Shut Up and Play the Hits (NR)

Documentary 105 July 18, 2012
By Karina Longworth
James Murphy, the frontman of self-reflexive post-punk dance band LCD Soundsystem, has never been a typical rock star, and Shut Up and Play the Hits is by no means a conventional rock doc. Co-directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace condense the band's four-hour, 29-song April 2011 farewell show at Madison Square Garden into a few full performances of "hits" ("North American Scum," "New York, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down") interwoven with excerpts from an interview with Murphy conducted before the show by pop-culture pundit Chuck Klosterman and vérité footage of Murphy shot the morning after MSG, tracing his first day as a 41-year-old rock-and-roll "retiree." Moments of onstage transcendence are sandwiched between Murphy's preshow contemplations of pretension and rock-star mythology and postshow evidence of life going on at its most mundane. To Klosterman, Murphy marvels that even the most superhuman pop star "is just a dude. He has to check his e-mail." The morning after his triumphant goodbye show, Murphy still has to get out of bed to walk the dog. Lovelace and Southern expose the psyche of a man walking away from fame, while contextualizing how that move fits into Murphy's ongoing personal conflict between his interest in sophisticated art and ideas and his compulsion to make dance music. The coexistence of serious ideas and genuine emotion in party songs with often hilarious lyrics-- that's LCD Soundsystem in a nutshell, and its an alchemic formula that Shut Up replicates beautifully.
Will Lovelace, Dylan Southern Chuck Klosterman, James Murphy, Reggie Watts, Keith Wood, Al Doyle, Gavin Russom, Tyler Pope, Pat Mahoney, Matt Thornley, Gunnar Bjerk Lucas Ochoa, Thomas Benski, James Murphy Oscilloscope Pictures


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