SIFF 2013: Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me ***1/2

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on June 1, 2013)

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Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is pure nirvana for power pop fans. Founded in 1971 by singer-guitarist Chris Bell and ex-Box Tops lead singer/guitarist Alex Chilton, the Beatle-esque Big Star was a musical anomaly in their hometown of Memphis, which was only the first of many hurdles this talented band was to face during their brief, tumultuous career. Now considered one of the seminal influences on the genre, the band was largely ignored by record buyers during their heyday (despite critical acclaim from the likes of Rolling Stone). Then, in the mid-1980s, a cult following steadily began to build around the long-defunct outfit after college radio darlings like R.E.M., the Dbs and the Replacements began lauding them as an inspiration. Director Drew DeNicola also tracks the lives of the four members long beyond the 1974 breakup, which is the most riveting (and heart wrenching) part of the tale. This is an outstanding (and tuneful) rockumentary.

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