The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years Reviews

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March 21, 2018
The Decline of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years is the second of three documentaries about youth music movements. The first was a groundbreaking look at the punk rock scene in 1981. This follow-up concentrates on the Glam Metal scene in Los Angeles in the mid-eighties. While certain scenes from the documentary have become legendary over the years the overall effect is all over the place. Unlike most music documentaries from the era, it is very well filmed with good sound that holds up today.

The Good: About halfway through the film there is one of the funniest things I have seen all year. Singer Randy O fronting Odin is performing in assless chaps. He borrowed them for the concert. It is a something that wouldn't be out of place in a Borat movie. In fact, the entire Odin segment is comedy gold combining the Borat vibe with grandiose quotes that wouldn't be out of place in This is Spinal Tap. Other highlights include Ozzy Osbourne cooking breakfast (he does so well till its time to pour the orange juice... so close.) And Lemmy being cool when everyone else (I am looking your way Paul Stanley) is simply trying too hard.

The Bad: The bands; while the original The Decline of Western Civilization certainly didn't have all winners they at least had some bands that would later become famous (Black Flag) and some and that was actually good (X). The Decline of Western Civilization Part Two consists of one horrible band after another. Another challenge is that interviews with dim and inebriated adolescents rarely provide what one would call insight. The filmmaker certainly lets them dig their own holes but obvious questions are often left on the table. (Do you wear makeup and dress like a girl because you are in the band or did you join the band to wear make-up and dress like a girl seems to be an obvious softball just hanging there for some of these guys.) There are also very silly asides that drag the movie out such as an interview with the LA prosecutor investigating the Heavy Metal scene and an endless sexy rock and roll dance contest that is neither sexy nor rock and roll.

In Conclusion: It is easy to forget with today's youth filming every moment of their lives how rare it was in the eighties for someone to point a camera at you. So as a document of this specific place and time the film certainly does a decent job. Glam Metal was dead as disco within a few years and almost everyone involved had to get real jobs. I am sure that many look back with a smile on their face and a shake of the head at their youthful folly. A fun time for those who remember those days.
½ August 20, 2017
Hair metal. Musically more accomplished than the shot from Part 1, but the subjects are almost universally just as loathsome. The sexism in this scene was deep.
June 3, 2017
Is so funny! I'm a metalhead and this is like really entertaining area got poison apples Cooper death Aerosmith these other brands are trying to make it this is freaking cool
½ February 8, 2017
All these years later, it's a little sad to watch because you know some of these guys never made it, never were signed, never toured. At least it ends on a high note with a band that's still together.
August 10, 2016
Excellent documentary, especially for anyone who loves or remembers this era of Sunset Strip glam metal, or anyone who's interested in the weird subculture that came with the music. It's no less disturbing than the first Decline movie, though the drugs and violence of the first get replaced here with booze and sex as the vices of choice. What's really shocking in this film are the sexist attitudes, the anti-drug statements of musicians (who parroted but yet who probably didn't heed all of the anti-drug messaging of the Reagan era), and the creepy response to the music scene by some organized parents' groups (including a de-metalling program teens would be forcibly put through).
February 2, 2015
Just the way the haremeers are lying around KISS during the interview xD
December 20, 2014
It's more about the glam LA scene, which is one of the most ridiculous parts of a ridiculous movement. Its funny for about 20 in minutes. Then it's just annoying. You want to stab every idiot in it. The lads from Kiss in particular are sad excuses for humans and should be executed.
September 16, 2014
It's a nice snapshot of a time, but the whole attitude is one of "look at these pieces of shit" where she is constantly mocking and looking down on them that it gets old. Then again, the people she interviews don't do themselves any favours and for the most part are totally useless fuckwads.
October 9, 2013
liked the first one better
Super Reviewer
½ February 15, 2013
A very interesting documentary and capture of the life of metalheads in the late 80s. I was really looking to watch the first part, but I loved seeing all the great bands in this movie. It wasn't as funny as I heard it was, but it was interesting, as I said.
½ December 20, 2012
Loved seeing all the famous heavy metal artists talking, but after a while it got boring.
½ October 27, 2012
Interesting film on the late 1980s metal scene in LA. I found the probation officer's "demetaling" program for delinquent teen headbangers insightful. Megadeth seem intelligent, London not so much. W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes needs help.
August 5, 2012
I wonder if the Wet Cherry guy ever made it?
June 24, 2012
my dad would luv this movie, lol
June 16, 2012
some reviewer sayd this would be better than rock of ages...NOT!
½ April 12, 2012
All over the shop but bits with Ozzy & Lemmy still shine
½ December 17, 2011
So are you ready to watch 80s excess till the wheels fall off?!!? This documentary is both hysterical and very depressing. You have people believing 100% that what is going on is the greatest thing that has happened and will ever happen. The movie is summed up perfectly when a guy states "i don't work, i can't stand work" and Spheeris asks him "what was the last job you had?" and he responds "I've never had a job" The movie is also depressing because you see SO many douchebags in this! And how the music industry has turned into a conveyor belt,so it cranks out horrible hair metal music until it doesn't show any profit. The best scene of the entire movie has guitarist Chris Holmes in a pool sitting on an inflatable chair. He's drunk, his mom is poolside in a chair and he talks about his alcoholism and life as a rocker...that scene is shocking in how depressing it is.
½ September 5, 2011
Interesting documentary profiling Hard Rock/Heavy Metal artists, including Paul Stanley, Ozzy, Steven Tyler, etc. It doesn't necessarily go anywhere, but I think the main premise was to elicit their collective opinion about the influence of MTV. The most memorable part of the whole film was watching an already inebriated Chris Holmes quaff an entire fifth of vodka while lounging in his pool. Paul Stanley is interviewed in bed whilst lying betwixt several scantily-clad women, and periodically making out with them, glorifying his life as a rock star. Ozzy was interviewed while he cooked breakfast over a hot stove (decades later, on the MTV show, The Osbournes, he couldn't even use a microwave). A must see for fans of this genre of music. Three and one-half stars.
½ September 2, 2011
45. The Decline of Western Civilization: The Metal Years
August 28, 2011
Believe it or not, I had never seen this before (mostly due to its unavailability on DVD). It was awesome - definitely somewhat mocking in tone (like THIS IS SPINAL TAP, but real) but it's undeniably funny, even for a diehard metalhead like myself. Worth seeing as a time capsule alone.
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