Pearl Jam Twenty - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pearl Jam Twenty Reviews

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August 10, 2017
It's a great documentary of the greatest band of the 90's. It touches on their evolution, heartache and what this and means to so many dedicated fans. It's a love story of their music and influence in so many.
September 4, 2016
One of the most comprehensive and informative music documentaries that you will ever see, about an outstanding band with a long history and a fan base like no other. If you aren't a fan or even a casual fan, you will be all in on them by the end. Bravo
January 30, 2016
A great documentary, on how some of the band members started out at the beginning, with Mother LoveBone, Temple of the Dog, Mookie Baylock, to Pearl Jam. Enjoyed every minute of it.
January 18, 2016
Cameron Crowe's excellent documentary is part retrospective / part fan film, with a bountiful supply of unaired footage featuring one of modern music's most recognizable names. Perhaps no other band has ever been so private with respect to its members' lives, and yet has striven to ensure an unprecedented level of fan accessibility as far as their music is concerned. The esteem that the director holds for his subject is apparent from the start, but should not be regarded as a quality that detracts from the film's overall effect. Right away, the focus is established on how these individuals came together from their assorted backgrounds, landing in an exploding Seattle music scene, and then found a musical connection that is so rarely achieved, and even rarer to be sustained for twenty years and counting. This is a documentary purposely designed to exclude reflections from journalists, music critics, promoters, producers, and all relatives and non-music industry friends of the band members themselves. Other than the current band members, the only additional, new interview footage is with Chris Cornell, a fellow Seattle music celebrity who played a significant role during the band's early years. This is not an expose or character study. All discussions relate back to the music itself: the bands that members were in prior to Pearl Jam, the initial thoughts on the demo tape featuring vocals from a then-undiscovered California surfer/security guard that reached the others in Seattle, the decidedly cramped, untidy spaces where they first came together to practice and eventually hone their stage performances, and certainly the discomfort they felt upon being pigeon-holed as a "grunge band" strictly for marketing purposes. There are too many highlights to list, but a few moments I especially liked include: claustrophobic scenes from an early European concert where the band was jammed together tightly and the audience was literally positioned inches away, practically on top of them; the archive footage of Kurt Cobain talking about Eddie and the band, reneging on his initial criticisms, soon followed up with Eddie addressing a concert crowd on the day of Kurt's passing, taking a moment to pay a very personal, impromptu tribute; Stone Gossard's unremarkable display(?) space for the Grammy P.J. won in 1996; and the Madison Square Garden show where a majority of the audience appears to actually be booing the band's performance of "Bushleaguer" - a politically charged tune criticizing a certain President the band disagreed with. There are a few things missing I would have liked to have seen as well, such as an interview with one-time drummer, Jack Irons, and a discussion of the band's singularly unique decision to make dozens of individual concerts, entire tours, in fact, available to fans for purchase. However, the exclusion of a few worthwhile discussions and mentions does not make the final project feel incomplete at all. What Crowe accomplishes is a film that spoke to my sense of nostalgia, taking me back to my teenage years, recalling how important music has been to my life, and reminding me why I have always appreciated a band like Pearl Jam for daring to make music fueled by actual inspiration, rather than the potential to maximize proceeds.
½ July 6, 2015
A very powerful and satisfying documentary from Cameron Crowe featuring one of the most important/biggest bands of the 90's. One thing I loved is they barely mentioned Kurt Cobain, as Pearl Jam wasn't in the same scene as them, but they did give credit to Cobain when it was due. Once they got to the lawsuit portion of the documentary, I started to lose interest, but there were some cool moments afterwards.
August 10, 2014
Great documentary though the editing was iffy.
½ July 17, 2014
Do you need to be a fan to like this documentary on the Seattle band Pearl Jam? Probably...but because of the closeness of Cameron Crowe to the band and the Grunge scene in the early 1990's, we get to see a lot of footage you'd see nowhere else. The last twenty minutes or so slow the pace, but it's a lot of great stuff leading up to it.
½ July 6, 2014
When one of the most important bands to come out of Seattle celebrates it's twentieth year, there is no journalist better suited than Cameron Crowe to document them. Not only does this film capture some great live performances; Crowe does an excellent job showing the human side of Pearl Jam's members, including the notoriously private Eddie Vedder. Pearl Jam 20 is a must-see film for any dedicated fan of the band, and fascinating viewing for anyone interested in music.
½ April 28, 2014
It has problems, but Pearl Jam Twenty is a unique look into the bands career with archival footage as well as interviews.
February 26, 2014
Kick ass documentary!!!! If you love PJ, this is a must see. Mr. Cameron never ceases to amaze me in what he creates!
January 14, 2014
Love Pearl Jam. They can do no wrong.
January 8, 2014
A very passionate 'only a friend of a band' could make documentary chronicling the life of Pearl Jam.

Their journey to stardom was sudden but the behind the scenes journey...especially Eddie Vedder's who makes it so interesting.

Filled with some of their greatest anthems & the struggles they go through & the bands great struggle the death of 8 fans at their infamous Copenhagen concert. This film is raw & passionate & a must for Pearl Jam fans...
October 31, 2013
Best band documentary film I've seen. Of course, it helps immensely that I already love Pearl Jam!
October 25, 2013
Although I would never rank Pearl Jam in my top 20 favorite bands of all-time I did find that I've taken their consistency for granted watching "20". For fans of Rock-Docs this is a worthy watch.
½ October 17, 2013
Most of these are a case of "if you're a fan of the band, you're gonna love it." - and in this case, I am. But with that aside, it's a really great film with so much behind the scenes footage and fully tells the story of this great band. It made me run off to re-listen to all my Pearl Jam albums and introduced me to so much that I didn't know.
October 13, 2013
Cameron Crowe is responsible for directing one of my favorite movies, Almost Famous. With this rockumentary about Pearl Jam, he is able to capture the essence of a living, breathing rock and roll band, and in doing so, it is a somewhat return to form for him, and his rock journalism background. Mixing an extensive amount of archived footage from the band over the past twenty years, as well as old and new interviews, he weaves together a story that is as much informative as it is captivating. It's interesting to watch various members from the Seattle music scene in the early 90's discuss the evolution of Eddie Vedder, from a shy backup vocalist and bass player, to a full fledged, enigmatic frontman. It's a terrific expose of a band who has influenced hundreds of bands since, and continues to make and distribute music on their own terms.
October 2, 2013
If you're a pj fan or just enjoy their music at all, you should see this movie
May 31, 2013
A great documentary about my favorite band. Lots of never before scene footage. A very well put together piece!
May 1, 2013
Still Alive

Even Eddie Vedder is in Kurt Cobain's shadow in some ways. It's a bit disheartening to realize, but it's not entirely surprising. Ask Mick Jagger what he thinks about John Lennon, I guess, not that I'm putting either Eddie or Kurt into that stratum--and it's worth noting that I think there are more similarities between the Beatles and Pearl Jam and between the Stones and Nirvana than the other way 'round. But even in a rather lengthy documentary about Pearl Jam, we have to take the time out to talk about Kurt. There's even stock footage of Kurt's own conflicting feelings about Eddie and about Pearl Jam. And Cameron Crowe felt the need to include bits of that Andy Rooney segment from just after Kurt's death that made me so very angry at the time and still doesn't fill me with great joy now. I admit that I tend to chalk Kurt's death up to "you shouldn't medicate for depression with heroin," but that's more effort at understanding him than Andy Rooney put in.

First, there was Green River, back in the '80s. After Green River came Mother Love Bone. When Andrew Wood died of a heroin overdose, there was no more Mother Love Bone. Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament then joined up with Mike McCready, whose own band (Shadow) had fallen apart. They were looking for a singer, and former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons sent a tape of some of their instrumental tracks to San Diego-based Eddie Vedder, who wrote lyrics and sent a tape of himself singing them back up to Seattle. And then, there was Pearl Jam. (Okay, then there was Mookie Blaylock, but then, there were fears of copyright infringement.) For more than twenty years now, there has been Pearl Jam. There was [i]Ten[/i] and [i]Vs.[/i] and the battle with Ticketmaster. There was the cover of [i]Time[/i]. There was Kurt's death and the fallout. There were conflicts within the band and within themselves. And through all that, there has been music.

Yeah, okay. I've always been a huge Pearl Jam fan. I've written a found poem of Pearl Jam lyrics, in fact. (Maybe I'll post it over on Deviant Art.) This is because, as powerful as the music is, the lyrics to me have always been poetry. Even when I don't know what they mean, they feel right--"She dreams in colour she dreams in red," for example. For a couple of years in high school, I had some friends who called me Jeremy, because I'd had the song stuck in my head for like three weeks. I think the music that sticks with you most is the music you listened to when you were figuring out who you were. For me, that covers about six years--figuring out who I was took longer, but I didn't listen to the radio much after that. What I was listening to was the copy of [i]Vs.[/i] my first boyfriend gave me, among other things. The music I had already connected to. So, no, I don't listen to new music much anymore, but I still listen to music. I still listen to this music.

Actually, this documentary helps put a better picture on the Kurt Cobain thing than any of the various documentaries about Nirvana that I got through during "N." (It's odd that there's so much more in the library catalog for Nirvana, but I guess that's because Eddie Vedder is still alive and surly and Kurt is dead and surly.) These guys start with acknowledging that, yeah, Kurt brought some of it on himself. And he wasn't always a nice guy. And, yes, there are some really great things about being a rock star. (And while they don't say it, it's still true that music is a hard business to be a real success in without going under the microscope; the band didn't participate in the [i]Time[/i] story that got Eddie's face on the cover.) But you can't speak out about the problems without being patronized. When the band was testifying to the Department of Justice about the Ticketmaster monopoly, someone actually just pretty much called them "darling boys." How can you take life seriously after that?

The band is still together twenty years on. They aren't as huge, but hardly anyone is as huge twenty years on as they were when they first became stars, no matter what kind of star they are. I think in many ways, it's because they've taken the advice that Neil Young wanted to give Kurt. They worry less about what people think about them. After all, it's let Neil Young survive in the music business almost as long as Eddie Vedder's been alive. There's no nostalgia to the days when they were selling out arenas the world over; those days weren't as fun as just getting together with the guys and playing good music in a smaller venue, I think. They don't worry about it anymore. It's not a bad lesson, though I'm not sure it's one Kurt was capable of learning. Eddie Vedder has his issues--though I note that the recent convert footage of "Alive" has him changing the word "daddy" to "father," a change of which I approve--but his don't seem to be biochemical. It's easier to deal with that. Also, I don't think he's ever been a heroin addict.
April 8, 2013
Makes me want to see them live in concert.
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