Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

2012

Documentary / Music

2
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 93% · 40 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 83% · 1K ratings
IMDb Rating 7.1/10 10 1445 1.4K

Director

Top cast

720p.BLU
1 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
PG-13
23.976 fps
1 hr 51 min
Seeds 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by marylois-788-910304 6 / 10

A Pinpoint in Time

I went into the theater expecting a rock-n-roll documentary about a group I'd never heard of. I agree with many of the reviewers here that the film starts slowly and appears to want to convince me that this extraordinary ensemble just didn't get the break they needed. The point was pounded home time and again but, not being an big fan of rock-n-roll I felt the need of more evidence, until the story began to break about the individuals in the band and the emotional content of their work together and their lives. It was as if they all--with the exception of Chris Bell--assumed they'd get what they deserved, and too bad if that was less than it might be. Here is where the story begins to become intriguing, but the payoff is not complete.

I am the same age as the Beatles, roughly, and bought their albums and the mythology that went along with them. I admit I didn't know much more about rock-n-roll than that. If you'd ask me what the band who produced "The Letter" was I would probably have said The Monkees. In fact, the lead singer on that number was Alex Chilton, who became the central member of Big Star.

In the q-and-a after the showing of BIG STAR, the director revealed that much of the angst endured by Chris Bell had to do with homosexuality, and there is an area of silence around this facet his life when you are interviewing his family and remaining friends. The nugget of information would be crucial to the narrative of the band and explain to a degree why the film didn't fully work for me. I could tell Bell was difficult, tormented, and probably a genius--but what his demons were, and what his relationship with Chilton was, was not even hinted at. He seemed petulant and jealous that Chilton became the star of the group, but the level of disillusion, betrayal and pain didn't seem to come from anywhere.

The film made me think; it informed me of much I didn't know about the Memphis scene and rock-n-roll in the 70s, when I was off into folk and then into old-time pop music and jazz. I parted company with the mainstream but not to the degree Big Time did. Nevertheless it is interesting to learn about their path. Now that I know there is a great deal more to their story, I would love to hear that as well.

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 6 / 10

faded past

This is a documentary about a 70's Memphis band. They have good critical support but never gains popular support. They struggle with the business and Big Star eventually fades into oblivion only to become a cult band which nobody has ever heard of and only the coolest music geeks can lay claim to. I myself don't know the band. I have never heard of their music. The only familiar song is 'In the Street' which was remade into the theme of 'That 70's Show'. I see some of their interesting famous fans. It would nice to showcase them earlier in the doc giving them needed praises. That's the normal practice to hype up the band. By putting it in the back, the intensity isn't there. If these famous artists love them, then I'm more motivated to know them. About their music, they sound good but none of it is that catchy. They sound professional. They sound sincere. They sound artful. There is an indie sensibility that would become more popular today. My biggest issue with the documentary format is that I couldn't tell who was from the band. None of them have great charisma in the present day. The two important voices in the band are no longer with us. It's tough to get a hold of their personalities when most of it is told in second-hand. It's the difference between a faded photograph and being in the same room. It has some fascinating behind-the-scene aspects. It would probably make for a great biopic movie where actors can give these people great personalities. The old footage can only give glimpses of the old days. It's told in a manner of faded memories. It's artistic but it's never visceral. It's sad but it's not enthralling. This is a good band who never reached the mountain top. There's a good story somewhere here.

Reviewed by cebelina 10 / 10

Clear as a Bell

Lovely, poignant and beautiful the story of Big Star is fraught with the inescapable trappings of life that both manage to bind and also free us. There is already a wonderful review by David Ferguson. His review sums up much of what you'd actually expect to find on the liner notes of a DVD compilation release of this movie. And he's spot on. My review won't add or be any better. In the end my review will only add a bit of the haunting beauty and power that was Big Star and that lingers with us. A black diamond glimpse into the souls of not only Big Star but each and every one of us. A cautionary song/tale that sums up much of what I think the movie offers: "Take care not to hurt yourself Beware of the need for help You might need too much And people are such Take care, please, take care Some people read idea books And some people have pretty looks But if your eyes are wide And all words aside Take care, please, take care. This sounds a bit like goodbye In a way it is I guess. As I leave your side. I've taken the air. Take care, please, take care. Take care, please, take care." Wm Alexander Chilton

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