Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

BigStarI bought my matinee ticket (4:30pm) for the documentary, got a cheap beer from the Sie Film Center’s concession stand, and entered the theater.

It was empty.

So there I sat through the last several previews, about to watch a movie showcasing one of the greatest bands that not enough people know about, finding it quite appropriate that even this documentary was seeming to fall on deaf ears, perpetuating some cosmic cycle that keeps Big Star obscured to the corners of the music stores, the corners of most people’s minds, the literal corners of Beale St. in Memphis and Broadway in Nashville as once every few weeks a street musician with a guitar pulls out a cover song that passers-by don’t even realize is a classic.

As it turned out, three more people would join me in the viewing, so I wasn’t totally alone. But the circumstances of the show, broadcast in Denver, 1000 miles away and 40 years removed from the recordings, resonated just as much as the jangly guitars on “September Gurls” themselves.

The movie was essentially a two-hour-long love letter to the band, one that was heavily-edited down from twice as long, surely. The story is incredibly interesting, the music is amazing, and the number of musicians and producers interviewed was staggering, considering many were left on the cutting room floor. I advise a viewing, if you’re at all into good music, Ardent/Stax, Memphis, or bittersweet stories of young rockstars who both die too suddenly (and too soon) and whose music dies commercially, but lives on spectacularly both in the grooves on their records and in the hundreds of bands they’ve influenced over the years.

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