Friday, June 6, 2008

SIFF 2008 Favorite: Anvil! The Story of Anvil


Anvil! The Story of Anvil screened at the 34th Seattle International Film Festival on Thursday, June 5 and plays again today - Friday, June 6, 4:30pm @ SIFF Cinema. You can buy tickets online here

Though you could bill this as "a real life Spinal Tap", it reminded me a lot of American Movie - but somehow even more genuine.

Childhood friends Steven "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner have been together for 30 years of dedication, support, and most importantly, heavy metal. In the 1980s, Canadian band Anvil was at the top of their game. Playing with other more popular acts, they set the musical standards for hardcore rockin'. Short interviews with members of Metallica, Guns-N-Roses, Motorhead and more give credit to Anvil for heavily influencing the heavy metal genre.

But twelve albums later, Anvil's still living in obscurity. Now that Lips and Robb are in their 50s, its time for something to give. After a disappointing European tour that leaves them defeated and out of what little money they had, Anvil decides to give fame one last shot by putting all they've got into a 13th album called "This is Thirteen".

It's clear that their popularity problem lies in the music more than anything. Anvil seems to have gotten stuck in a rut - each album sounding more and the more same, ensuring nothing will stand out. To top it off, finding a decent label and competent management is more than a challenge. Still, they have their fans, and their fans are more than dedicated. Which makes sense, as I have never seen a nicer, more hard-working group of guys.

Lips's enthusiasm, optimism, and drive are so infectious and endearing that you'll find yourself smiling and rooting for him to succeed. Sure, this film is full of hilarious moments (Playing a guitar in bondage gear - with a dildo?? Seriously?), but it's also inspiring and just a great story about real people trying to do what they love - without anyone having to make anything up. How often does that happen?


  1. Due to scheduling conflicts, I missed both "Heavy Metal in Baghdad" and "Anvil! The Story of Anvil." I had been looking forward to both.

  2. This person who reviewed this doesn't know Anvil music well enough to make an opinion!!!

  3. Dave,
    It's true. I admit - my only exposure to Anvil's music was through this film. So it's probable that the film just didn't play enough of their tunes for me to make an informed decision, and their lack of fame might be completely credited to not having a good label or manager.
    I'm glad to know you're a fan - and did not mean any offense.