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|Index||14 reviews in total|
21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Perfect film for Pearl Jam fans!, 12 September 2011
Author: kevin_parks from Canada
I'm a fan club member... and just a huge huge fan of the band. Been a
fan for a very long time.
This film is as good as it gets for Pearl Jam fans! I saw this at TIFF. And I can honestly say I was never disappointed about any part of this film.
It captures the essence of the band perfectly with a very good and subtle amount of humour.
I'm going to see this again in theatres.. and oh MY I cannot wait until this is released on Blu-Ray / DVD.
A Must see for any Pearl Jam fan... and any fan of rock music for that matter.
9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Great Rockumentary, 22 October 2011
Author: dhsvincent from Canada
I have been a fan on Pearl Jam for years. I was 18 when the Seattle
scene broke, so Pearl Jam became the soundtrack of my young adult
I was a bit leery of this movie, as it could have really have turned me off the band depending on how it all went down. I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole movie. The crowd singing the song "Better Man", brought tears to my eyes. You really get an idea of how fast the band became huge, and the problems they had keeping their "art" rather than their business. I have gained a greater appreciation for this rock band, and it just made me a bigger fan
Simply put, Pearl Jam "10" one of the greatest rock records ever, and Pearl jam "20" one of the greatest rock movies ever
10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A Nutshell Review: Pearl Jam 20, 20 September 2011
Author: DICK STEEL from Singapore
I have to admit I'm not what you will call a fanatical worshipper of
Pearl Jam's music enough to compel me to watch what would be THE
documentary this season with a single session, simultaneous screening
around the world where PJ fans will likely already have made a beeline
for. Instead, I'm a bigger fan of writer-director Cameron Crowe than
the subject matter of his documentary (ok, so this sounds a little bit
blasphemous), given that it's been years since we last saw a Cameron
Crowe film hit the theatres, although that wait will soon be over by
the end of this year with the release of We Bought a Zoo.
Pearl Jam 20 chronicles the beginnings of the band back in the year 1989 where Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard came together after the demise of their band Mother Love Bone, and like all successful bands that came before it, was subjected to recruiting and changing of members until the perfect chemistry was achieved, culminating with frontman Eddie Vedder, with his distinct growling voice, joining the band, and together put alternative grunge music on the radar of music everywhere. Sure there were many others in the same vein since the 90s was the era where this sound had taken the world by storm, with what would possibly be the largest rivals to Nirvana before Kurt Cobain's passing.
You can probably read a lot more details on the band from its Wikipage, and Cameron Crowe's film digs through large treasure troves of archival footage from television newsreels to more independent, off the cuff capture of the band's early years, that we get to witness the second earliest band performance ever and plenty of other home made videos that expectedly get pixelated for the big screen. Crowe's background as a music journalist being a tremendous factor in the crafting of this film, where in lesser hands would have been relegated to the standard talking heads interviews, and to stuff the film with chock full of music videos and live performances from the band's tours around the world.
Instead, Crowe provides the narration, and shares interesting nuggets of information through what would be a largely chronological format without overwhelmingly bombarding the audience with too much information. Being on close terms with all the band members and collaborators also allowed for unfettered access to more intimate and honest interview answers, with the utilizing of milestones in the band's career to timestamp the feature, including their courtroom lawsuit with Ticketmaster. But with everything crammed into two hours, expect some areas of focus to be skimmed through as Crowe paced his documentary at breakneck speed to cover as much ground as possible, mixing it up quite a bit with comedy, pathos, and allowing the many visuals both moving and static to breathe and tell a story.
It's about the capture of a phase of growing up, where looking around I see folks around my age group (or older) who had grown with the band in the 90s when we were in our teens where music played a large part in our lives, as we shift through the sands of time with the identification of many songs from the band's discography, where I didn't even realize that Daughter was supposed to be called Brother initially, and listening to Vedder actually sing it that way during a practice on the tour bus, is reason enough amongst others why fans just have to watch this, and perhaps reminisce the times where they had seen their idols perform on stage during one of the many concert tours done worldwide at the peak of their popularity.
And that is if a theatrical release gets secured soon, which I suspect would be the case given the sold out, one off screening. Watch for it!
5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Informative, moving and passionate, 20 November 2011
Author: tomgillespie2002 from United Kingdom
Twenty years after Pearl Jam's debut album Ten took the music world by
storm, Cameron Crowe directs this documentary that chronicles and
celebrates the band's history, impact and longevity. Crowe starts way
back in 1988 when guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament were
part of Mother Love Bone, a band that were popular due to singer Andy
Wood's charismatic personality and song writing talent. After Wood's
overdose and untimely death, Gossard and Ament founded Pearl Jam, along
with the hugely talented singer Eddie Vedder and lead guitarist Mike
McCready. The band went on to be one of the most successful bands of
the 90's, and were seen as the natural rivals of fellow 'grunge' band
Crowe's documentary is hugely detailed, combining the standard talking heads with old interview footage, home video, and concert footage. Crowe apparently worked his way through 12,000 hours of footage of the band for the film. It was well worth it, as we get to see rare, grainy footage of Wood's exciting performances with Mother Love Bone, as well as the extremely moving performances by Vedder and Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell as part of Wood tribute group Temple of the Dog. The talking heads are no mere conduits that progress the film along, they are as informative and moving as the performances, as Vedder and Cornell, especially, open up and give tearful recollections.
It also covers the band's battle with ticket giant Ticketmaster, and how they objected to the fact that their fans were getting ripped off just to see a live band. It shows Pearl Jam as one of the few bands that remember their roots and are a dying breed. It was strange for me to watch this film, viewing the likes of Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden as part of music history. I grew up with my old brother listening to the music, so I remember the whole 'grunge' craze quite well. I really only remember stripy shirts and long hair, but Pearl Jam Twenty reminded me of how good the music actually was. This is a must-see for fans of the band or the era, or for those enjoy an involving documentary. Crowe clearly knows his s**t (he was a journalist for Rolling Stone after all) and his passionate touch is all over it.
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Great Look at One of America's Best Bands, 25 January 2012
Author: bdgill12 from United States
When the grunge rock movement began in Seattle in the early '90s,
filmmaker Cameron Crowe was living in the area and spent a good deal of
time covering the music scene. At the forefront of the movement, which
spread like wildfire across the globe, there were two bands: Nirvana
and Pearl Jam. Yes, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and a number of other
bands made significant marks but it was the aforementioned duo that
made grunge the all-encompassing phenomenon that it was. If you've ever
seen a Crowe film, you know he has a connection with Pearl Jam; I'm
pretty sure at least one PJ song can be found in each of his films,
including We Bought a Zoo, an addition that made no sense but was
nonetheless awesome. Pearl Jam 20 serves as Crowe's ode to his favorite
band as he traces their origins back to the pre-Eddie Vedder days and
follows them up through their most recent album, interspersing concert
footage with intimate interviews and some home videos to create a
portrait of what could be America's last great rock band.
Much like Crowe himself, I am borderline obsessed with the grunge era. I think Nirvana saved music and you can't convince me otherwise. Pearl Jam is probably my favorite band going right now and so for me, PJ20 was an outstanding way to spend two hours. This isn't exactly the in-depth, investigative sort of documentary that many critics were hoping for. Rather, it's almost a love letter to the band and the music of the era from a fan to the fans. And personally, I'm okay with that. It was thrilling to catch a glimpse of the inner workings of the band and the history of how they came together. I've read some of this information before but it's different to actually watch the band talk about themselves and about their music. The grunge era is such a fascinating, exciting subject and Crowe's ability to weave together the various elements he uses to tell Pearl Jam's story is incredible.
The early days of the band are of particular interest as Crowe examines the way in which the members of the group came together and the work that led to their breakout album, Ten. Through the various interviews and video clips, you are able to get a real feel for the brotherhood not just among the members of Pearl Jam but also among all members of the Seattle music scene, regardless of band affiliation. In one clip, Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) stated that his musician friends from New York couldn't believe how supportive each band was of the next; New York bands viewed themselves as competitors while the grunge acts saw themselves as parts of a whole. In many ways, that feeling of togetherness is representative of a movement that was embraced by millions of (young) people from different walks of life who felt disenfranchised by society in general, let alone the crap that dominated the airwaves at the time.
One of the more intriguing parts of the film is the way in which it displays the changes in the both the personalities of the band members and the music they put together. As PJ20 progresses, you witness the evolution of both band and individual. Front man Eddie Vedder is almost out of control in early footage, both on and off stage. There's a sense of frustration, almost rage, that pours through in every song. Later concert footage and interviews show a much more controlled and mature man who has traded anger for political and social angst but one who still knows how to put on an incredible show and make fantastic music. It was engrossing for me to watch the changes take place over the course of 20 years and brought a new appreciation for some of the band's music that I haven't always been as impressed with.
If nothing else (and perhaps above all else), PJ20 offers up an enthralling anthology of Pearl Jam on stage. The concert footage is exquisitely cut and distributed throughout the runtime so that it never becomes a true concert film but also never allows the viewer to forget that these guys represent a powerhouse on the stage. The mix of early footage with more recent shots (including an IMPECCABLE performance of Release from a few years ago) provides a powerful sampling of the truly special body of work Pearl Jam has put together over the years. I would have loved for Crowe to delve deeper into the middle years of the band in which there was an apparent, if unspoken, conflict between the band members or give more insight into the origins of some of Pearl Jam's more popular songs. But as it stands, PJ20 provides a beautiful and heartfelt look at one of the world's most prolific rock bands.
Please check out my reviews: ieatfilms.com and thesoapboxoffice.blogspot.com
6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Pearl Jam Brings It Back, 21 September 2011
Author: BClark0679 from United States
In Pearl Jam Twenty, Cameron Crowe is able to show the roots of this
quintessential rock band. As the movie progressed it is clear that this
band has calmed down from its reckless early phase and moved into a
niche, where there is a unique give and take between the band and its
fans. Even the overview about the many different drummers that the band
has employed was taken almost as an inside joke, where one who has
followed the band would understand and laugh a little. Overall, the
first ten years of the band are well documented and show a band that
grew from the ashes and fought against ticket pricing and mainstream
attention. While the band has continued for ten more years, it glosses
over these years with only live performance footage and the bands
rightful distaste for GW.
Overall, the documentary hits a homerun and makes this fan realize how far this band has come and how far it can still go.
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Gave it a 10 and am not a PJ fan, 19 January 2012
Author: kisp_1 from Mexico
I can honestly say that I'm not an avid Pearl Jam fan. Yes, I owned
"TEN" when I was a kid in 6th grade, and songs such as "Betterman" and
"Immortality" always make it to my iPod, but I was never a traditional
fan as I am of other bands such as The Cure.
I am, however, a huge fan of documentaries. Especially those that bring to surface the deep rooted emotions and thoughts as expressed by the subjects interviewed without the facade of flashy lights and glitter. Which is why I love documentaries by Errol Morris, the Maysles brothers, and Hubert Sauper. (that is also why I despise Moore, Herzog, and Spurlock.... too much glitter.) But Crowe manages to balance the depth of the interviews and story, if you will, with entertainment. At the end of the documentary I wanted more. I felt it was too short. Plus, it helped one appreciate the artistic value of Pearl Jam. So much so, that later that day I ended up logging into iTunes and purchasing Pearl Jam's greatest hits album. It's been playing on my iPod ever since.
This documentary made Pearl Jam what they have always been..... human. It was moving when Eddie Veddar expressed how he feels to this day when he sings "Black", and so on. It takes these renown Rock stars and places them in your living room as the type of people you can hang-out with and talk about history and music for a couple of hours..... it was a fantastic documentary, and I recommend it to anyone. Even if you are not a fan of Pearl Jam...
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Would get 10 stars if renamed to PJ 10, 3 December 2011
Author: ConfucioBSB from Brasília, Brazil
PJ 20 is rich, smartly edited, brings incredible footage and tells
interesting stories, but it should not receive 10 out of 10 for one big
reason: it promises 20 years of history but only delivers 10. Obviously
the first 10 were the formative years. However a lot happened during
the latter decade which is barely touched by the film.
The nuance in a lot of segments is to be loved. But it is sort of tricky that the five of them never appear together in the present time interviews. It tells a lot about how this great band works and should have been further explored.
Overall though PJ 20 is a great film, specially for the initiated.
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A story of success, 13 November 2012
Author: Engelbert Franssen from Netherlands
Unfortunately I cannot give a objective rating about this documentary,
because I am a enormous Pearl Jam fan. So the positive feeling that I
get when I think of Pearl Jam could influence my view on the
But I do think that it is worth a watch! It is such an interesting and inspiring band that deserves the attention of the big public. The documentary takes you by the hand and shows you how the band started and which big events occurred in the career of the band. I surely contains a lot of footage that I haven't seen before. So that was a pleasant surprise.
And when you already like Pearl Jam, I think you will appreciate the music even more in the future. So you should watch it definitely.
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Pearl Jam Fans, Go Crazy!, 12 August 2012
Author: cheesecrop from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Pearl Jam Twenty gives you a respectable two hour overview that's meant
to cover the group's history. Obviously, some things must be left out
of the picture, and everything after about 2003 gets the short shrift
here. That being said, it's still a tremendous documentary that shows
the group at it's peak, and gives you a good clue as to why they are
where they are today.
If you were there from the beginning, it's hard to believe all this happened. Pearl Jam emerged from one of the wildest times in rock history, made it through, and have become a beloved institution by many. Everything is touched on that needs to be touched on, from the Mother Love Bone days on up. They do skim over the drummer situation, and it would've been nice to see a few of them interviewed for this piece. I think they may have shed some interesting light on the inner workings of the band.
Those who are still waiting for the definitive multi-part documentary on the 1990's alternative rock scene will have to make due with films like this, until someone takes the time to make their way through all the film footage & put it all together. Luckily, this film does a great job of highlighting an essential band from an essential time in rock & roll.
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