God Bless Ozzy Osbourne Dir: Mike Fleiss & Mike Piscitelli

With the reunion of Black Sabbath having just been announced, now seems as good a time as any for another DVD about the life and times of the band’s original front man, Ozzy Osbourne.

What sets this film apart for previous efforts is the fact that Ozzy’s son, Jack, is one of the producers (along with director Fleiss). You might think that having Ozzy’s son in the producer’s chair would result in a bland, white-washed version of the notorious rocker’s life. Nothing could be further from the truth. As it becomes painfully clear, Ozzy was not exactly a model father, either to his first two children (from his first marriage) or to Jack and his two sisters. Judging by the stories told and the (embarrassing) photos shown here, this is Jack’s way of dealing with his drunken, drug-addled dad.

Because the film was sanctioned by the Osbourne family, everyone is on hand to offer their two cents…that includes all five of Ozzy’s children, his three sisters and one brother, his ex-wife, his current wife and his former band mates. Even Paul McCartney, Ozzy’s musical idol, stops by to comment on Black Sabbath’s legacy.

Because the entire Osbourne clan is involved, we get a lot more personal info about Ozzy than has been revealed previously. This includes stories from his childhood, his relationship with his father and more from his pre-Sabbath days. The Black Sabbath story is told by all four original members…with plenty of vintage footage. Of course it ends with Ozzy being thrown out of the band, due to his inability to control is drug and alcohol intake. This becomes a recurring theme in the Ozzy story. To the film-makers’ credit, they don’t glorify Ozzy’s bad behaviour, in fact they make him look like an immature jerk.

While I wasn’t surprised about his behaviour in the ‘80s (note: I produced the TV show that featured Ozzy and Randy Rhodes performing…that’s  my footage they’ve used in the film of them playing Crazy Train), I was surprised how out of it Ozzy was up until just a few years ago. Ozzy even managed to gross-out Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee!

Kiwis will note that there is backstage footage of Ozzy’s performance inWellington. By this time Ozzy is clean and sober…he spends his time exercising and doing vocal warm-ups. This bodes well for the Sabbath reunion. Hopefully, the pioneering metal band can come up with the goods one more time. It’s one reunion I’m genuinely excited about.

In the mean time, fans have this DVD to take in. It’s definitely a warts and all portrait of Ozzy. As he says time and time again in the film…he should have died long ago. The fact that he’s still around is a miracle…or a freak of nature. This film was probably therapeutic for Ozzy’s family and should act as a warning for anyone who thinks that getting completely trashed for 40 years is a good way to lead your life.

Marty Duda

Click here to watch Ozzy & Randy perform Crazy Train on the After Hours TV show: