Pearl Jam Twenty [Celluloid Hero]
Pearl Jam Twenty (2011)
For any band to remain relevant for twenty years is an amazing feat. Between breakups, untimely deaths, and simply the changes in the music industry, most bands don’t last very long. The Beatles broke up after seven years, Led Zeppelin lasted ten til the death of Bonham, the Doors only went five years til Morrison passed. For Pearl Jam to still be going is a real testament to the greatness of the band.
Rock writer and movie director Cameron Crowe took on the duty of chronicling the history of Pearl Jam. We follow the earliest days of the band Mother Love Bone, which featured PJ’s Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament to the dawn of the grunge scene in Seattle (with Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Nirvana), and straight through the maturation of the entire band, both personally and musically.
The movie features some great footage from the past two decades. We see home videos, rehearsals, concerts, archived interviews, and much more. Each member of the band gets their own moments to relive the past, tell old stories, and really develop their ‘character’ within the band.
The only complaint I can really have is the pace of the movie. Obviously it’s hard to cram twenty years of evolution into a two hour movie, and at times I felt like Crowe just zipped from moment to moment without giving depth to everything.
Pearl Jam is one of my Top10 bands of all time. They manage to take themselves seriously without taking themselves too seriously. There is a fine line between those two distinctions, and lots of bands end up going over the edge and taking away all the fun. Pearl Jam manages to make statements with their music, both political and emotional, while still having as much fun now as they did twenty years ago.
On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, “Pearl Jam Twenty” gets a 9 out of 10.
[Each week, Varacchi explores cinema from his own perspective. From indie to foreign to mainstream, he’ll watch it all. Suggestions and recommendations are welcome, leave a comment below. CLICK HERE for the Celluloid Hero archives]