Today! Because I know I’m the last guy in the world you’d peg as a Deadhead –
The Music Never Stopped (2011)
Directed by Jim Kohlberg
Starring J.K. Simmons (x3), Lou Taylor Pucci, Cara Seymour, Scott Adsit, Julia Ormond, Mia Maestro, Tammy Blanchard
How do we possibly follow the biggest movie of all-time on this list? Are all my favorite films just populist studio marketed tentpoles (don’t judge me!)? Well, in 2011 the Music Box Theatre in Chicago participated in the Sundance Across America project, stemming from the film festival, where they ship an indie to different cities that otherwise might not get nationwide play. And so I caught The Music Never Stopped, a movie that went on to gross $258,223 according to Box Office Mojo, 1/2,326th the total Titanic pulled down in its initial release.
And it’s hard to say why this movie has stuck with me – it’s a pretty sentimental, sorta-true story (based loosely on brain disorder king Oliver Sacks’ essay The Last Hippie) about an estranged father and son who reunite only after both come down with severe medical issues – heart disease and brain tumor, respectively. Son Gabriel’s tumor prevents him from making new memories, but through his favorite music – lots of Grateful Dead, Beatles, Bob Dylan on the soundtrack – the fog in his brain manages to lift somewhat temporarily.