Few films have achieved what 1984’s This Is Spinal Tap did: spawning both a cult phenomenon and a whole new genre. Though the history of mockumentary traces back to the 60s masters like Shirley Clarke and Richard Lester, Spinal Tap is inarguably the one that set modern standards. Some of the funniest films of our time carried its torch, from Borat (2006) to What We Do in the Shadows (2014).
Here are 8 films in the Filmhub catalog that channel the Spinal Tap spirit and go up to eleven.
The Golden Age
Directed by Justin Connor / Drama / 2020 / 103 mins / United States
Synopsis: After a string of controversial remarks gets him dropped from his music label, pop star Maya O’Malley sets out on a spiritual pilgrimage throughout India in an attempt to resolve his troubled past.
What makes it special: Wildly talented writer-director-actor-musician Justin Connor went both in front of and behind the camera to create his alter ego - pop star Maya O’Malley. What begins as a playful recount of a struggling musician soon develops into a semi-autobiographical journey of a man seeking redemption and healing. While the character is forged, Connor’s songs are every bit as genuine and remarkable.
Directed by Aleksey Igudesman / Comedy / 2012 / 80 mins / Austria
Synopsis: The world-famous violinist with a nose fetish, Julian Rachlin, takes over the town of Dubrovnik, Croatia, every year to bring together some of the world’s greatest musicians, actors, and composers and create a unique classical music festival. His oldest friend Aleksey Igudesman offers to make a documentary film that will take an “inside look” at this “fairytale” festival but things seem to go wrong from the start.
What makes it special: Violinist, composer, and filmmaker Aleksey Igudesman’s directorial debut has been one of the most absurd and uncategorizable in our catalog. No matter how much you know about classical music, the film will forever change your perspective. Among the cast are some big names in classical music, plus John Malkovich and Roger Moore hilariously playing themselves.
Where to stream it: Plex
Your Good Friend
Directed by Matthew Jacobs / Drama / 2013 / 83 mins / United States
Synopsis: A widowed rabbi and a washed-up pornographer team up to form a clergy-approved porn site. An unlikely friendship emerges between these two damaged souls as they document the process.
What makes it special: Matthew Jacobs, prolific TV writer known for Doctor Who (1996) and The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones (2002), co-wrote and co-starred in his own no budget and highly improvised directorial debut, along with real-life Reform Rabbi Lawrence Kushner. Apart from brilliantly delivering the kind of jokes you’d expect, the film at its core is a touching ode to an unlikely friendship.
Where to stream it: Tubi
Directed by Matias Masucci / Comedy / 2013 / 88 mins / United States
Synopsis: Noise music mockumentary about the band Shame on You, an abstract painter, a sound perfectionist, and a social agitator. Things take an ugly turn when their pimp manager, Captain Monroe, books them to play the Sandstorm Noise Music Festival.
What makes it special: A real gem that’s ahead of its time and yet to receive the cult status it deserves. To quote the Amazon review of a “mockumentary connoisseur” - “It looks at the warped reality of contemporary hip culture without passing judgment on it”, we couldn’t have said it better.
My English Soccer Adventure
Directed by Warren Dudley / Comedy / 2018 / 57 mins / United Kingdom
Synopsis: US Soccer superstar Keeley Jones visits England to find out a bit more about one of the oldest soccer teams in the world. When she gets there she finds a club in turmoil and a manager on the brink.
What makes it special: If you are still feeling blue over England’s Euro 2020 final defeat, this just might be the film you need right now. Created by Warren Dudley, the writer of UK hit comedy The Bromley Boys, it features astonishing performances by Hannaj Bang Bendz and Roger O’Hara, real locations, adorable non-actor kids, extremely dry humor, and jokes for true soccer fans.
Thunderlust (and the Middle Beast)
Directed by Steve Pratt / Comedy / 2018 / 83 mins / Jordan
Synopsis: A dysfunctional glam metal band travels to the Middle East to shoot their music videos. What could possibly go wrong?
What makes it special: A spiritual successor to Spinal Tap 30+ years later developed around the same music genre (yes, hair metal is still alive) and executed with equally raw energy. Bonus points for its Jordan settings and as a result jokes that get dangerously close to the line between funny and offensive.
Where to stream it: Tubi
Directed by Matt Roberts / Comedy / 2017 / 21 mins / United Kingdom
Synopsis: After years of failure a desperate aging ‘boy band’ give it one last shot to hit the big time.
What makes it special: Another music genre that could use a good spoof - probably even more so than 80’s metal. Irish comedian and filmmaker Ciarán Dowd along with his critically acclaimed sketch group BEASTS went all out on this short but sweet fix.
Where to stream it: Amazon
Head Above Water
Directed by Connor Fairclough / Comedy / 2018 / 54 mins / Australia
Synopsis: A fictional documentary following the craziest rivalry in Australian surfing history.
What makes it special: We’ve had a handful for the music lovers so last but not least a fun one for the surfers. A wild ride featuring some of Australia’s upcoming comedians and actors, and a surfer punching a shark.