Anvil! The Story of Anvil is partly a 'real' Spinal Tap: the disastrous tour and album promotion, the intense relationship between the band's two frontmen, in the eighties they even looked like Spinal Tap. It goes a lot deeper than Spinal Tap though, it's about people still trying to 'follow their dream' after thirty years of being knocked back. It's being sold as an 'inspirational fable' rather than a documentary about metal and it's true that the music is only the background to a story about human endeavour. The sheer amount of bare emotion wears you down into actually wanting them to succeed. There are moments when they seem as dumb as their fictional counterparts, but the film is always with them and never looks down. It's a documentary that stays on the level of its subjects rather than laughing at them. Of course the film itself has been a huge success for them, making the whole thing weirdly metafictional. I'm waiting for the film about the film.
It confuses me, though, when a documentary is called a 'masterpiece.' The crew can only film what is real and put in the front of them. The subjects rely on the crew to portray them in the right way. It can't (or shouldn't) be written or orchestrated. So who should take the credit for the 'masterpiece'? How can reality be a 'masterpiece'? I don't know.