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This documentary captures the female country-&-western group the Dixie Chicks in performance around the U.S. and London between the years 2003 and 2006. While performing in 2003 singer Natalie Maines ignited a maelstrom of controversy and red-state rage when she declared--from a London stage on the eve of the Iraqi conflict--that she was ashamed President George W. Bush was from her home state of Texas. When a rabidly right-wing group picked up on it the band found themselves in the center of controversy regarding the nature of patriotism freedom of speech feminism and the split between pro- and antiwar Americans. Filmmaker Barbara Kopple brings us the fly-on-the-wall view of the next three years: we find Haines and sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire in dressing rooms on stage and in recording studios bonding with each other their families producer Rick Rubin and their supportive manager Simon Renshaw. Through the crises they keep their sense of humor and sisterhood not backing down from their liberal stance and turning the backlash into a triumph. They also make some great music and the film includes plenty of riveting intense footage of the band in performance onstage and in the studio. Among the faces appearing in archival footage are President Bush Bill Maher and rabidly right-wing country star Toby Keith.Format: DVD AUDIO Genre: DOCUMENTARIES/MISC. UPC: 796019799294 Manufacturer No: 79929
Once upon a time in the 1960s on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," in a bit preserved on the album of the same name, Tommy Smothers was explaining that "We have the freedom of speech in America," before quickly adding in a threatening voice, "and you had better say what you're supposed to say." As a case study in exactly that some four decades down the road we have the 2006 documentary, "Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing." Ten days before the invasion of Iraq in 2003 at a concern in London, England, Natalie Maines of the Chicks said, "We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." The next thing everybody knew the best selling music group in the country was being denounced for disrespecting President Bush on foreign soil, supporters of the war were destroying Dixie Chicks albums, Country radio stations stopped playing their songs, and the women appeared on the cover of "Entertainment Weekly," their nude bodies covered with covered with slogans reflecting both sides of the controversy.
What I found most interesting in the first half of this documentary is that nobody ever tries to make sense out of the comment made by Maines, specifically about being ashamed that Bush was from Texas. I mean we are talking about a state that has the most executions each year, so you would assume it is a state that would extend the idea of justice being served even if it extends to the other side of the globe. Later in the documentary a woman at a Dixie Chicks concert holds up a sign proclaiming, "You Were Right.Read more ›
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180 of 195 people found the following review helpful
America's ChicksJan. 24 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
Have you ever wondered what would happen if the number-one selling gal group in history were to go to another country and say they were embarrassed that the leader of the free world was from Texas?
Well, you are in luck, because "Shut Up and Sing" is a documentary focusing on that very question.
It all began with a little zinger, a bit of nothing really, directed at some president or another. But... that zinger irritated me. You see, I like my music with soul, but hold the politics, thank you very much. When ensuing boycotts were bandied, I was amused. Turnabout is fair play. But then something spooked the herd and... good God, the entire genre of country music went stampeding off a cliff. I was not amused.
"Shut Up and Sing" makes us all Dixie Chicks. Through the camera's eye, we become one of the girls as they move from slinging free speech, to receiving free-flowing hatred, to shifting into (my favorite) a reasoned, measured fight mode. Along the way we discover that the Dixie Chicks are loved wives, loving moms, supportive friends, amazing artists and... the target of crackpot death threats. Who said that was okay?
America didn't. I didn't. And I bet you didn't either.
From this evolution of events, we witness the genesis of the next Dixie Chicks album "Taking the Long Way." With producer Rick Rubin, the Chicks put voice to their American experience. The top of the charts and five Grammy nominations followed.
Question: What do the Dixie Chicks, Abraham Lincoln, and a man standing in front of a line of Chinese tanks have in common?
Answer: They are all my heroes.
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Great MovieFeb. 9 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
I am an American living in Canada and I saw the movie when it was released in Victoria. The movie was fabulous. It was an honest depiction of what ensued after Natalie's simple statement. What made my viewing experience even better was the cheering, clapping, and ultimately standing ovation at the theater. The Canadian crowd LOVED the movie.
I must say there were many times during this movie that I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. I took my daughter to see it (warning there are some curse words) and she really liked it. Afterward, she wondered why it was such a big deal for Natalie to make a statement. Even for a primary aged kid, she was aware of Freedom of Speech and the reaction just didn't make sense to her.
The best thing in the movie was to see how the Chicks drew strength from one antoher during this ordeal. I think that so much of the reaction to the statement was gendered. Yes, the US was going through this pseudo-patriotic time, but the ways in which the DC were attacked often was filled with sexist tropes.
I'm buying this movie as soon as it comes out and will be showing it in two of my classes. One class looks at globalization and the other is a gender and politics class. I think the nativist and xenophobic reactions by some of the "haters" will cause interesting discussion in class.
Overall, I'm hoping that more people will come to enjoy their music and respect that they stood by one another. I can't wait to see them again in concert. I'm a long time fan of the DC.
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Is this really America?Feb. 16 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
This little five foot woman makes a benign remark about Bush, and millions of rednecks go nuts! Not only did these "freedom loving" American's want to stop listening to the Dixie Chicks, they demanded that they be SILENCED. Other entertainers made far stronger statements against Bush, and his war, yet no one seemed to care.
These women who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past for numerous American causes, were suddenly deemed female Benedict Arnold's, or even worse "Jane Fonda's," oh my!! Did I miss the part in the constitution where American;s can't be critical of the president when they are in England? What federal statute did Maines break?
The good news is that the attempt by the right wing lynch mob to put the Chicks out of business, has failed miserably. The Chicks just swept the Grammy Awards, have an album that spent several weeks at #1 last summer, and just completed a tour that in spite of initial trouble selling tickets, ended up grossing more than thirty million dollars, and being attended by over five hundred thousand fans around the world.
[...] "Shut up and Sing" is a great documentary. Not only is it informative, it is also very funny in parts. Natalie Maines has a wicked sense of humor. Sadly, those with an axe to grind take what she says in jest and use it against her. Just look how nuts the Chicks' haters got over the "heh heh" remark at the Grammy's? Jeez folks lighten up.
When you finish this film, you will truly wonder what happened to the country that you once knew. The rabid Dixie Chicks haters clearly confused the concept of boycotting, with demanding CENSORSHIP!
"Taking the Long Way" did not win the five Grammys because of "liberal Hollywood." It was the best album of 2006. Nashville's top music critics voted it "Country Album of the Year" two weeks before the Grammy's.
Long live the Dixie Chicks. They are to free speech what Rosa Parks is to civil rights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Chicks ruleFeb. 12 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
I've been a fan of the Dixie Chicks even before Natalie was the lead singer and I thought that a mountain was made out of a mole hill about Natalie's comment about Bush. When I saw this film, I was impressed with the amazing music that came about as a result of this incident. I was horrified at the way these three women were treated. Threatening their lives over a silly comment is a disgrace. The film is a gripping piece of Americana and contains humor, drama and some of the best music around. Just ask the Grammy voters. It should have been nominated for an Oscar. If you are a fan of the group, you will be more impressed, if you're not a fan, watch the film and I it will make some converts.
37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
SIMPLY SUPERBFeb. 9 2007
Thomas P. Proietti
- Published on Amazon.com
This is one of the finest documentaries of this young century! It is honest, insightful, fearless, and fun. It is also loaded with family, love, anger, humor, hugs, tears and fears. If you have not seen this film, it is time. It is a wonderful testimony to three of the most talented, most honest ad most interesting musicians on the planet. You will watch this more than once and you will want to show it and even give it to family and friends. Bravo to the Dixie Chicks and to the crew who produced this marvelous work! And thank you for our freedom of expression both in words and music.