PEARL JAM TWENTY
Release Date: September 23, 2011
Starring: ** Musical History **
Genre: Music documentary
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 120 minutes
Director: Cameron Crowe
Executive Producer: Michele Anthony
Writer: Cameron Crowe
Address Comments To:Richard Abramowitz
22 Green Valley Road
Armonk, New York 10504
Phone: (914) 273-9545
Fax: (914) 273-1351
In the movie, concert scenes are mixed with studio and other behind-the-scenes footage. Included is some personal footage from former “Rolling Stone” reporter and the movie’s director, Cameron Crowe (JERRY MAGUIRE and ALMOST FAMOUS), who’s been covering the band since the beginning, and interviews discussing the band’s history and impact. Crowe also provides some narration for his movie.
While those who don’t enjoy rock music or Pearl Jam will likely find this movie lacks interest for them, it does depict a rich sense of humanity in showing the rewards and travails experienced by one of modern music’s most globally popular bands. Particularly moving are passages in which the band members and other musicians from their Seattle home town discuss the effects of drug abuse in causing the deaths of band member Kurt Cobain (who committed suicide) of “Nirvana,” another “grunge rock” band from Seattle, and others. Other segments show how the strain of constant media attention, fan demands and frenzied touring inspired them to slow their momentum in an effort to regain normalcy in their lives and remain down-to-earth. The movie also shows the band battling the business practices of Ticketmaster, going all the way to Congressional hearings to demand more competition in the concert-ticket business so that average fans could afford tickets in an era of price gouging. The band is shown willing to help numerous causes, including Tibetan freedom and disaster relief. Among these causes, however, are two pro-abortion events, in one of which the lead singer writes the word “pro-choice” on his arm.
Positives in the movie include a depiction of the devastating effects of drug abuse, as well as the band’s desire to turn away from excessive fame and limelight in order to live more normal, orderly lives and remain down-to-earth. The band members also are shown as extremely loyal to each other and other musicians on the Seattle scene where they have been based throughout their careers. In addition, their lyrics often depict people in crisis learning to stand up for themselves and overcoming abuse, incest, homelessness, and other social and human ills. Also moving is a segment depicting how nine fans were accidentally killed in a crowd stampede at a Danish music festival, a nightmarish situation that drove the band to scale back the size of the venues where they perform, and for which the members still weep a decade later. Finally, their support for affordable ticket prices shows that their connection with their fans, not money, is their priority. The movie notes that the band has suffered, but survived, some big financial and career sacrifices because of that stance.
On the negative side, PEARL JAM TWENTY contains plenty of strong foul language. There are also scenes where the band’s lead singer recklessly risks his life for the thrill of audiences as he hangs 50 feet above stages and then drops his body into crowds that catch him. Finally, the band’s perspective is toward the secular and humanist. The biggest example of this is their self-contradictory support for abortion, which snuffs out the lives of millions of innocent babies in their mother’s womb. As Proverbs 6: 16,17 says, “The LORD hates. . . hands that shed innocent blood.”
PEARL JAM TWENTY will most appeal to fans of Pearl Jam and fans of rock music. It has some emotional moments where the band members discuss the devastating effects of drug abuse and a crowd stampede in Denmark that killed nine people. The Denmark tragedy caused the band to re-think the venues where it performs. Sadly, the movie has plenty of strong foul language. There are also two concert scenes where the band performs at two pro-abortion events. Thus, PEARL JAM TWENTY will not appeal to media-wise viewers who may be interested in knowing more about this band, its music and background.