The Sparks Brothers

The Sparks Brothers

Take a musical odyssey through five weird and wonderful decades with brothers Ron & Russell Mael, celebrating the inspiring legacy of Sparks: your favorite band’s favorite band.

  • Released: 2021-06-18
  • Runtime: 140 minutes
  • Genre: Documentaries, Music
  • Stars: Ron Mael, Russell Mael, Beck, Gary Stewart, Mike Berns, Jane Wiedlin, Sal Maida, Christi Haydon, Dean Menta, Harley Feinstein, Tony Visconti, Mike Myers, Fred Armisen, Tammy Glover, John Hewlett, Giorgio Moroder, 'Weird Al' Yankovic, Muff Winwood, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Todd Rundgren, Flea, Hilly Michaels, Jason Schwartzman, Jonathan Ross, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Dan Palladino, Mark Crowther, Vera Hegarty, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Katie Puckrik, Patton Oswalt, Steve Jones, James Lowe, Bernard Butler, Scott Aukerman, David Kendrick, Stevie Nistor, Chris Difford, Martyn Ware, Alex Kapranos, Paul Morley, Julia Marcus, Pamela Des Barres, Roddy Bottum, Les Bohem, April Richardson, Lance Robertson, Jack Antonoff, John Congleton, Earle Mankey, Larry DuPont, Patricia Lowe, Vince Clarke, Andy Bell, Björk, Mark Gatiss, Richard Coble, Nick Heyward, Ian Hampton, Thurston Moore, Peter Knego, Michael Silverblatt, Adam Buxton, Tosh Berman, Edgar Wright, Rusty Egan, Jake Fogelnest, Dave Weigel, Madeline Bocchiaro, Sue Harris, Ben House, Evan Weiss, Alex Casnoff, Patrick Kelly, Eli Pearl, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Leos Carax, Adam Driver, Daniel Palladino
  • Director: Edgar Wright
  • henry8-3 - 17 April 2022
    The Sparks Brothers
    Follows the careers of Ron and Russell Mael of the famous band, broadly following it via their 25 ish albums with clips of concerts and amusing insights from the pair and those that have worked with them or have worshipped from afar.

    Possibly just a little long, this is a fascinating and witty walk through Sparks' career, demonstrating that aside from their phenomenal longevity they are absolutely committed to the music they love so much, irrespective of the views of 'fans' and critics and seemingly work really hard to achieve this. I for one was amazed how much they'd done and indeed how great their music was / is.
  • Reviewer99 - 16 January 2022
    What a Long Strange Trip ...
    I first saw them on an episode of Don Kirshner's Rock Concert in 1975. They were strange but you wanted to keep watching and listening. I should have been watching and listening since then as this documentary shows.

    Great stuff!
  • Rob-O-Cop - 7 August 2021
    Flat telling of a multifaceted story.
    This film had so much going for it but dragged itself aimlessly and uninsightfully across the rocks, overselling every 'joke' and every detail till they felt flat and uninspired.

    If you have to spell out how clever something is, you're either telling it badly or it wasn't that clever.

    The guys are undoubtedly clever, funny and talented, but this telling of their story isn't.

    Appropriating the brilliant Brothers McLeod animation style from their classic Bowie, Eno and Visconti clip seemed forced and unoriginal. Ie it had already been done wonderfully for another artist, and highlighted how Sparks never got asked about what influenced them much at all. They're original, everyone else follows them? Um, Bowie???

    For all the 'getting musical friends of Eager Wrights to spout lyrically about the utter importance and influence of Sparks' we don't see a lot of falsetto singing glamming it up from the influencees. It came across as a puff piece and glib lip service. Sparks could just be what they are, an original diamond that maintained it's own course but instead we're sold a story that Wright wanted to tell.

    Some bits felt awkwardly staged. The ending where the guys roll off fake facts about themselves for 'comic' effect felt at odds with the identity and character of them, as did the whispering to camera the "I'm the important part of Sparks, he's just the keyboardist/singer" bit. It reeked of Wright saying 'hey read this, it'll be hilarious', and then neglecting to leave it on the cutting room floor when it obviously showed itself as a BAD idea. That's one of the main problems here. Over 2 hours of length, and a lack of filtering.

    This happened a few times through the film and really eroded the honesty of the project. I sincerely wanted to just enjoy the Brothers for who they were and hear their actual story, not this manipulated A-lister director's take on it.

    It's great that he likes them enough to make a film about them, but is it really about them or him?

    Not everything they did was genius and that's absolutely fine in a career this long. Those 80s albums and styles were dull. The ex drummer shedding tears over their 6 year dry spell was just bizarre, can't they have writers block or lose their way? Is it not ok to be off some times? Cos they most certainly came back from it. That would count as character development, a journey, a destination. You know,..... what this film lacked.

    What about their early family life that made them who they are. They were ok to talk about it and the film is dedicated to their parents, but apparently it wasn't interesting enough to dig into. What made them who they are? We won't find out from this one and only shot at looking into the group.

    This could have been so much better. This should have been so much better. Half ar$ed.