For Jimmy Lee Lindsay, known to his fans and detractors as Jay Reatard, life was a race against time. After growing up fast among Memphis crack addicts, he managed to blaze a path through the rough-and-tumble underground rock scene of the early aughts, releasing over 100 singles, EPs and full-length records in fourteen years. Then on January 13, 2010, not yet 30, he died.
With their feature documentary Better Than Something, filmmakers Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz let Jay tell his own story: a poverty-stricken childhood, teen years spent as a two-fisted tunesmith battling fans and band mates alike, and a short-lived adulthood of focused and relentless productivity.
"I just try to make as much as I can with the time that I have," he tells his audience. By any measure, that is exactly what he did. Better Than Something is both a testament to Jay Reatard's indisputable legacy and a tribute to his vital, thrilling, and all-too-brief life.
- Steven Hyden