God Bless Ozzy Osbourne(blu-ray, 2011, 135 minutes)
The best metal documentaries are the ones with genuine emotion in them (Anvil, for example), and God Bless Ozzy Osbourne is loaded with all sorts of emotion. Produced by the man’s son, Jack*, this blu-ray runs the gamut of emotions. From hilarious stories with Tommy Lee to some genuine anger and pain from Oz’s family, this movie goes deeper into the man himself, than the music.
The movie starts with Birmingham, and Black Sabbath. Some of the classic footage from 1970 is incredible. Ozzy was one of the most loved frontmen of the decade for a reason, and these clips show why. They also reveal a young fiery Black Sabbath, playing tight fast versions of classic songs, Bill Ward hammering away on his kit like he is trying to destroy it.
After Sabbath, things become less about the music and more about the family man and the wild man. You know those stories — the Alamo, the bat, the dove, the gross-out contests. What’s new here is the raw emotion. Rudy Sarzo recounts a particularly powerful moment the day that Randy Rhoads is killed. New and old interview footage with Ozzy reveals deep wounds.
The Jake E. Lee years are pretty much completely skipped except for Ozz critiquing a few old videos from the 1980’s. Zakk is barely mentioned at all. In fact, another late Ozzy member, Randy Castillo, appears in many clips and is never even named. And I’m sure it comes as no surprise that Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake do not appear at all.
From there we go to more downs, booze, pills, assault, pain, The Osbournes, more pain, and Ozzy’s eventual sobriety, 5 years straight when filmed. Through it all, Ozzy remains one thing consistently: the clown.
Ozzy is constantly saying and doing things to keep people in stitches. There’s a certain innocence in it. Ozzy never seems to really mean to hurt anyone. He’s just trying to entertain, whether to distract from his own insecurities or just because he was born to entertain, I can’t say. Probably both.
Athough the movie isn’t overblown with big name cameos, you will hear from artists such as Henry Rollins, Tommy Lee, and Black Sabbath.
- Q & A with Ozzy and Jack
- Deleted scenes
- Tribeca film festival
4/5 stars. More about the solo music would have been great.
*I want to briefly mention Jack’s struggle with multiple sclerosis, revealed this past Monday. Being friends with a person who has MS, I sympathize with the Osbourne family and Jack, but I also know that this is an illness that can be fought! There are many ways to be a part of the fight, but here’s a pretty cool one that might win you a bike.