Tag Archive | DVD Review

Big Star Documentary Nothing Can Hurt Me Comes to DVD

Big Star Nothing Can Hurt Me DVD
Photo By Gail

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with musician Alex Chilton, but if you’ve heard The Replacements’ song by that same name, then you at least know that children by the millions sing for him and are in love with his songs. And that’s all you really need to know in order to enjoy the sublime documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, a profoundly detailed love letter to the wildly influential, Memphis-based 1970’s power pop band that Chilton co-founded along with guitarist/songwriter Chris Bell, drummer Jody Stephens and bassist Andy Hummel. Directed by Drew DeNicola, Nothing Can Hurt Me is by turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, as band members, journalists, photographers, label employees, family, fans and friends recount their own experiences with and memories of a band whose three albums (#1 Record, Radio City and Third) garnered volumes of critical praise, but whose record label lacked the distribution necessary for Big Star to break commercially. Despite its music being virtually unheard during the band’s existence, Big Star songs deeply influenced bands as diverse as Cheap Trick, The Bangles, REM and The Posies, making them possibly the first cult band, ever.

Like I said, you don’t need to know anything about Big Star or its music to be completely engrossed by the band’s story and be charmed as well as intrigued by its four very talented members, particularly the enigmatic Chilton and the insightful (and still devastatingly handsome) Jody Stephens. The band’s music, as well as Chris Bell’s post-Big Star efforts and Chilton’s many and varied solo projects, are featured prominently in the film, and I can guarantee that if you do not already own Big Star’s catalog you will be downloading it from iTunes directly after watching this film. Like another great music documentary film released in 2012, Jobriath AD, Nothing Can Hurt Me provides a bittersweet hindsight to what went wrong and what might have been done differently. Most importantly, it provides a showcase for music that is timeless, amazing and simply should not remain a well-kept secret.

Adding an additional note of melancholy to the film is the realization that any true Big Star reunion is now impossible, with Stephens being the sole surviving member of the group. Chris Bell joined the 27 Club – the victim of a single-vehicle car cash – in 1978, and both Chilton and Hummel passed away within months of each other in 2010. It’s very likely though that this film will reignite a following and lead to more musicians being influenced by a band that never got to enjoy the fame and fortune they deserved.

Nothing Can Hurt Me is due for release on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 26th, 2013 via Magnolia Home Entertainment. The DVD includes 70 minutes of awesome bonus features, such as Big Star in the Studio, scenes deleted from the theatrical release and bonus chapters on both Chris Bell and Alex Chilton, plus the film’s theatrical trailer. With a suggested retail price of $29.98, Nothing Can Hurt Me is available from Amazon Dot Com at This Link.

The Worley Gig Gives Nothing Can Hurt Me Five out of Five Stars!

DVD Review: Darnell Dawkins, Mouth Guitar Legend

Darnell Dawkins DVD Cover
Ross Patterson Stars As Darnell Dawkins

If the cast of Saturday Night Live set out to make a feature-length skit that aspired to be the This is Spinal Tap of the Woodstock generation, they might come up with something similar to Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend. This fairly clever and rather historically accurate (as satires go) ultra-indie Mocumentary traces the remarkable story of “mouth-guitar” legend Darnell Dawkins (played by Ross Patterson, who also wrote the script).

The story goes that Dawkins was a childhood friend of Jimi Hendrix (played by comedian R. Ernie Silva), who ended up filling in for the legendary guitarist at Woodstock after Hendrix missed his flight. Sadly, Dawkins’ disapproving father suppressed much of the filmed footage of Darnell’s performance career from public release – until now. The confusing thing is that, while Dawkins is described as a “Mouth Guitar” legend, he does not actually play the instrument with his mouth (as Hendrix famously did) but, rather, he made the sounds of the guitar with his mouth. So, no guitar playing is actually involved, and “mouth guitar” is somewhat like air guitar, in a way. While it’s probably funnier to not be entirely clear on this until you see the film, I think I am okay with this degree of a spoiler, since it’s easy to figure out pretty early on, and it makes the film’s tagline, “He only spoke with his mouth” seem worth a few extra laughs.

Considering the slim budget on which the film appears to have been made, the filmmakers pulled together a cast with a remarkable number of recognizable faces, including Ray Wise (Laura Palmer’s Dad from Twin Peaks) as Darnell’s Dad, Christine Lakin as Wilhemina, Darnell’s muse, William R. Mapother (Lost, who is also Tom Cruise’s Cousin!), Michael Raymond-James (Rene from True Blood), Curtis Armstrong (Booger from Revenge of The Nerds) and Veteran B Movie Actor Richard Riehle.

Darnell Dawkins Jimi Hendrix
Darnell Dawkins with Jimi Hendrix

Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend, which could be compared to a bare bones budget version Walk Hard, is not a genius film or anything, but it’s pretty funny (funnier than Walk Hard, to be honest) and especially endearing if you’ve seen the Woodstock concert film and know your stuff when it comes to classic sixties acts such as Hendrix, The Jefferson Airplane and other bands of that time. It’s a film that would be fun to watch with a small group of like-minded friends at a house party where you are perhaps drinking and smoking a bit too much and just want to be silly. I enjoyed it.

The disc can be purchased for under $12 on Amazon.com and it’s worth that price just to have it around the house so you can whip it out when your friends who like this kind of film are over and say, “Hey, check out this crazy thing!” Also there’s lots of nudity (read: naked chicks) in it, if that’s something that interests you. Run Time: 87 Minutes.

The Worley Gig Gives Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend 3 out of 5 Stars

Carl Palmer Drum Solos DVD Review By Gail!

If you are old like me, and remember watching prog rock gods Emerson, Lake & Palmer perform “Karn Evil 9” at the California Jam back in the stone ages (1974), then you’ll also remember that during his infamous extended-dance-re-mix-version of a drum solo, Carl Palmer played part of his kit with his teeth. Rock & Roll! Carl recently released his first instructional drum DVD entitled Carl Palmer: Drum Solos, where you can see that very solo played back at four different speeds, and my review of that DVD is up now at Ink19 Dot Com!

Must See DVD: When You’re Strange, A Film About The Doors

As much as our culture overemphasizes the value of being and looking young, I would not want to be a minute younger than I am. Because if I’d been born in the eighties or nineties I wouldn’t have been alive to experience firsthand an era of rock music when bands like The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Queen and the Alice Cooper band were together and releasing new music that didn’t sound like it came from a can. How many 20 year-olds can say that they were able to see Queen in concert five times before Freddie Mercury even came out of the closet, or paid just $12 to see The Who back when Keith Moon was still alive? I feel sorry for anyone who ever scalped tickets to attend a Blink 182 concert or uttered the phrase “Limp Bizkit is my favorite band!” How unbelievably sad.

I remember when Rock Stars were Gods that Walked the Earth as Men instead of generic, indie-rock doofusses dressed in identical t-shirts and ripped jeans. Those days are gone for good, of course, and I cherish my memories of that time, but it’s nice also to be reminded of musicians that earned their legendary status when somebody makes a good documentary about a seventies band. Right now, you can rent or own a DVD of the fantastic documentary, When You’re Strange, a Film About the Doors directed by Tom Dicillo and featuring narration by Johnny Depp. The Doors are a band that’s easy to take for granted, because all of their songs are amazing and Jim Morrison remains enigmatic as an artist immortalized by a premature death.  I don’t claim to be the hugest Doors’ fan on the planet, but I do realize when I hear “The Crystal Ship” or “Riders On The Storm” that their music is fucking genius.

I thought I knew a lot about the story of The Doors and their ill-fated lead singer, but really, even if you are a die-hard fan you are going to learn something from watching When You’re Strange. Dicillo approaches the story in such a refreshingly linear fashion, using tons of never-before-seen, archival footage of The Doors live, in the studio, back stage and also including high-quality “lost” footage of Morrison’s own film, HWY. Depp’s narration is matter of fact and unpretentious, and the music just speaks for itself: so many fantastic songs by a band that – with inclusion of Ray Manzarek’s “lead organ” riffs – had a truly unique and inimitable sound. There is no denying that Jim Morrison’s death at the age of 27 was a tragedy. But instead of thinking about how sad it is that Morrison died “before his time,” viewing When You’re Strange led me to conclude that we should just be happy and celebrate the fact that we had Jim for as long as we did, and that he left such a rich and enduring legacy. It’s so obvious that he was an artist who really gave all he could. Like Jimi, Janis, Kurt and Jean-Michel – all gifted artists who died at age 27 – I really don’t think he was built to last.

The Worley Gig Gives When You’re Strange Five out of Five Stars.