Melody Makers: Should’ve Been There

Sam Tweedle, a local theatre critic for, is one of the most well-versed music wiz’s I know. We occasionally run into each other at local productions he’s writing about, but I’m almost more familiar with his online takes on his favourite musicians and underrated albums. During our run-ins, he picks my brain about movies. We agree on Kirk Cameron, we disagree on 1st Summoning, but I digress.

So, why is this relevant? Because I recently watched Leslie Ann Coles’ documentary Melody Makers, Should’ve Been There and even though I thought the film was solid, I have a feeling Sam would get a lot more out of it than I did. It’s a rare example of a nichey flick that speaks to a large viewership.

The biographical doc covers the rise and fall of Melody Maker Magazine, which ran for ten years and featured exclusive music coverage as well as stellar photography from Barrie Wentzell. Through various interviews with industry professionals, Coles’ project gives the audience an idea of how significant the publication was. That was the takeaway for me, at least. I learned about a magazine that I didn’t know existed, and learned about how special it was to everybody. The stories told throughout the film were fairly interesting, but I found myself distracted by the shapeless edits and how the film traded in cross dissolves for Wentzell’s catalogue.

Not to tell tales out of school but if Sam watched this movie, I have a feeling the editing would be a minor afterthought compared to the doc’s inclusive nostalgic journey. That’s not to say the film panders towards music junkies, but Coles certainly knows what audience will benefit the most from her film. The effort shows in the film’s substance, which movie goers in that specific market will recognize and forgive other shortcomings.

While someone less educated about music history can find enjoyment in Melody Makers: Should’ve Been There, music aficionados will be in heaven.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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