“The film tells the real life rock-n-roll fairytale story of Filipino Arnel Pineda, who was plucked from obscurity to become the front man for American rock band, Journey. Fired from his job as a cover band singer in Hong Kong, Filipino musician Arnel Pineda had little hope for the future. That was until the iconic American rock band Journey saw an internet video of Arnel’s band and decided to give him a shot at becoming their new lead singer.”
The band Journey has been thrust back into the limelight because of the TV Show, Glee. Sure they have been around (in various incarnations, they have changed their lines up numerous times) and playing, recording and touring. But it wasn’t really until Glee, that I’m sure most people had heard of them.
My cultural background is Filipino, which is when I saw the synopsis; I was intrigued by the documentary. The documentary follows the band as they tell the story of how they found their new lead singer, and them as they tour for roughly a year. The film sounds like a real life “Rockstar” starring Mark Wahlberg. Only, you know, real.
We meet Arnel, a down to earth, humble man. He has a great voice. If I were Wayne from Waynes World I would say that he could wail. We follow him as he joins the band, and tries to not only perform, but fit in with the rest of the band. It seems like it is an easy fit, but there are slight hiccups (like his boundless energy when it should be just “about the music”). We see as he gets more fame, not only from his native Philippines but also the world, and how it doesn’t seem to affect him. Apart from the new house he buys, he still seems really grounded, and just thankful for the opportunity.
But it isn’t just about him. The band is also part of this. But being directed a Filipino American, he focuses more on the Filipino. We find out the story about apparently Arnel is seemingly the last click of a link for the band. They had been scouring the youtube for a new singer. They weren’t just looking for a Journey tribute singer, but a good singer. There are some parts where the band push having taken this guy “from a third world country” and thrown him into the Rock world. A world of excess, and away from his family for most of the year.
The documentary itself is decent enough. It does have quite a weird order to it. It builds at the beginning with the discovery of Arnel, and then goes into the background of Journey themselves, then back onto the tour. The documentary, I feel, peaks to early with the story of Arnel, and seems to go downhill interest level until the final part of it, when Arnel goes back to the Philippines to perform with the band. But Arnel himself is an interesting subject, and really grounds the film, never once wavering from his background.
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2 1/2 Stars
VOD Release Date:
12th May 2014
Cinematic Release Date:
16th May 2014
DVD Release Date:
30th June 2014
105 Minutes Approx
Ramona S Diaz
Neal Schon, Ross Valory, Jonsthan Cain, Deen Castronovo, Arnel Pineda