Some Kind Of Monster & De Lovely
Reviewed by Dennis Morton
Aired 7/21, 2004
anyone asked me, before last week, if I listened to heavy metal,
Id have said, not willingly. Jazz is my music. But last
week I walked into a screening of Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster,
and walked out a believer. Not in the music, necessarily, but
certainly in the movie. And, I confess, in less time than it
probably takes to get out of the parking lot after a Metallica
concert, Id developed an affection for James, Lars and
Kirk, the three mainstays of the band.
Some Kind Of Monster, a documentary, was almost three years
in the making. After twenty years of stupendous success, which
included sales of 90 million albums, the boys, now nearing middle
age, were burnt out. They hadnt toured and it had been
several years since their last album. The two original members
were hardly speaking to one another. The bass player of 15 years
had recently quit the band. It was time for drastic action.
It was time for
The bands business agent hooked them up with a psychotherapist
named Phil. For a mere $40,000 a month, Phil set up camp at
a rented recording studio in San Franciscos Presidio.
Amazingly, the cameras were rolling during the therapy sessions.
If anyone was holding back, it wasnt evident.
What I heard coming from Phil was a heaping platter of platitudes,
psycho-babble bordering on the inane. But it didnt take
long to realize that this was new stuff to James and Lars. And
then it wasnt much of a leap for me to get off my high
horse and remember that a cliché to a virgin ear is powerful
rhetoric, that clichés earn their status.
These guys had been working hard and playing harder for most
of their adult lives. Theyd apparently not taken time
for reflection, at least James and Lars hadnt. And James
and Lars, when it came down to it, were Metallica.
Over the course of making the film, the band made glacial progress
on a new album, James went into rehab for six months, the therapy
sessions continued, and the hunt for a permanent bassist gathered
Some Kind Of Monster is considerably over two hours long, but
I became so emotionally invested in each of the band members
that I forgot I was watching a movie. I was rooting for all
of them. I didnt care that these guys could buy a small
country and have a few million left over. I just wanted them
to be happy.
My advice: whatever your opinion of heavy metal put it
aside. This is not your typical rockumentary. Theres hardly
anything typical about this wonderful film. Dont miss
A few words now about De Lovely, which opened last week in area
I mentioned that jazz is dear to me. So there was no way I would
miss the new Cole Porter biopic. Sadly, as much as I wanted
to like it, Im compelled to conclude that De Lovely is
a failure. But its a swellegant failure, and I do recommend
it, if you love Cole Porters music.
De Lovely is more like a double feature, in one film. The Porter
biography is far short of the mark. But the productions of his
incredible songs are great. Id not have guessed that Alanis
Morisette could remind me of Eartha Kitt. But her version of
"Lets Do It, Lets Fall In Love" is brilliant
sensuous and sassy and sensational. And Sheryl Crows
interpretation of "Begin The Beguine" is also top
drawer. After all, we love Cole Porter for his music, and De
Lovely, in that regard, does not disappoint. Ive heard
this movie twice. Ill probably hear it again.
For KUSPs Film Gang, this is Dennis Morton.