Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (2012/2013)

Opened: 07/03/2013 Limited

IFC Center07/03/2013 - 07/25/201323 days
The Nuart07/03/2013 - 07/11/20139 days
Music Box Thea...07/12/2013 - 07/18/20137 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Twitter, Facebook

Genre: Documentary

Rated: PG-13 for drug references and brief strong language.

The definitive story of the greatest band that never made it.


BIG STAR: NOTHING CAN HURT ME is a feature-length documentary about legendary Memphis band Big Star. While mainstream success eluded them, Big Star's three albums have become critically lauded touchstones of the rock music canon. A seminal band in the history of alternative music, Big Star has been cited as an influence by artists including REM, The Replacements, Belle & Sebastian, Elliot Smith and Flaming Lips, to name just a few. With never-before-seen footage and photos of the band, in-depth interviews and a rousing musical tribute by the bands they inspired, BIG STAR: NOTHING CAN HURT ME is a story of artistic and musical salvation.

Selected Quotes

"Drew DeNicola tells their story with loving care in a doc that will be embraced by generations of music nerds who can't imagine a world without them." -- Hollywood Reporter

"The movie is brilliant-a boon to Big Star fans, as well as an indispensible primer for anyone who ever has wondered what artists such as the dB's, R.E.M., Matthew Sweet, the Bangles, the Replacements, Teenage Fanclub, This Mortal Coil, the Posies and literally thousands of others found so inspiring." -- WBEZ

"The movie is destined to be a seminal rock doc in the canon, and one that will bring Big Star to a new generation of fans." -- Indiewire

"A fine documentary on the classic-rock era's greatest cult band." -- Will Hermes, Rolling Stone

"Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is a feisty, moving tribute." -- Ain't It Cool News

"It has the power of a pop myth." -- Chicago Reader

"The execution is first-rate...should satisfy both long-term acolytes and those newly curious of Big Star's timeless artistry." -- The Skinny (UK)

"Directors Drew DeNicola and Olivia Mori have gathered an impressive amount of memorabilia on the band and captured some amazingly insightful, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking commentary." -- PopShifter

About the Film

Among many ardent music fans and critics the band, Big Star, is widely regarded as one of the greatest bands in rock history. Never experiencing popular success in their time; even today their greatest notoriety is from their song, "In the Street" the title theme for the Fox sitcom, That 70s Show. But despite their unique distinction of being famous for not being famous, today Big Star's influence can be heard in the music of artists as diverse as R.E.M., The Replacements, Wilco, Beck, Jeff Buckley and Elliot Smith, just to name a few.

BIG STAR: NOTHING CAN HURT ME traces the origins and history of the legendary band from the late sixties with lead singer Alex Chilton sky-rocketing to stardom at the age of sixteen with The Box Tops and their #1 hit, "The Letter" to the serendipitous meeting of Chilton and local Memphis singer-songwriter-guitarist, Chris Bell; through the tumultuous recording of the group's three landmark albums, #1 Record, Radio City and Third/Sister Lovers (Ardent Records); culminating with their implosion due to failed record sales, personal breakdowns and the tragic death of Chris Bell in 1978.

This film is a unique portrait of an incredibly talented group of musicians who crafted three albums now considered pop masterpieces (all of which charted on Rolling Stone's Top 500 albums of all time). The group strived for stardom but fell victim to the corporate stranglehold of the major record labels and radio stations who dominated the music business at that time. BIG STAR: NOTHING CAN HURT ME is seen as a cautionary tale of the growing corporatization in pop music in the 70's as great American independent labels like Memphis-based STAX (Ardent's distributor), were swallowed whole or marginalized by the music conglomerates. Artists whose musical vision and style were not deemed worthy of radio play were doomed to obscurity until many were discovered by a new breed of musical upstarts who arose from places like CBGB's in New York and in college towns throughout America. Eventually aligning under the term "Punk Rock," the movement by the late 1970's sought to topple corporate control over the music industry and remind the world what rock and roll is all about. It was the leaders of this movement--bands such as REM, The dB's, The Replacements--and the passion of many frustrated music writers at such publications as Rolling Stone, Creem, and Musician Magazine who brought about Big Star's resurrection and eventually defined the term "alternative music," articulating a genre lying outside of the mainstream and brimming with the vitality and soul on which rock and roll was built.

About the Filmmakers

Drew DeNicola (Director / Writer / Editor / Director of Photography)

Drew DeNicola is producer/director of his ongoing documentary project Natural Soul Brother: The Original Black Radio DJs, a finalist at the IFP Market 2007. He has previously served as an editor/producer for VICE/ in New York.

Olivia Mori (Co-director / Producer)

Olivia Mori has been working in the film industry for the past eight years as a costume designer and stylist. After being involved with music-related productions like Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock and Darnell Martin's Cadillac Records, Olivia is making the leap to documentary story-telling. She has a BA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Experimental Film. Olivia currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Danielle McCarthy (Producer)

Danielle McCarthy is currently employed as Manager of Publicity and Marketing at Magnolia Pictures. She has handled publicity and promotion for independent film hits like James Marsh's Man On Wire (winner of the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary), I Am Love, Food, Inc., Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Lars von Trier's Melancholia. McCarthy holds a BFA in Cinema Studies from New York University and an MA in Media Studies from The New School. BIG STAR: NOTHING CAN HURT ME is her first film.

John Fry (Executive Producer / Music Supervisor)

John Fry started Ardent Studios in his grandmother's sewing room when he was just a teenager and over forty years later continues to own and operate the studio in Memphis, TN. Ardent has recorded a wide-range of legendary and acclaimed artists including Big Star, Led Zeppelin, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, ZZ Top, The White Stripes, Bob Dylan, Cat Power, The Replacements and R.E.M. just to name a few. John Fry came on board on BIG STAR: NOTHING CAN HURT ME as Music Supervisor / Executive Producer in 2007 and has been a crucial and enthusiastic advocate for the film and the legacy of Big Star.

Gill Holland (Executive Producer)

Gill Holland was nominated for Spirit Award Producer of the Year 1998. He has worked on more than 50 features (including award-winners Spring Forward, Bobby G. Can't Swim and Dear Jesse). Gill produced Morgan Freeman's triple Sundance-winning Hurricane Streets and Tim Kirkman's Sundance fave Loggerheads, and executive produced Ali Selim's Spirit Award-winner Sweet Land.

Brian Sprouse (Co-Producer)

Brian Sprouse owns Nocturne Music Publishing based in Nashville, TN and additionally works with up-and-coming artists, assisting them as they develop their craft. He attended the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and his previous experience includes assisting on documentaries including the concert film Return to Sin City: A Tribute to Gram Parsons.

Christopher Branca (Editor)

Christopher Branca is an editor living in Brooklyn, New York. He edited the documentary Page One: Inside the New York Times (released by Magnolia Pictures in 2011) directed by Andrew Rossi and most recently the documentary Cartoon College directed by Tara Wray & Josh Melrod which premiered at Palm Springs International Film Festival 2012. He is also an editing instructor at The Edit Center in New York City.

Amy J. Boyd (Associate Producer)

Amy J. Boyd is an independent producer and archive researcher based in Brooklyn, NY. She is a member of the Association of Movie Image Archivists and the International Documentary Association. She has contributed research to numerous feature documentary and television projects including the upcoming Trials of Muhammad Ali and Mafia's Greatest Hits.

Meghan Sims (Associate Producer / Assistant Editor)

Meghan Sims has experience working on documentary films, broadcast television series, music videos and various web-based forms. She lives in New York.