Posted by Alia Haddad on July 23, 2012 at 10:00 am
After missing its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this past January and (especially) after learning of its undistributed status, I was absolutely elated to find out that Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace’s documentary, Shut Up and Play the Hits, about hip New York band LCD Soundsytem on the eve of their final show before retirement would be playing one night nation-wide.
Being a beyond huge fun of all things LCD (and not mention of LCD frontman James Murphy) I bought tickets to the celebration months in advance. And as I made my way to the Brooklyn Academy of Music Theater, I was ripe with wary excitement and anticipation. I mean, if this movie was any good why oh why did it not get picked up?
Well, after seeing the film, I still don’t know, because it was great, just great. The documentary focuses mainly on the middle-aged (and continually aging) Murphy who has grown tired of the expectations and creative limitations of such big fame and, therefore, decides upon the band’s retirement. The only problem is is that it’s hard to give up something you love so much.
And so, that’s where the film begins, following an aimless and excepting Murphy on the day before LCD’s final show at Madison Square Garden. As with many music/concert documentaries, this one also included many scenes of the final performance, but what Southern and Lovelace succeeded at was presenting nothing that felt like a concert video recording. Instead, the viewer felt attached the to star of the film as he tried to navigate his next moves. Oh, and with some electrifying performances in the middle.
As the subject, Murphy was captivating with Lovelace and Southern humanizing such a larger than life figure. Did I love Shut Up and Play the Hits so much because of my endless affinity for the topic at hand? Perhaps, but also Lovelace and Southern excelled at presenting a documentary where little background information was necessary. If you’ve ever been lost before, then you will understand this documentary. It would be hard not to.
I am excited to report that upon the conclusion of the nation-wide one-night showing, the love and praise for this movie have caused additional screenings to be added and scheduled in the coming months. And if one happens to be in your city, let me say this loud and clear: