Spheeris, Penelope – We Sold Our Souls for Rock \’n\’ Roll (DVD)

Reviewed: November 2001
Released: 2001, Divine Pictures
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: JP


A documentary film about the 1999 Ozzfest tour.

Anytime someone has the brains and balls to make a movie about Heavy Metal it is an event. The movie doesn’t even have to be that good, it is still an event and something that most metal fans go see, because of the complete lack of movies about the genre. How many metal movies have there been in the last 30 years…six?, seven?

Anyway, this is the latest but far from greatest. I saw the opening night debut in late September at the Calgary Film Festival.. The director, Ms. Spheeris was supposed to be in attendance to introduce the premier but was unwilling to travel due to the terrorist attacks in NYC.

The movie is a documentary covering the 1998 (or was it 199?) Ozzfest Tour. This is a straight rock ‘n’ roll documentary and that includes all the good and bad that go with it. As a piece of film-making, I’m not an expert but it seemed pretty standard. A linear documentary starting with the opening acts working along the tour, interviews with band members, roadies, groupies, assistants etc, inter-spliced with on-stage footage of the bands. A day in the life of Ozzfest really. Predictable. Lots of little highlights however including some fairly candid interviews with Sharon Osbourne, master-mind and ring-leader of the whole deal, and a neat interview with Ozzy’s long-time personal assistant. There were some cool details about the immense planning and organization that goes into producing a huge traveling…circus! The footage of the girls taking their tops off was nice, the footage of the freak show, with people hammering nails up their noses, was not nice and I could have done with out the endless parade of semi-drunk idiots shouting “Ozzy” or “Slayer” at the camera. The obligatory shots of the right-wing, moral majority types protesting the shows along the way was kinda fun.

The production was nice, the sound was good, the music was generally poor not due to sound quality but due to the commercial, nu-metal (ed. note: Mallcore) style of most of the bands on the tour, Slayer and Primus being the obvious exceptions. Does anyone know who this “Buckethead” guy is? I kinda think it’s Steve Vai. Whoever he is, he was one of the only people who could actually play his instrument on this tour, again Slayer and Primus being the exceptions. I enjoyed the movie not for the bands and music but more for all the little extras about the tour, the people and personalities, trials and tribulations of the tour. Maybe that’s why I gave it a three. I didn’t really like many of the bands on the bill and for a rock ‘n’ roll documentary that is where it really lacked. Several non-descript generic bands paraded out one after the other doing their silly jump up and down, fake-aggro thing… but who am I to judge? They were having fun pretending to be angry and pretending not to have fun. Who wouldn’t?

Verdict? Skip the independent theater run, wait for the video (a $3.00 rental for sure) and don’t bother buying the DVD.

Editors note: This movie was listed as DVD for sake of categorization in the database. As of February 2013, the film has still not been formally released on a home format. Watch for poor quality, VHS bootlegs on the internet. Buyer beware.


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Track Listing:

Technical Details:
Format Reviewed:
Run Time: 1 hour, 30
Screen: 2.35:1
Sound: Dolby 2.0
Production Year: 2001




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