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The Pavement Musical and Museum Exhibit Were Part of Alex Ross Perry’s New Pavement Movie

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That absolutely bonkers Pavement jukebox musical, and the equally surreal pop-up museum, weren’t just stilly stunts to celebrate the indie band’s latest reunion tour — they were silly stunts for a new Pavement movie directed by Alex Ross Perry.

Perry revealed the broader machinations in a new New Yorker piece that offered a look inside the rehearsals for Slanted! Enchanted!: A Pavement Musical, which briefly ran in New York City earlier this month. As it happens, Rolling Stone’s own Rob Sheffield quietly noted that Perry — probably best known for his 2018 punk flick Her Smell — was directing a Pavement movie in his glowing review of the musical. However, no concrete details were available at the time.

And, actually, despite the confirmation from Perry, the details about the film still aren’t that concrete. Perry explained that Pavement’s label, Matador Records, approached him about a project three years ago, but frontman Stephen Malkmus had certain conditions: He didn’t want a documentary, but he didn’t want a movie with a traditional screenplay either. 

As Perry puts it: “No one knew what that meant.”

The solution will apparently be a movie with a little bit of everything, with Perry describing it as “like throwing spaghetti at the wall.” It’ll reportedly be kind of like a biopic but also a tour documentary, as well as a glowing tribute to the band, among other things. The jukebox musical and the retrospective museum exhibit (“Pavements 1933-2022: A Pavement Museum”) will feature in it, too, and they help illuminate Perry’s guiding thesis for the film: What if Pavement was the most important band ever?

Considering this surreal blend of fact and fiction — or as Perry put it, “Legitimate, ridiculous, real, fake, idiotic, cliché, illogical” — it’s no surprise to hear the director sum up his Pavement project by turning to the various documentaries, mockumentaries, and movies about (or by) Bob Dylan.

“You take the Todd Haynes Bob Dylan movie [I’m Not There], the Scorsese documentary [either Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story or No Direction Home], the Pennebaker documentary [Dont Look Back], and the movie Dylan himself directed that everyone hates [Renaldo and Clara] and put them all in a blender.”

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