Armadillos in Their Trousers

On the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of “This Is Spinal Tap,” film writer Ali Arikan pens this warm tribute to the much-beloved “mockumentary,” digging out its underlying themes.

At its core, ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ is a film about failure, and therefore emblematic of one of man’s greatest dichotomies: The gap between who we think we are, and who the world knows we are…

We usually think we are the stars of our own movie when in fact we are extras in everyone else’s. We go through our lives as if we were the nexus of existence, yet there is an entire universe that is happening all around us, one in which we are hardly noticeable. Our greatest catharses tend to be insignificant compared to the daily crises of others…

‘This is Spinal Tap’ is built on this struggle.

Read the full essay at


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