A brilliant and hilarious documentary-style satire of a has-been British heavy metal band who never really was on an absurd American comeback tour that never quite gets off the ground, THIS IS SPINAL TAP practically birthed the mockumentary style. Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer are David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel, and Derek Smalls, respectively–three clueless, self-absorbed men who form the nucleus of Spinal Tap, aging purveyors of overwrought songs with titles such as “Big Bottom,” “Smell the Glove,” and “Sex Farm.” Shot in faux cinema verite-style with director Rob Reiner as fictional filmmaker Marty DiBergi, the film lampoons just about every rock & roll cliche (not to mention every rockumentary cliche) in the book as it follows these fallen rock idols from one disastrous gig to the next. Scenes of the tour’s descent from desperation into total collapse are interspersed with interviews in which the band members delightfully prattle on inanely about the none-too-illustrious history and dubious vision of Spinal Tap. THIS IS SPINAL TAP is a striking and acutely hysterical directorial debut for Reiner and a deserved cult classic. Watch for an endless array of cameos by wonderful comic character actors along the way.