Pearl Jam Twenty Reviews
Cameron Crowe is a great choice for this material, having a knack at music related films, and being relatively close to the band to begin with. That, and thanks to his movie Singles, he has a vast love and knowledge of the scene that they got the most famous during. The film, in the first half at least, is well balanced and structured, and gives a lot of insight into how the band formed, as well as hitting highlights of their career chronologically. A fair amount of time is also spent on the Mother Love Bone era, and that's where some of the more moving parts of the film are, right up front.
The second half is fine, but really runs out of steam, and is oddly structred for some wieird reason. Some of the biographical stuff about the guys, and what lead them to Seattle happens in the first half, while the rest comes later, and seems really rushed and shoehorned. That, and in general a few thigns get glossed over, with Crowe making the assumption that the audience will already be familiar with things, and have the prior knowledge of what he skims over.
Unlike VH1's Behind The Music, this doesn't get overly sappy, sensational, or melodramatic. These guys actually look at things very matter of factly, as opposed to being overly nostalgic for the past, and bitter that those days have gone by. I really enjoyed hearing their thoughts on some of the most well known high and low moments though, and how the film isn't afraid to get into the uncomfortable parts of the band's history at times.
This is a pretty decent film. I'm biased because I love the band and their music, but for a casual viewer, this is a decent primer, though they might not be able to appreciate some of this as much. Still though, Crowe did a good job, and I can't really see someone else doing a much better job.
The band is not, and was not short on friends, however. With the likes of Chris Cornell, Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, Layne Staley and Neil Young - you really get a feel for how well they are liked and loved by not only their fans, but their peers as well.
The movie isn't complete without footage and there is literally, tons of it. I was blown away by the amount Cameron Crowe included. From beginning to end, it feels non-stop. Fan footage, behind-the-scenes, concert, home video, news/media, it's all here. Obviously, you have the band's music played throughout, as well as music video clips.
As I mentioned above, the story is career-spanning - which is what you expect. The thing that elevates PJ20 is the amount of depth, we're not just given a sampling of this band's life, we are taken inside. We see the struggles with Andrew Wood's death, how the band name Pearl Jam came about. The grunge-era and the whole Seattle scene in the early 90's. We are taken inside the creation of Ten, the selection of it's album art. The struggles with stardom, and the court battle with TicketMaster in the mid-90's.
I will end by saying, music lovers really need to give this a look. It goes without saying, if you're into Pearl Jam at all - it's a must. Now, I haven't seen Metallica's 'Some Kind of Monster,' so, I can't compare 'PJ20' to it. For me, this is the best music doc I've seen. The amount of goodies here will satisfy with multiple viewings.
Cameron Crowe delivers in a big way.