Metallica: This Monster Lives, the inside story of Some Kind of Monster, the documentary movie. Written by Joe Berlinger (the filmmaker) and Greg Milner.
I gave this three and a half stars. This is about the making of the Metallica documentary called Some Kind of Monster. The primary filmmaker, Joe Berlinger, wrote the book, with help from someone named Greg Milner. I’d never heard of either of them but then I never pay much attention to moviemakers. I've seen the movie, though, and thought it was pretty good. This gives a lot more detail and gives information that couldn't be fitted into a movie. Here's what I liked best, 1) the stuff about Metallica and the extra details that the movie didn't show, 2) the reasons why some material that was filmed didn't make it into the movie, 3) the way in which the material was often presented out of chronological order in order to show the "essence" of the story rather than an absolute straight ahead telling, and 4) the reactions of Metallica to the movie.
Other than the fact that I don’t really buy the “essence” comment, I liked all this material. Showing material out of chronological order is manipulating the material to tell a story in a certain way and to make certain points arrived at by the filmmakers. I understand why it’s done, for dramatic effect. Although Berlinger seems to feel strongly about the “essence” of the story concept, he admits that this is a selection process, and since they filmed thousands of hours and had to cut it down to movie length you can imagine that making such choices was pretty tough.
What I didn't care as much for: a lot of information given by Joe Berlinger about his previous documentaries and how much he grew as a person while making this one. I'm in no way, shape, or form a movie buff, or even interested in the whole field of film. This material might prove much more interesting to someone who is. It was well written and flowed with the other material for the most part. I just didn’t really care. My sole interest was in the band.
The one film-related thing I did find interesting was that Berlinger is the guy who handled the filming of Blair Witch 2, which was critically lambasted but which was actually far superior to the original Blair Witch movie. That movie was a completely faked documentary, or mockumentary. In other words, Blair Witch 1 was one of the silliest moments in film history. Berlinger talked about how he didn’t like the concept of the mockumentary and I absolutely agree with him and this upped my respect for him considerably. He also talked about how the failure of Blair Witch 2 triggered a long period of depression for him and made him think his career was over. I could sympathize with him here for sure.
All in all, I liked the book quite a lot. It was perhaps a little long, and I might have liked more selected pieces of dialogue from the band, but it was worth my time.