The Sparks Brothers

Edgar Wright stylishly examines the band you may or may not have heard of.

I learn music through movies and shows, and depending on their rhythm, the songs move me in various ways. I dance to them with the right styles and thoughts. Thinking and dancing is a perfect combo if you acknowledge them through my perspectives.

“The Sparks Brothers” is a documentary on two brothers, who are known as Sparks, not the Sparks Brothers. Their names are Ron and Russell Mael. They’re not twins, because Ron is the older brother. They’re not British like The Beatles, The Who, or Queen; they’re Americans, who don’t want to be too British to be music legends. To clarify their positions, Russell is the singer, while Ron is on the keyboards.

Director Edgar Wright makes the movie a little too long (ranging at 2 hours and 20 minutes), but as an inspiring filmmaker, he gives “The Sparks Brothers” style and charisma. Remember: I’m only saying “The Sparks Brothers” as the title, not the band, as they prefer not to be called. Let’s call them Ron and Russell or Sparks.

About me learning songs from movies. I’m not going to lie to your loyal readers. I’ve haven’t even heard of Sparks, and if you haven’t heard of them either, please let me know. But if you have, please let me know and share with me your perspectives on them. This doc has perspectives of them from a number of stars like Mike Myers, Fred Armisen, Jason Schwartzmann, Patton Oswalt, Bernard Butler, Todd Rundgren, Flea, and Beck. No wonder the tag line states: “Your favorite band’s favorite band.”

The interviewees are all shot in black and white, reminding us of music classics like “A Hard Day’s Night” or “I’m Not There.” We also get colorful animated segments-traditionally animated or stop motion, and the movie balances its colors with a trippy vibe, almost like “Memento,” when they made the present scenes in color and the flashback in black and white.

So far in their music careers, they have made 25 albums with over 300 songs, and like the best musicians, Ron and Russell have had their highs and lows. They’ve also had rumors via the press, way before social media took over the show, like Ron having a mustache similar to Adolf Hitler and Charlie Chaplin. Why did he go with that kind of mustache? Because those two are practically cartoon characters. Although in other cases, they kind of remind me of Freddy Mercury mixed with Hall & Oates and The Beatles with their various appearances and vocals.

Speaking of appearances, Sparks are both heterosexual, although they did dress up like homosexuals on their album covers. You know how things get, via public wise.

The biggest song was “When I’m With You” when Ron was a ventriloquist and Russell was the dummy in the music video. They say it’s soundtrack material, and listening to it for the first time, I really think it has the vibe to be on a movie soundtrack.

These guys have better judgement than other musicians who resort to drugs. These guys haven’t done drugs, and we’re more concerned about expanding their horizons, while not letting the fame consume them. These two are brothers, who need each other, not just for their music, but also the connection that makes them brothers.

“The Sparks Brothers” could have been shorter, because elements of the movie are basically the same things happening over and over again, but I admire how Wright gets Sparks and their loyal fans on camera to introduce us to their creativity. Again, I haven’t heard about them, my mom hasn’t heard of them, and I don’t know who knows them. And again, I learn about musicians and their songs through movies. And this doc is a movie.

Rating: 3 out of 4.



Categories: Documentary, Music

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