Metallica is one of the most successful groups in music history. They’ve sold over 90 million records, played 1,000’s of sold out concerts all over the world and have legions of adoring fans. They’ve become Uber-Rich getting to do what millions of others only dream of, live life as a rock star.
“Some Kind Of Monster” takes us inside the inner workings of Metallica for two years as they attempt to record a new album and reclaim their crown as one of the greatest rock bands ever. But what we get could hardly classify as interesting or even mildly entertaining (unless you’re a hard core fan). Simply put this is a TWO HOUR AND 20 MINUTE long documentary that consists of nothing more than millionaire rock stars bitching, whining and complaining about their problems.
“Some Kind Of Monster” opens with the band, James (Hetfield) Lars (Ulrich) and Kirk (Hammett), discussing their future in a rented suite at the Ritz Carlton with their $40,000 a month live-in Shrink named Phil Towle who, as Lars explains it, works with sports teams to help motivate guys with big egos to work together.
Now this scene alone would be hilarious if it was all done tongue in cheek. It plays out like Metallica aping Spinal Tap. But they’re not as we soon learn.
With the help of Phil, the guys learn to express their love (and anger) for each other. Lars complains about James. James complains about Lars complaining about James. Lars complains about too much complaining. James complains because he missed his son’s first birthday, which he missed because he was bear hunting in Russia. All the while Kirk the calm zen-master of the group attempts to play peacemaker.
Then James has a real problem. After twenty years of drinking himself silly as a member of “Alcoholica” he’s decided he needs to finally enter rehab. With James gone for six months Lars picks up the slack and does double duty as head complainer. He complains about not being able to play in his band, he complains about Napster, he complains about just about anything he can get involved with.
But between his marathon whining sessions Lars takes a break to show us some mountain top property he’s purchased. Then he’s off to an art auction where he sells his art collection for a few million dollars (the Basquiat that hangs in his living room alone fetches $5 million). It’s so obvious now why he’s got to stop Napster, so he can get a Picasso for his bathroom.
But there’s no rest for the wicked. James returns from rehab and states that he only wants to work on their new album for four hours a day to spend more time with his family. So of course Lars complains about that too.
Surprisingly the only people that bring some sanity to the situation are former members Dave (Mustaine) and Jason (Newsted). Dave was kicked out of the band 20 years earlier and is still pissed off about it, mostly because he knows Lars and James are self-centered a******s. As does Jason, who quit the band after 14 years as their bass player prior to the start of this film. Newsted comes across as the only one that actually can look at the situation for what it is, insane.
Documentary directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky actually do a great job of filming what was originally supposed to be a documentary about the recording of the new Metallica album, which due to rehab and a few other sidesteps turned into a two year project. They show in great detail what it’s like to be inside Metallica’s inter-sanctum. And that’s why this is such a terrible film.
The members of Metallica have become so successful and so insulated from the real world that they actually think that everyone else should care about their problems as much as they do. It’s the classic case of the Emperor’s new clothes. While the rest of the world is busy dealing with terror alerts, war, poverty and unemployment, those poor guys in Metallica, somehow still find a myriad of ways to feel sorry for themselves.