Monday, June 14, 2021

The Sparks Brothers Review: A Fascinating And Funny Documentary About This Influential Band

Release date: June 18, 2021
Running time: 141 minutes
Director: Edgar Wright [This is his first documentary.]
Producers: Edgar Wright, Nira Park, George Hencken, Laura Richardson

How can one rock band be successful, underrated, hugely influential, and criminally overlooked all at the same time? Take a musical odyssey through five weird and wonderful decades with brothers Ron and Russell Mael, celebrating the inspiring legacy of Sparks: your favorite band’s favorite band.

The Sparks Brothers tells the story of a band that you might not know, have probably heard and has influenced your favorite bands.  And the band definitely deserves your attention, with a career that has spanned decades, with 25 albums and 350 songs Sparks have been a prolific force in the recording studio.  But what is so interesting about them is that they have really stayed true to their musical conscious; Sparks have played the music that they want to in the style that they want to without giving in to mainstream influences.  They are actually very contrarian, mocking the mainstream trends or their record label when a suggestion to change their style comes up. 

And The Sparks Brothers tells the story of the band chronologically, from the early days before they even decided to try their hand at rock music, up through the present day when they are still recording and still experimenting.  It has statements from the two brothers and several current and former band mates to help tell their story.  But what is most impressive about the documentary is that it contains interviews from all sorts of celebrities who have been influenced by their music.  The list is impressive and is not just musicians that have been influenced by Sparks: actors, celebrities, and even news personalities give their opinions and insights into the bands music and antics. 

But the movie is also funny.  As you would expect from a film by Edgar Wright, there is a wry sense of humor that matches the director and the band.  Sparks is a band that is not afraid to buck trends or participate in antics to get a laugh and the documentary makes that perfectly clear.  And what is also really great to see is the musical journey that the band went through.  Although the documentary is a long one, it really charts a course through the entire catalogue of Sparks.  You get to see their discography and how the musical styles evolved through the years.  And most importantly, you get stories and insight from the elusive, strange brothers about this influential band.

The Sparks Brothers gives you the inside look at an influential band that does not get the recognition it deserves, with a wonderful journey through their discography and a whimsical, irreverent humor that matches the musicians. 

Watch it.

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The Sparks Brothers is available in theaters on June 18, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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