ve never heard of Anvil, the first ten minutes of the film may lead you to believe that it’s some type of mockumentary–yes in the same vein as the one mentioned above. Metal legends, Lemmy, Slash, and Lars–almost deadpan to a fault–heap praise on the ferociously rockin’ band from the great white north. Slash laments, “Everyone ripped ’em off and left ’em for dead.” Wait a second, is this for real?

Anvil! The Story of Anvil begins with the group playing a stadium show–in the early 1980s–alongside Whitesnake, The Scorpions, and Bon Jovi, pointing out that all of these acts sold millions of albums worldwide–except one. Guess who?

Gervasi’s documentary then gives us an all access look into the lives of the band’s founding members: Lips, the group’s guitarist and frontman, and Robb Reiner (yes, just like the director of the mockumentary we keep talking about), the band’s drummer. In between Anvil gigs Lips delivers cafeteria food and Reiner works in construction; a far cry from the rock and roll dream of hot tubs and super models. It’s okay though, cause we’ve seen that story before, but how many times have we been given the perspective of a band that hasn’t made it?

If you’ve never heard of a band before (especially one that’s been together for over 30 years), there’s usually a good reason for it. Furthermore, if we didn’t care about a band a couple decades ago, why in the hell would we care about them now? In Anvil’s case, it’s simple: You want to cheer for them. In a documentary that could have easily been a snoozer, Lips (who you can’t help but love), makes you believe in his band and makes you want to champion his cause. After getting a glimpse into Anvil’s headbanger’s-approved live show, while Reiner points out that the band is still in prime playing and writing shape, you think that maybe Anvil does have a chance of obtaining rock glory. Once you believe, you’re hooked.

As with any great story, Anvil! makes you want to cheer, as well as slap yourself on the forehead, especially when one of their fans, a European lady named Tiziana, becomes their tour manager. Let’s just say she has good intentions. You also want to jump through the screen and shake the guys when they begin going door-to-door, shopping their latest album to record labels. With dreams of inking a deal that will bring them fame, fortune, and a guitar-shaped swimming pool, someone needs to wake them up from their 80s daydream and tell them that things don’t work like that anymore. Someone tell them that the recording industry is in disarray–for God’s sake, someone point them to the internet!

Fortunately for Anvil, it seems that things are finally working out for them. Though one of their fans turned out to be a horrible tour manager, another one happened to craft a critically applauded documentary, one that’s going to get them more attention than signing to a failing record label. It may also bring a smile to Lips and Reiner’s face to know that if they’re ever able to quit their day jobs, at least they’ll be someone to fill them (and I’m not talking about Whitesnake).

+ IFC’s David Hudson’s, “Anvil! The Story of Anvil”

+ IFC’s Matt Singer’s “Sacha Gervasi Lifts Anvil”


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.