BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEWS

003517Reviews & Counting
SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Shut Up & Sing
DVD disk
Feb 23, 2007 By: Mathew Plale
Shut Up & Sing order
Director:
Barbara Kopple Cecilia Peck

Actors:
The Dixie Chicks

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

star Printer-Friendly version
comment
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
This documentary covers the fall and rise of the Dixie Chicks after the overraction made by the public over lead singer Natalie Maines' controversial remarks regarding President Bush.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
“Just so you know, we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.” – Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks

Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, USA) & Cecilia Peck apply an unappealing “love us or leave us” makeup to Shut Up and Sing that makes their documentary a strong, yet self-important statement on Freedom of Speech—or the Chicks boo-hooing about dropping ticket sales; haven’t quite figured that one out yet.

Kopple & Peck never offer to show us the other side of the coin; instead they provide a biased account of how the Dixie Chicks were balls-to-the-wall right in their actions. Even so, it’s hard to toss our sympathy to the girls, who are headed by pug-like Natalie Maines.

Maines and her Chicks rock their way through Shut Up and Sing with a “Holier Than Thou” mentality, making it nearly impossible to even care for most of the film (except where it’s easy—say, the subject matter itself, for example). After receiving death-threats, the big-headed Maines recommends the National Guard serve as security…you know, the guys with tanks!

Most of the inanity stems from Maines inability to see why her comments might upset people. She refuses to apologize and sticks by her guns, all the while ducking behind the trusty First Amendment. Maines is one of those Americans who feels invincible by this right--but when did responsibility become so insignificant?

Maines comes off as a dumb schoolgirl, completely ignorant to the fact that if you jump off the seesaw, you’re just as likely to be hurt. Maines and her Chicks can’t understand why radios won’t play their songs or album sales plummeted, and chances are most people who watch this film won’t either.

Aha! But here’s the genius of the directors: portraying the Dixie Chicks not just as, ahem--artists, but as mothers and spouses, putting a face on everything their naysayers have dismissed, and actually making us (at least temporarily) kind of “understand” them as people and not targets—because let’s face the music, no one should be judged by their opinion. Then Maines opens her friggin’ mouth again:

Three years after the initial incident, the Chicks returned to the ironically named Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, only to have Maines’ reiterate her infamous tongue-in-cheek quote, making us wonder, Did she even learn her lesson?

But, as a sucker for Freedom of Speech, I’m somewhat torn over this potentially great film, even if I bitched more than all the crybabies depicted in the movie. Shut Up and Sing isn’t nearly as thought-provoking or insightful as others have made it out to be. Kopple & Peck offer nothing fresh to the age-old Freedom of Speech argument, and have served up a biased Behind the Music-style documentary that should’ve been titled Shut Up and Watch.
THE EXTRAS
Only the Theatrical Trailer. The less, the better.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Shut Up & Sing was quite a disappointment. Not that I'm a fan of the Dixie Chicks, but I did support them when the incident happened in 2003. However, Kopple & Peck's work nearly made me pull a complete 180. First Amendment wackos will eat this up.
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or