Edgar Wright’s documentary on Ron and Russell Mael is a deep dive into their music. It opens with their fans, many famous admirers including Jason Schwartzman, Neil Gaiman, Patton Oswald, Flea, and Beck along with the brothers themselves share how their drive, creativity and humor has carried them over five decades of performing music.
The brothers grew up in California Pacific Palisades, a suburb of Los Angles. Their father was an illustrator and caricaturist for the Hollywood Citizen-News newspaper and their mother was a librarian. Together they exposed their sons to music, art, comedy, film, surfing and more. Fast forward to their University years, the brothers formed a pop band, Halfnelson, which would eventually be rebranded to The Sparks.
Although they never became worldwide hit makers, the success the the brothers did achieve allow them to have careers their way. They are consistent in their drive, creativity, and humor. This gets emphasized and repeated with various cartoon and paper Mache short films. skits, and clips from their music videos all of which made me laugh, cry and go wow! Also many of these shorts, skits and clips reminded me of Peter Gabriel music videos from the 1980s and one album cover where Russell and Ron are dressed as bride and groom made me think immediately of Queen’s I Want to Break Free.
Throughout the whole documentary, I could feel the great affection their admirers, including Edgar Wright, feel for the Mael brothers and it is infectious. It made me feel really good and other times break out in wonder so much so I just embraced what I got nothing more and nothing less.
The Sparks Brothers Documentary – available to stream on Netflix
Ruminate Central –: Christy’s Review