The first film that Seth and I saw at the Sundance Film Festival this year was The Music Never Stops, and while it was good and sweet and lovely, it got lost among scads of better, more original, more daring films. But it shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s based on a true story chronicled by the brilliant Oliver Sacks, about a kid estranged from his parents in the 60s. Twenty years later, he’s diagnosed with a brain tumor, which precludes his ability to form new memories. Everything from 1970 to the present is simply missing from his brain, and the only way to wake him up is to play 60’s music, which brings him back to that time. Problem is, it’s also when he and his parents had a falling out, a falling out attributed in part to that music, specifically The Grateful Dead. It’s not the version of his son that the father wants.
The Music Never Stops has a bit of a made-for-TV-movie quality to it, but J.K. Simmons is phenomenal, and despite your best efforts, he will make you sob by the end. Sob hard. It’s one of those hardened Dad movies, like Chris Cooper in October Sky. Hardened Dad movies, despite their often manipulative nature, never fail to elicit the weepies.
The lead here is played by Lou Taylor Pucci from Thumbsucker and he’s practically unrecognizable in this movie.