Anvil: The Story Of Anvil : Monitor Mix Last night, I pried myself away from the televised Scripps National Spelling Bee so I could see Anvil: The Story of Anvil at a local movie theater. Directed by Sacha Gervasi, the film follows Anvil, a

Anvil: The Story Of Anvil

Last night, I pried myself away from the televised Scripps National Spelling Bee so I could see Anvil: The Story of Anvil at a local movie theater. Directed by Sacha Gervasi, the film follows Anvil, a Canadian metal band, as it works on their 13th studio album and tries to make it big after 30 years as a band.

There is so much to love about this movie, I don't really know where to begin. I'll start with the group itself: Steve "Lips" Kudlow is the guitar player, songwriter and singer. His mouth collects saliva as he talks, and it seeps out the corners of his lips in an expression of foamy eagerness. Robb Reiner is the drummer (double kick drums, but of course!), an Edward Hopper fan and a painter himself; in both of his artistic endeavors, he vacillates between self-effacement and self-aggrandizement. Lips and Robb have been playing music together since they were 14. They act like brothers, like lovers and like best friends. If nothing else, Anvil: The Story of Anvil is the best bromance film of the year. Yes, but it's so much more.

Within the fickle and fleeting world of rock stardom, it's hard to imagine keeping the dream of fame and fortune alive for longer than a few years. By the time we're in our mid-30s or early 40s (if we've lasted that long), most of us would think that if it hasn't happened yet, it's not going to happen at all. We'd pack up the guitars, go back to school, find other work, get married, have kids, move on. We'd especially give up if we were 50, particularly if the goal wasn't just to have fun and play gigs, but to achieve worldwide domination. But Anvil has not given up, nor have their families.

What makes the story of Anvil so touching is that Lips and Robb exist in an incredibly insular world (both literally, in a small Canadian town, but also figuratively), as if the only way to live out their fantasy is to ensure that reality can never seep in. Of course, it inevitably does, in frustrating, maddening fits, but they return to this strange, dreamlike place -- almost spiritual in nature -- that allows them to believe, and for the people around them to believe.

For example, Robb has a wife who still sports an '80s hair-to-the-heavens 'do, and who hasn't given up on the notion that she could be a rock star's wife. And Lips' siblings -- doctors and accountants -- collectively hold his wishes in their hearts as if Lips were still a child and had his whole life ahead of him. Anvil: The Story of Anvil expresses both the fragility and the futility of hopes, both attainable and false. And how, frankly, most of us don't have the nerve or the humility to continue on with those early ambitions and dreams.

Following the movie, I was trying to think of other bands who have simply not given up despite years of near or nonexistent success. Guided By Voices? Nada Surf? Dead Moon? Or, more likely, there are other Anvils out there: middle-aged musicians still hoping for that one big break. Go for gold.

Feel free to share your thoughts about the movie, about similar bands, or about your own early dreams of fame that you're still striving for, or that you've had to let go of.