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In 2003, the female country band, The Dixie Chicks, are at the top of their game being one of the most successful bands of all time. However with the US invasion of Iraq about to begin over frustrated worldwide objections about this needless war, one of the Chick vents off the cuff in concert about being ashamed of US President George W. Bush. This statement sparks a firestorm of organized and personal right wing attacks against the Chicks for daring to think they have the right to express a negative personal opinion about the President. This film covers the band's effort to ride out the turmoil that would leave their careers under a cloud, but would eventually give them a opportunity to grow as great artists who bow to no one. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Shut Up and Sing" is also the name of a best-selling book by conservative talk radio pundit Laura Ingraham. In her book, Ingraham skewers the Dixie Chicks and other musical acts who use their concerts and television appearances to voice their political opinions. See more »
Natalie is wearing a shirt that states "Dare to Be Free," in one shot the image is mirrored left to right. Evident in the text and her hair are reversed. See more »
[after reading that George Bush thinks they had their feelings hurt]
They shouldn't have their feelings hurt? What a dumb fuck.
[looks into camera]
You're a dumb fuck.
See more »
Smarter Than Michael Moore, Sexier Than Sandra Dee!
When I went to this movie, I wondered whether it would be as funny as SPINAL TAP or as insightful as FAHRENHEIT 9/11. What really shocked me was that it was more exciting than both movies. The Dixie Chicks come across as smarter than Michael Moore, funnier, kinder, and sexier too!
Unlike Michael Moore, the Dixie Chicks are not angry or driven by rage. They don't need wacko conspiracy theories to bolster their position. This incredible true story mixes glamor, humor, great music and current events in a way that lets the facts speak for themselves. All you have to do is listen to George Bush talk and you understand Natalie's whole point of view without a word being said. But then you get to meet the Dixie Chicks themselves, and it's like love at first sight.
Watching the movie, you see three very beautiful women who love their families, their music, and each other. And you get the sense that Natalie Maines, for all her wholesome Sandra Dee looks (and her considerable sex appeal), is exactly the kind of strong-willed, independent minded hero that young people should be taught to admire. It's so refreshing to see that courage doesn't always mean fighting or shooting a gun! At times you really have to stop yourself and go -- hey, did she just say that?!? But in a good way. You see this dangerous radical snuggling into the cushions like a ten year old or lounging around like a trailer park diva, but then you listen to what she's saying and her courage is just overwhelming. And her wit is razor sharp! Watch the scene where she's teasing her manager and her band mates and she uses George Bush's "with us or against us" line to make them laugh and at the same time get her point across. No wonder she's the leader of this remarkable band!
But this isn't just Natalie's movie. If you watch Emily Robison, (she's the dark-eyed, quiet one, looks like Julia Roberts but more earthy and full of strength) it's impossible not to sense that while Natalie acts, Emily thinks. She's the introspective one, and the way the movie catches her thinking and analyzing makes for fascinating viewing. Even when she's in the midst of childbirth, you sense the way she steps back mentally to gain perspective and take stock of what it all means. She's also the one, I think, who is most willing to compromise and listen to other points of view. She's like Mr. Spock to Natalie's Captain Kirk, except both of them are wives and mothers, glamorous and nurturing, strong and feminine and they never for one moment let you forget it.
If I haven't said much about Martie McGuire in this review, it's only because she comes across as very shy and less inclined to put herself out there for the film process. But her playing and singing is really beautiful, and there's one scene at the very end of the movie that will just break your heart.
In the end, I have to say that this movie exceeded my expectations as entertainment, as art and journalism and as political commentary. I'm not a big country music fan, but I would definitely buy an album by the incredibly courageous and talented people who made this film.
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