The Dixie Chicks went into 2003 as a top selling artist, selling out tour dates and albums going multi-platinum. The group seemed to be on top of the world (their tour was named the Top of the World tour, even.) Then, one night in front of a packed concert in London, lead singer (AKA "The little Dixie Chick") Natalie Maines commented that she was ashamed to be from the same state as George Bush. This was at the same time that the war in Iraq was just getting underway.
Whatever your opinion on the situation was, the movie is an interesting look at how one split-second comment has the ability to quickly spread worldwide in this day and age. Soon enough, the comment had been picked up by various news agencies and spread across the US and then the globe, building steam as it jumped from news outlet to news outlet. There is the important right to free speech, but many didn't see it that way and threats, boycotts and pulled sponsorships (on several occasions in the film, the group's publicists appear to be on the verge of a heart attack, especially when the Chicks take the photograph for the Entertainment Weekly cover) ensued.
Finding themselves suddenly at the bottom, the Chicks take the opportunity to do what they want musically and work their way back from the ground floor. After the initial stretch that covers the moment in 2003 and the storm that occured afterwards, we jump to 2005 where the group is recording a new album, and still trying to work their way back, despite protests that won't quit.
Whatever your feelings on the situation are, "Shut Up and Sing" is an interesting and enjoyable documentary feature that shows what the band went through when one member seemed to bring the world down on the band with a sentence. My only issue with the film is that it should have been devoted more to the period right after the incident and then have the last chunk of the film catch viewers up from then to today. As is, the movie seems spread a bit thin. The documentary also offers a pretty good portrait of what it's like as a musician on the road and the friendship that the three women share as they stand behind one another.
VIDEO: "Shut Up and Sing" is presented by Genius Products in the film's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The presentation, shot on video, looked perfectly reasonable for a low-budget effort. Sharpness and detail were iffy at times, but at least the majority of the presentation boasted reasonably decent detail and definition. Some minor artifacting was spotted on a couple of occasions, but the image mostly appeared clean and clear.
SOUND: A clear, crisp stereo soundtrack that does a fine job delivering both music and dialogue.
EXTRAS: The trailer, which is disappointing as I find it difficult to believe that there wasn't some deleted scenes that could have been included here, or a music video, or
Final Thoughts: "Shut Up and Sing" is an interesting and enjoyable documentary feature that shows the brutal reaction the Chicks went through when one member seemed to bring the world down on the band with one sentence. The documentary also offers a pretty good portrait of what it's like as a musician on the road and the friendship that the three women share as they stand behind one another. The DVD offers satisfactory audio/video quality and next-to-nothing in the way of extras. Recommended as a rental for those interested in the band's music, documentaries or free speech issues.
The Film B