Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a little power-pop group from Memphis was once as famous as the Beatles. Children by the millions sang odes to the lead singer, and teenagers of the 1970s blasted its songs in their Vista Cruisers. That's the fanfic version of the Big Star story, anyway. In reality, failure defines the band, and that's the lens through which new documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me frames it. Drew DeNicola and Olivia Mori focus on what was lost—namely, twin geniuses Alex Chilton and Chris Bell. After Big Star's debut album flopped, Bell didn't even stick around for album No. 2: He descended into drugs and religion, wrote at least one more achingly poignant tune and died in a car accident in 1978 at age 27. Chilton lived long enough to witness Big Star's rediscovery, but by then he'd grown embittered, and he died suddenly in 2010. DeNicola and Mori don't really explain why Big Star failed to make it big, but if their film encourages one person to pick up one of the band's masterpieces and imagine what could've been, then it is triumph enough.

  • Playing at: Hollywood Theatre.
  • Best paired with: Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale.
  • Also playing: Back to the Future (Academy), Enter the Dragon (Laurelhurst).