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3 stars Some Kind Of Moster is a very interesting documental that shows the bad situation 'Tallica was while recording St Anger. Maybe that's why the album sounds so rough, so direct. In 2001, bassist Jason Newsted (who played with the band since ...And Justice For All) left, and would be lated repaced by Robert Trujillo (who played with Ozzy, Black Label Society and Suicidal Tendences, among others). Since Newsted's departure, problems between James and Lars (an egos fight, IMO) started, and Kirk seems to have a more passive role during the whole documentary. So, they were in the studio trying to record St. Anger, with producer Bob Rock (who actually played the bass on the recording), but there was a big struggle within going there, and they decided to take a psychologist as a desperate attempt to solve those problems (I could clearly see in some moments that the band was about to split). But Hetfield went to a rehabilitation centre to break free of his alcohol addiction. There's even a very interesting short conversation beween Lars and ex Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine, who said he actually wanted to return to Metallica (who always has, in terms of commercial sucess, overshadowed Megadeth). Finally (and luckily), all problems are solved and they finished the album, played in their MTV Icon, etc.

It's a documentary that shows one of my favorite bands going through a big crisis, and it's definitely essential for any Metallica fan, since it's very interesting to watch.

Rating: 3.1/5

Report this review (#187641)
Posted Saturday, November 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Money
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars I'm not a big fan of Metallica, I enjoyed their early records when I was much younger, but got bored with them as they seemed to lose their creative spark. Still, I find this documentary to be infinitely fascinating. I think I have watched it about five times and every time I see it my perception of what is going on between all these personalities is different. In fact you don't have to be a music fan at all to enjoy this tale of psychological entanglement and confused co-dependency, my wife hates metal and has watched this video with me two or three times. This documentary has little to do with metal and everything to do with the baggage our past brings into our abilities to cope with others in the present. That may sound like a bunch of stuffy pseudo psycho-speak, but if there is one thing that this video has in abundance is ironically humorous over anlayzation of every thing these poor guys do.

My favorite part of the video revolves around a pretentious and obnoxious therapist who is brought on by Hetfield to help the band. Although James is enthusiastic about their new- age snake oil salesman at first, it's interesting to watch Hetfield slowly come around as the others become increasingly angry about this pushy blood sucking therapist's attempts to run the band for his own money dreams and power schemes.

This video is full of the sort of pretentious attitudes and absolutely hilarious cluelessness that seems to go with the lifestyle of upper echelon rockers. I have often described this video to my friends as the real life Spinal Tap. It's also kind of sad to see the guys in Metallica light years away from their high octane roots in bay area punk and metal clubs dealing with baby sitting issues, quality family time, insane over analyzation of their music and childish petty squabbling. Just when you are about to jump into your TV screen and strangle everybody in frustration, they finally start to pull things together by firing their therapist and bringing on a new bass player.

Robert Trujillo, the new bassist, arrives to save the day. I remember Robert from his days with Suicidal Tendencies, one of the better early metal influenced punk bands and an important step in the fusing of punk/thrash with metal skills. Who would have thought back then that this young punky gang banger would someday be offered a million bucks to join Metallica, who knew back then that punk rock was going to pay someday, big time! After all the frustration and deadlocked inertia of the other three members, it is almost a tear-jerking moment of joy to see Trujillo hit the stage with the enthusiasm of a teenager. Thank you Robert for reminding these guys that chunky heavy riffs with angry lyrics are supposed to be fun.

Cudos to Metallica for letting the camera take an unflinching and unflatering look at their lives. That took a lot of guts, the kind of guts these guys had when they first turned the world of fast heavy rock upside down and inside out.

Report this review (#229046)
Posted Thursday, July 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm very surprised that more people haven't spoken up about this brilliant documentary. Yes, I know that St. Anger is a weak album in a lot of ways, but this film isn't as much about the making of St. Anger as it is about the band moving through one of their most crucial eras. The footage seen here surrounds the band with claustrophobic, unforgiving viewpoints that get right into the meat of what makes the band members tick, and how they have struggled to get along creatively as well as personally for what seems like many, many years. Not only are we should the present state of the member;s relationship, but the band's history is also delved into, and includes interviews with ex-members Dave Mustaine and Jason Newsted. Their opinions of the band are obviously more bitter and hostile at times than is reasonable, but it is also very interesting that the band allowed the filmmakers to show these other outside perspectives that more often than not painted an unflattering picture of them. It was clearly a brave choice to allow this film to continue, and I have a lot of respect for the Metallica guys because of that.

It's true that St. Anger was the album the band worked on as the documentary was filming, but that was just a coincidence. The real focus of this documentary are the relationships within the band, and James Hetfield's struggle to change his lifestyle and maintain it, despite all of the inner turmoil going on within the band itself. It's sometimes grueling to watch, but well worth it once the outcome is finally revealed. So if you're worried that the film is simply a 'making-of' for the St. Anger record, I want to assure you now that isn't the case. It's very worth watching if you're a documentary or a music fan of any kind. You don't even need to like Metallica's music per se in order to enjoy this film.

There are interesting parallels also between this and Let It Be, quite possibly the most well-known Rock documentary. For instance, there is a moment in which Metallica decides to abandon their initial place of recording in favor of another, much like how The Beatles switched studios in their film. Also, Hetfield brings in a therapist to hopefully instruct and held the band when necessary, but he ends up becoming an uncomfortable, unwanted presence that puts off the rest of the band members. Again, this is reminiscent of the presence of Yoko Ono during the Let It Be sessions.

Another slightly interesting aspect of this is that you do actually get to hear how the St. Anger record could have potentially turned out. Creative guitar solos, heartfelt lyrics and entire songs were ultimately scrapped in favor of the less-than-impressive work that made the final cut. Why was this? Well, because the band lacked creative direction at that point, and Cliff Burnstein in all his wisdom decided to push the band into making more 'current' Nu-Metal gobbledygook. So out went the solos and in went the down-tuned, sludgy riffs. The scene in which this transformation of the album's direction takes place is quite infuriating for us Metallica fans, and yet it is also tragic to see how this mighty band has gotten to the point where the members allow themselves to be led by other people rather than sticking to their guns and creating something THEY want to.

The ultimate outcome is a bright one, however. James Hetfield's transformation from an ogre into a caring individual is heartwarming and emotional. The tensions between the pretentious therapist and the band is cringe-worthy, yet exciting. Seeing the inclusion of new bassist Robert Trujillo and be beginning of a new chapter in the band's career is reassuring. All in all, this is a wonderful piece of storytelling that captures the band at a very crucial time, and it delivers in every way you would expect a good documentary to. No, this isn't the highest moment in the band's creative history, but it IS very much worth watching. I have shown this documentary to people who have had nothing to do with Metallica, yet they enjoy the film, because it goes beyond Metal music - it's a story of humanity and growth. That, in my opinion, is always something worth experiencing.

Very happy viewing.

Report this review (#273985)
Posted Wednesday, March 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars St Clanger, I'm madly in anger with you... but I love the documentary!

The best thing about the much maligned St Anger is the documentary behind it, Some Kind of Monster.

The band went through immense turmoil during the making of this album. Hetfield left the band for rehab and to clear the cobwebs in his head. With lyrics about his lifestyle and his 'deathstyle', the content of 'St Anger' is bitter, morbid and twisted, and there is no heart in it. Hetfield sounds like he has vocal diarrhea, a word incidentally, from the Greek word meaning 'flowing through'. The only thing flowing on this monstrosity is the cash from the fans who unfortunately were blind sided into buying an expensive beer coaster.

The documentary is a fly on the wall look at how St Wanger was created and it is not a pretty sight. Nothing is left to the imagination as we witness the personal trauma suffered by all concerned. Hefield in particular comes across as breaking down in fornt of us all and it truly sad and as emotionally raw as you will see in a doco, even more so than Anvil. The best thing as far as for the band that occurs is the introduction of bassist Robert Trujillo, who jumped on board the Metallica Machine and he looks stunned when they say it is him they want. Bob Rock on the other hand annoys and fascinates at intervals, making his presence felt but he is no where near as annoying as the counsellor who just jumps in every chance he gets. Some of the things he says are profound and some are just plain frustrating.

When Hetfield leaves it is a compelling movie and you really feel for the band and crew. Lars is especially vocal and very hurt it seems but he is intelligent to know that Hetfield will return; deep down he knows it. Of course the result of this personal chaos is the album stinks. The lyrics were written on toilet paper so that the music industry could wipe their bums on them. Ulrich is most worried about this release but it is out of their hands and we see on the doco how a band is treated when they are at their lowest and it is not for the faint hearted. To see Metallica falling apart is distressing for the fan but as we know they have a triumphant return with the incredible Death Magnetic. I also loved Megadeth's intervention to help out in places, and the scene where Mustaine expresses his pain at being second best in Megadeth is apowerfully moving moment; one of the most unforgettable parts of the doco.

We hear some of the inane lyrics being rehearsed such as the infamous unforgiveable crapola of Frantic; "tick tick tick tick tick tick tock, Frantic tick tick tick tick tick tick tock, Treading water full of worry, This frantic tick tick talk goes hurry... my lifestyle determines my deathstyle" or "This is the face that you hide from, This is the mask that comes undone, Ominous, I am in us, Ominous, I am in us..." or "No compromise, My heart won't pump the other way, Wake the sleeping giant, Wake the beast, Wake the sleeping dog, No, let him sleep..." or "Tear it down, Strip my layers off, My turpentine, Old paint, old looks, Cover up the past, White heat, white light, Super whity, bones, Bones of you and I, Pure if I ... Can't you help me?" and finally "Who's in charge of my head today, Dancin' devils in angels way, It's my time now, Look out motherf***ers here I come, Gonna make my head my home..." Of course we all know the lyrics are a result of how disturbed the band were at the time; nothing was going right and as you see in the doco the band are just going through the motions simply to continue.

The whole background on this album is compelling viewing and the documentary is one of the best 'warts and all' fly- on-the-wall docos in history. Avoid the album, watch the movie.

Report this review (#523830)
Posted Thursday, September 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars 'Some Kind of Monster' is an interesting look at the personal problems that arise amongst band members after having worked together throughout careers that span decades. The biggest rock band in the world is on the verge of breaking up, with one member leaving, one member in rehab and one member being the most hated man in music. It's compelling viewing, that's for sure.

However, it's been often stated that this will appeal to Metallica fans and non-fans alike, and I do consider that a bit of an overstatement. I'm a huge, huge die-hard fan of the band, but at two hours and 10 minutes in duration, and a couple of hours of extra material, even I find this quite a tedious viewing at times.

Essentially, it boils down to the egos of two men, James and Lars, and goes on to become nothing more than 'Temper Tantrum: The Movie'. Still, it's always fun and interesting to see what musicians I admire get up to when they're not on stage. The process of recording their 2003 dud of album 'St. Anger', what they do in their spare time, the auditions for a new bass player and the endless promotional events they partake in.

While this isn't essential viewing to the average movie-goer, fans of the band will enjoy this stripped and bare movie that shows that even rich and famous rock stars have egos and emotions, and the tolls that that stardom takes on them.

Report this review (#2436288)
Posted Sunday, August 9, 2020 | Review Permalink

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