Rock That Uke-Movie Review

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Rock That Uke

Dir. SEAN ANDERSON AND WILLIAM PRESTON ROBERTSON
2002, 80 MIN, NR, VIDEO

Rock That Uke was a revelatory experience for me. Prior to seeing Bill Robertson and Sean Anderson's documentary about Ukeleles, my experiences with the maligned instrument had been somewhat painful, A distinct memory of a retarded Asian man with camouflage face makeup touting a beaten-up Ukelele and chasing me through a ratty porno theatre (true story) was proof that Ukelele=torture.

But seeing Rock That Uke made me realize that while I'd often heard people make unbearable noise with Ukeleles, I had never actually heard anybody play one. The musicians that color RTU are extremely talented and widely varied in their approaches to the tiny instrument although many admit to turning to the Uke as "the anti-guitar".

Narrated by Holly Hunter (whom the filmmakers refer to as "the human rock n' roll ukulele"), RTU is a love letter to the bastard instrument that has consistently been regarded as nothing other than a child's toy.

Indie rockers, comedy acts, ragtime bands, heavymetal hairband Uke Til U Puke, the irrepressible Oliver Brown (who was born the day Lenny Bruce died because the world wasnt big enough for both of them), a guy who sounds like Lou Reed and another who plays Slade covers (!) -- all see the uke as "the ultimate punk instrument" that may be stunted, but reaches for the stars.

Kier-La Janisse


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