Boy, this movie is well-done but quite depressing - full of bad music and vacuous people. Spheeris captures the bands working to become rock stars, their fans, and the decadent stars they all idolize. Everybody comes across as ignorant and proud of it. Spheeris definitely makes her sympathies clear. For example, one man's self-destructive behavior while his mother watches is haunting and excruciating to watch.
This is first-rate biased doc-making. Spheeris slowly shows her hand and her opinion, at first casually observing – or, as with the Ace Frehley material, ironically framing – hedonistic, destructive, and misogynistic behavior being confused for art & community. By the end, with the full-length Megadeth footage, you realize: she never showed the other bands play full songs, because she has no respect for them.
More like the Hair Metal Years. Hated that fucking shit back then and the years have not improved the sound. Why Alice, Ozzy, Lenny and even the Aerosmith twins would associated with this bunch is beyond me. These wankers looked ridiculous then and like the aforementioned sound, the years have not made the "look" look better. Here's hoping Part III is less cringe-worthy.
The first movie did such a great job of capturing such a diverse group of amazing, immortal bands... every band not just great but really unique... while this film is strictly scraping the bottom of the barrel, except for Megadeth. There WERE great metal bands in LA at the time... Imagine this movie with performances by Slayer, GNR, Dark Angel, Motorhead... would've been a very different story.
"Do you think you're going to be a rock star?" "Oh ya, oh ya, I'm going to be famous, ya. I think it'll come pretty easily for me. You know, 'cause I'm different from anyne else." This is a hard movie to "rate." Directorily, she nails it. Disregarding sound or talent, she profiles bands that were earnestly going for it, whether it be for art or sex. It's real snapshot, just like Part I, of pop music.
I'm prejudiced by my dislike of the general Metal ethos. Spheeris captures that ethos and distills it into this doc: bizarre, frightening, sometimes humorous. This one has more narrative/filmic structure than Part I, and it lacks the spontaneity and moments of off-the-cuff brilliance. This one is plotted by issue A, issue B, etc., and that feels stale. There's also a distance between director, viewer, and subject.
In confronting performance sequences with staged interviews Spheeris succeeds in showing the cultural background of Metal Music with all its clichés and acting (and also with its ridiculous political correct counterpoint that declares war on Heavy Metal). But the documentary doesn't stay focused and gets a little bit fuzzy in the last third.
Surprisingly good (I'm not a fan of Heavy Metal), but this is a worthy follow-up to Part I. Spheeris has a way of capturing the most fucked-up people in all of their glory. And like Part I, it's a snapshot in time. These films tell about much more than just rock n' roll.
In this movie, the music takes a back seat to the glam. Bowie was able to be a real musician, but many of these bands are representative of the decade of greed. When I was in High School a girl I was dating went to a KISS concert. I gave her a hard time. Anyone who was serious about music would never do that. It was generally agreed that they were a joke. It was just understood. They're not a band, they're a brand.