Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Magnolia Pictures) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

Studio: Magnolia Pictures

Jul 03, 2013 Issue #46 - June/July 2013 - Charli XCX Bookmark and Share

While filming began in earnest for this documentary back in 2006, it was rather tragically catalyzed by the sudden heart attack and resulting death of Big Star frontman Alex Chilton in 2010. The directors, Drew DeNicola and Olivia Mori, along with producer Danielle McCarthy, were sadly never able to get Chilton to consent to an interview.

Perhaps that’s for the best, as this brilliant documentary illustrates just how much Chilton reviled the portion of his legacy associated with Big Star. So instead, the filmmakers talk to those around Chilton, including the only surviving member of the band, Jody Stephens, as well as longtime producer John Fry, eccentric artist William Eggleston, who was something of a kindred spirit of Chilton’s, and assorted acolytes of the band.

The sheer breadth of artists they influenced, of whom many are interviewed here, is astonishingR.E.M., The Replacements, Even Dando, Teenage Fanclub. The list alone could take up this entire review, as their legacy seems to reach new bands daily.

But what Big Star ultimately achieved, beyond creating absolutely sublime, timeless pop music, is the archetype of the beautiful loser. They proved that it was not how much you sold, but the people you inspired, was what ultimately what mattered. Like The Velvet Underground before them, uncountable numbers of bands formed after hearing their records. The notion that art transcends crass commodity isn’t a new one, but it is a salient one, which you’ll cry over, curse, and ultimately celebrate after viewing this superb film. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10


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