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A Good Life: The Joe Grushecky Story (2007)

Too many times in life when people realize that their dreams are not going to come true they, much too often, give up on those dreams and instead accept the hand that life deals them. Joe ... See full summary »

Directors:

Steve Caniff (co-director), Jim Justice (co-director)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Steve Cropper ... Himself
Joe Grushecky Joe Grushecky ... Himself
Steve Popovich Steve Popovich ... Himself
Bruce Springsteen ... Himself
Mike Vallely ... Himself
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Storyline

Too many times in life when people realize that their dreams are not going to come true they, much too often, give up on those dreams and instead accept the hand that life deals them. Joe Grushecky is not one of these people. Faced with the fact that his dream of making it big in the unforgiving business of Rock n' Roll was going to fall just short, Joe Grushecky chose a different path. He kept fighting. Written by Flat Broke Productions

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Taglines:

A tale of determination, passion, desire and success...no matter how you measure it.

Genres:

Documentary

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 November 2007 (U.S. Virgin Islands) See more »

Filming Locations:

Asbury Park, New Jersey, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Flat Broke Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Stereo)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

"A Good Life" might leave you with a question mark at the end
5 November 2014 | by rooprectSee all my reviews

I'm a big fan of musical underdog documentaries. My faves are "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" about the unknown session musicians who made all the great hits we know so well, "The Bee Gees: In Our Own Time" which is a surprisingly enlightening documentary about the disco band we all love to hate, and by far the best: "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" a hilarious, painful & hilariously painful story about a heavy metal band that never made it.

"A Good Life" is another musical underdog story about Joe Grushecky who fronted the Houserockers from 1979 until the present. If you don't know who the Houserockers are, don't worry. I lived in Pennsylvania not far from their local haunt and never heard of them either. As the film's title indicates, this is a documentary that attempts to convince the viewer that, despite not having worldwide fame and a kazillion dollars, Joe has led a good life in the pursuit of his dream. The problem is that I wasn't convinced.

Through interviews with Joe, his family, his bandmates, and certain music industry professionals, we hear many anecdotes telling of Joe's struggles and determination. Often they sound like rock & roll clichés, but hey, sometimes rock & roll is a cliché. I kept waiting for something to tie it all together with the idea that it adds up to a good life, but I never got that feeling.

I felt like the documentary spent too much time pretending Joe was a huge success. Instead, I would've liked to see him find satisfaction in just strumming a guitar under a tree or teaching his son how to play. I'm sure he has had those genuine moments, but the film doesn't show them.

Two moments in Joe's career struck me as being victorious (judging by the animation in is eyes when he told them). The first was when he held his 1st album in is hands in 1979, truly an accomplishment for any band in the 70s. And the second moment was when he recorded in the studio with Bruce Springsteen in 1995. But it felt like everything else has been a meandering struggle to win fans & recognition. Mind you, I'm certainly not faulting Joe, nor am I diminishing the fact that he has a lot of guts to keep going. What I'm saying is that the filmmakers didn't achieve what they intended to do, convince me that this is an inspiring story.

I highly recommend the aforementioned "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" which brilliantly weaves a fun, suspenseful and rewarding story about a couple aging metalheads who refuse to quit. It's every bit as engaging as a Hollywood script, except it's for real. "A Good Life" is much more muted, without any real humor, drama or big revelation. It's a quiet film about a man who refuses to give up the rockstar dream. Does he have a good life? I didn't necessarily get that feeling from this documentary. But I'm cheering him on just the same.


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