IFFBoston: ‘The Sparks Brothers’ is a salute to the iconic pop-rock duo

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IFFBoston

“The Sparks Brothers” directed by the acclaimed Edgar Wright was included in this year’s IFFBoston.

With 25 albums, 50 years in the music business and 345 songs together Sparks is the rock duo that few people have heard of but thousands of musicians and artists have been inspired by.

When I went to watch “The Sparks Brothers,” I thought it was just another mockumentary that was made by Edgar Wright, the director known for the British horror-comedy, “Shaun of the Dead.” I went in thinking it was just a spoof and that this band was somewhat strange with OK music, but I was wrong. 

Sparks was founded by brothers Ron and Russell Mael in the 1960s. Their type of music is a mix of pop and rock, but their sound was ahead of their time and could easily make the Billboard Top 100 charts. 

The film dived into the history behind them and how they went from being just a band named Halfnelson to The Sparks Brothers, to just Sparks. Famous bands like The Go-Go’s, Duran Duran to famous singers like Beck and “Weird Al” Yankovic were all inspired by the sound of the Mael brothers. 

The story is about how people thought Sparks was a unique band from the U.K., but they really came from California. It dives into how they come up with the name of their albums and how their lyrics have double meanings.  

Bands from each decade in this film tell stories about their interaction with Sparks. They are just so funny and amazing. If there was a book about the stories that didn’t make it into the film, I would buy it. This film is something that I wish would come out on DVD so I could watch it every day. It was well directed by Wright and perfectly made. 

Ron and Russell were also very funny in this film and their polar opposites are clear, unique and entertaining. What really makes the film so unique is the use of paintings, stop motion and claymation, for some reenactments that are used when the duo tells us their story. 

I was blown away by just watching this movie with no prior knowledge of Sparks. But when the movie ended, I went on Spotify and Amazon Music just to listen for myself. I spent two hours and 34 minutes listening to their entire discography. My new favorite song from Sparks is “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us” from their album “Kimono My House.” 

Overall, this film is one of the most entertaining documentaries at this year’s IFFBoston. If you watch this film, you too will become a fan of Sparks. Viewers will not be disappointed. 

Check out the band on Instagram @sparks_official.