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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.
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.
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.
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).
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
Just the way the haremeers are lying around KISS during the interview xD
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.
liked the first one better
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.
Loved seeing all the famous heavy metal artists talking, but after a while it got boring.