Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage
Genre: Documentary
Director: Sam Dunn, Scot McFayden
Stars: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart
Rating: ***

Toronto’s Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart received their collective star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week for their power trio Rush, and that means these Canuck prog rockers have finally made it, eh?

Don’t believe it. A big part of Rush’s appeal is its perennial underdog status, four decades into a career of matching heady poetry to electrified wails. They continue to be “the world’s biggest cult band,” as Lee modestly assesses the situation in this sterling documentary.

And he’s right, even though Rush has millions of believers, including many of their fellow rock gods, Gene Simmons, Billy Corgan and Trent Reznor among them. Only the Beatles and Rolling Stones have more consecutive gold and platinum studio albums than Rush, yet Lee, Lifeson and Peart still can’t get respect from Rolling Stone magazine, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or from many rock critics.

Co-directors Scott McFadyen and Sam Dunn approach the band as fans, but also as serious scholars who aren’t afraid to discuss both the good (Moving Pictures, 2112) and the not-so-good (Caress of Steel).

The Rush guys are equally candid, opening up on their strengths and weaknesses and triumphs and tragedies. A wealth of archival material paints the most complete picture yet of these humble heroes, who continue to rock as hard as ever.