loudQUIETloud: A film about the Pixies


I love the Pixies. I jumped on the bandwagon in about 1990 when a good mate introduced me to Come on Pilgrim/Surfer Rosa. First listen and I was in love. It’s still one of my all-time favourite albums and I still listen to it regularly (in order because if it doesn’t play the way I listened in the 90s I feel weird #preshufflecdplayer). It’s up there with Nevermind for my 90s good times listens.

Therefore I looked forward to loudQUIETloud and I know exactly why it’s on the list. I wish I had watched it in 2004 though because now I want to know about them in 2014! (I know I could google it but too hard, lazy, sounds like work.)

This doco is about the Pixies reforming to tour around the world for the first time in about 10 years. Black Francis is still your go to guy for ego and controlling behaviour and Kim Deal is still your go to gal for angst and addictive behaviours.

All the members are a little older and a little wiser. Kim is a year off the drugs and alcohol (although she is constantly drinking no alcohol beer which seems a little odd but probably is comforting). She also requires her sister to travel with her which is another comfort in a difficult time for her.

Each of the members is harbouring a little doubt about the whole tour as well as some resentments toward each other about the way things ended last time and, I think, wondering if they can pull it off this time.

These guys have a weird dynamic and spend a lot of time sitting around in quiet rooms not speaking at all. Most bands seem to have a strong camaraderie but not these guys. It’s like they enjoy the music they make but not much else. As the film progresses they do get closer and show genuine affection and care for each other but their communication skills are sorely lacking. Each interview with a band member reveals how little any of them know about their future or what is currently going on because they never talk about it!

The movie is a little low key. It’s not dramatic or sad or intense, it is a portrait of a group of people who are very private and are all dealing with some pretty intense issues. It’s all about the music for them but the doco is all about them plus some awesome music.

Since they reformed I have seen them live twice here in Australia and they were absolutely wonderful. Their joy in the performance and the love from the crowds was quite clear.

I’m pretty sure loudQUIETloud is a film for the fans but because I am a fan that also means I can’t really tell, so maybe it’s a film for everyone who likes music and bands and people and tour buses and concerts and non-alcoholic beer and pixies.


Sunshine Cleaning

Sunshine cleaning

Sunshine Cleaning is really normal. Normal in the sense that for once we are seeing the average person dealing with some pretty average stuff. A fair share of disappointment, trauma, sadness, love and laughter. Amy Adams does not have to portray quirky or cute just normal and it’s refreshing.

Of course, she takes up quite an unusual occupation but considering her previous career it’s a not too surprising step to a bit more money. Cleaning is cleaning after all. Why not just escalate and clean up dead people mess? Maybe not very normal it’s true.

I love Amy Adams and it’s so nice to see her being the woman next door rather than the cute sweet love interest with flowing hair extensions and covered in make-up. I also love Emily Blunt who plays the a little less normal, but struggling with normal issues for some, sister.

Sunshine Cleaning is a meaningful family drama about the impact of death on the family especially the impact of suicide on those left behind. Suicide of a family member changes everyone and it certainly changed the characters in the film. It is a defining moment in all their lives.

Sunshine Cleaning is not all doom and gloom. The characters are realistic and humour certainly raises its dark head. The film is not all about dealing with death but it is very much about dealing with how lives are shaped. Why we find ourselves where we are and how much we change along the way.

These are good people having a hard time and each deals with it differently but at the core is love and that never fails.

Again refreshingly, there is no real romance in the movie. There are new friendships that could end up romantic but not during the movie anyway. This is a film about family.

I actually think this could have made the basis of a really good tv show. It was so character driven and reasonably undramatic. I could just see how much more the story and the characters could develop over a season. (I’m thinking along the lines of Six Feet Under here.)

Alan Arkin again hits the nail on the head with his loving but abrasive father/grandfather. He’d do anything for his kids/grandkids and it’s kind of lovely. Only a few actors could really pull off that fine line between grump and love. He did it before in Little Miss Sunshine. He does it again here. (Apparently he has a thing for Sunshine films… he was super annoyed he didn’t get a role in the ultimate Sunshine movie ‘Sunshine’… yeah, you can quote me on that).

Sunshine Cleaning won’t blow you away but it does leave you feeling pretty good. Yet it’s not feel good either, it is after all about cleaning up after dead people and dealing with a family tragedy. It’s hard to say why you’d want to watch it but at the same time it’s a really good little film.

I suppose it made me feel that adversity can be overcome, you can change who you are for the better, and if you can’t do anything else, you can be there for the ones you love. Not a bad thing to take away from a film really.