This was the film covering Arnold’s surprise comeback (and surprise victory) at the 1980 Mr Olympia bodybuilding contest after five years in the abyss. Stories abound about The Oak’s final appearance. He broke the rules by entering, nearly started a fist-fight backstage, and caused the retirement of Mike Mentzer, who was convinced the contest was a fix.

This video covers none of that. In fact, it doesn’t cover anything much. We have some gym footage, some contest footage, and some interviews with Arnold and his compatriots, in no particular arrangement or order.

Let’s get it out of the way that if you’re expecting a riveting clash of titans like in Pumping Iron, this isn’t for you. This isn’t about a story. You should watch Total Rebuild because it’s a slice of Arnold’s life. It seems like a more honest and “real” documentary than Pumping Iron, although maybe that’s because they didn’t have time to edit it properly. Apparently, Total Rebuild was filmed by an Australian promoter, using equipment borrowed from some friends, and as a result it has a gritty indy quality. Unfortunately, the contest footage here is the best we have of the 1980 Mr Olympia (I’ve heard that CBS filmed the entire contest at great expense, and then threw the footage away because like Mentzer, they felt the contest was clearly rigged in Arnold’s favor).

The interviews with celebrities such as Bill Pearl and Tom Platz are fascinating. Tom hero worships Arnold, while Bill gently tries to cut him down to size. Arnold is his usual Alpha Male self. This guy could start a successful cult. He injects some humor into the proceedings, too, such as when he sees a bodybuilder put a 10 pound plate on a barbell without making enough noise. “We’re on camera! You have to make it sound like a thousand pounds!”

The training scenes are lackluster. I’ve heard that Arnold suffered a shoulder injury, which restricted his training poundages. He does some smith squats and cable rows. There’s nothing as awe-inspiring or intense as Pumping Iron’s training sequences here (in the order they appear in my mind: Ed Corney’s squats, Lou Ferrigno’s military presses, Arnold’s dumbbell flys, etc).

So…was the 1980 Mr Olympia rigged? There’s no question, Arnold wasn’t as good as his previous contest appearances. But in my opinion, he still took down the other guys with his trademark Arnold body parts: big arms, big calves, huge chest. His weak points (such as quads) were his weak points in previous contests, too. It might be true that Arnold at 90% power is better than anyone else from his time period at 100% shape, weak legs and weak shoulders be damned.

So, this is very different to Pumping Iron, and mostly the bad sort of different, but it’s still well worth looking for. This is an important part of old-school bodybuilding, just like the guy who stars in it.

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This CD is just really bad. PM5K should not have put it out. It’s worse than anything they did before, and one of those things was apparently so bad the singer refused to release it. So last we heard, they had put out Transform, which was sorta interesting, and now they’re trying out a new style and identity.

They jumped on the retro-punk bandwagon with both feet this time. “Enemies” and “Walking Disaster” are loaded with Sex Pistols riffs and other assorted musical cliches. The slick industrial riffs are gone completely. And Spider’s vocals don’t exactly clash, but they don’t sound right either, and he compensates by piling on retarded grunts and other gimmicky tricks. Get ready to hear “huh” and “yeah” and “riiight” frequently.

While in most albums you remember the highlights, in this album you remember the lowlights, because everything’s pretty bad but it’s the especially bad ones that stick out. “Wild World” is the most offensive the non-joke songs. Just an Avril Lavigne song with a male singer. The title track can be thought of as bad music that is competently performed. All the musicians have their shit together. None of them are overdosing on coke or smearing feces across the recording studio walls. But they’re obviously not trying. There’s a vibe here of “let’s listen to the new Drowning Pool CD and write something that sort of sounds the same.”

Most of the songs here is like that. “Return to the City of the Dead” brings some of the trademark PM5K energy, everything else sounds like a tired band, bored to tears by the music they’re writing, thinking they can remain edgy and hip by playing punk. There’s no inspiration to speak of, this is just a phase they were trying out, and for all I know they chose their new style using a roulette wheel.

Lurking near the end of the CD is the hellish crapstorm of “Miss America”. Dude, this is not funny or cute. STOP IT. I have no patience for wacky joke songs when the serious songs are jokes in themselves.

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Slipknot is a nu metal band (every few days a fan vandalizes their Wikipedia page, changing their listed genre to “death metal” or “thrash metal”) from Iowa. They achieved great fame and worldwide success in the late nineties. That’s how bad they are.

Random, garbled riff explosions that are so downtuned and steeped in fuzz they just register as farting noises, endless drum masturbation, a dual tough-guy/clean boyish vocal approach that makes no sense, hideous “art” songs…welcome to modern metal, I guess.

The worst part is the drumming. Slipknot utilizes three drummers, and after a quick listen, it is apparent why no other bands have picked up on this idea. The album drowns under superfluous percussion. “Liberate” and “Surfacing” have some semblance of a coherent beat, but “(sic)” and “Eyeless” (among others) sound like three different drummers playing to three different songs. The wall of snare fills and tom rolls never ends, and combined with the “raw” production it’s borderline painful to listen to.

“Wait and Bleed” and “Spit it Out” are obvious radio biscuits with annoying clean vocal parts that sound like Linkin Park, and they stick out like a sore thumb. On “Spit it Out” we get “break it down, homie” rapping and turntable scratches. But they’re thrash metal, I swear. The rest of the album is a mishmash of crappy Korn dribble and hideous noise. This is one of those albums with no riffs, the guitarists just sort of chug away in a despondent stew of uselessness. Often the actual song ends within two or three minutes, and they then stretch out the ending with free-time noise and endless drum soloing (I nearly misspelled this as “soiling”, which would actually fit). I swear that half the album doesn’t even have songwriting. 

This is terrible. If you enjoy Slipknot, suck-start a shotgun and pray that your aim isn’t as bad as your taste.

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