Jeff & Sara's Top Ten 2013: Number 7

Posted 11:52 AM December 31st, 2013 by Binh Ngo
Cutie and the Boxer

It's New Year's Eve and we're celebrating with Jeff and Sara's number 7 on their 2013 top ten list. Here, they have two documentaries: Sound City and Cutie and the Boxer.

Sound City is documentary about the famed Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California. Known for its state of the art facility, Sound City Studios has been used by artists such as Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Cheap Trick, Guns and Roses, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, and others.

Cutie and the Boxer explores the relationship between New York artist Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko, who is emerging as an artist in her own right. Needless to say, they are still waiting for the fame and fortune their art, supposedly, will bring them.

While there are only 38 reviews (as of this writing) for Sound City at Rotten Tomatoes, they're all positive, so Jeff may have something here. On the other hand, its box office is a rounding error to some of the mainstream movies.

Cutie and the Boxer is also highly praised by the critics, having Tomatometer of 95%, putting it among the best-reviewed films of 2013. Again, like with Sound City, Cutie and the Boxer is one of those where most people will have to catch on video.

Here are the trailers:
Sound City

Cutie and the Boxer

Binh: Another music documentary, Jeff? Tell us why?

Jeff: This won't be the last music doc in my Top 10, Binh! And as for why? Well, I thought Dave Grohl did a terrific job of not only summing up what made Sound City special, but making a sound argument for analog recording versus the oppressive digital perfection prevalent in today's music. It's the kind of documentary that's built to preach to the choir, but it's mighty entertaining nonetheless.

Binh: I imagine Miley Cyrus fans wouldn't be interested in something like this, or am I wrong?

Jeff: Miley Cyrus fans only watch YouTube.

Binh: And you, Sara. Why is Cutie and the Boxer number 7 for you?

Sara: Anyone ticking away at a career that requires them to have faith in themselves will find something to cling to here. The doc splits its interests between the relationship of these two older artists and their relationships to their work. It's not always easy to see/watch but it's always giving and doing something.

Binh: Jeff, the best scene in Sound City is?

Jeff: Man, that's a tough one. I guess I'd point to the jam with Rick Springfield and members of Foo Fighters -- an example of how music transcends genre boundaries, no matter how much the fans like to pretend the lines are drawn.

Binh: Best scene in Cutie and the Boxer, Sara?

Sara: A climactic bit of old video shown towards the end of the film is utterly heartbreaking--it seriously destroyed me--but whenever I feel unsteady about something I think of The Boxer yelling (at no one in particular) that he believes in his career. You'd think he's wrestling a monster to the ground.

Binh: We can’t talk about documentaries without mentioning Ken Burns or Werner Herzog. Pick your poison, Jeff. If one of these directors made Sound City, what would it be like?

Jeff: Ken Burns would have made it twelve hours long, and Herzog would have inserted copious amounts of his sublime/ridiculous voiceover -- both of which would have been all right with me, but probably would have alienated almost everyone else.

Binh: I like how you just ignored my either/or question and answered both. Sara, feel like taking on both too?

Sara: Ken Burns would have spent 3 hours zooming into The Boxer's punching art, thereby missing the point of "action art," while Herzog could make 10 films just about the passive aggressive ways the couple fight.

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