Directed by Doug Pray
This documentary examines the Seattle scene as it became the focus of a merging of punk rock, heavy metal, and innovation. Building from the grass roots, self-promoted and self-recorded until break-out success of bands like Nirvana brought the record industry to the Pacific Northwest, a phenomenon was born.
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★★★★ review by Jeff on Letterboxd
Remember grunge? Wasn't it great? It was all heavy guitars and white guy angst. And it made it fashionable to wear clothes you found on the side of the freeway. Man, it was great.
Hype! charts the rise of the Seattle music scene from a bunch of goofy dorks playing in empty bars to a bunch of goofy dorks playing to hordes of unwashed teenagers. Even though my enjoyment of the film in based heavily on nostalgia and a fondness for the bands, it is a breezy watch filled with entertaining interviews. Everyone is quick with a joke and no one takes themselves too seriously (except Eddie Vedder who actually makes a great quip about how unfunny he is).
The film's biggest failing is its inability to accurately capture the live performances of the bands featured. Focusing on the silliness of the Mono Men is fine, but guitarist Dave Crider—despite his dorkiness—sweats rock and roll. And Dead Moon just appear to be some gross old weirdos playing some dopey song. Dead Moon were gross old weirdos, but they also put on the most consistently great live show of any band in the Pacific Northwest.
Eh, whatever. Nitpicks from a guy who's seen this too many times and takes it too seriously.
Anyway, if you go in expecting a bunch of interviews with Pearl Jam and Soundgarden and Nirvana you'll be sorely disappointed as members of only two of those bands make brief appearances. But if you're feeling nostalgic for the flannel-clad 90's and want an entertaining watch, this is a great way to kill an afternoon.
★★★★★ review by Robert Lalonde on Letterboxd
Still the greatest documentary ever made
★★★★½ review by James Dann on Letterboxd
Look, I love grunge, but irrespective of that, this might be the best music documentary I've seen.
★★★★ review by Mark Palermo on Letterboxd
Following Chris Cornell's suicide and (on a different level) the bombing at Ariana Grande's concert in Manchester, it's been a very sad week. Kurt Cobain's death looms large over this documentary, which is otherwise quite electrifying, but plays as ancient history, and is tinged with sadness in a week when music and death seem so interlinked.
★★★½ review by Reinis Vazdiks on Letterboxd
A solid documentary about the rise and worldwide outspread of Seattle's grunge scene, featuring some of my idols from my younger days and lots of lesser known bands that never made it big due to a variety of reasons.
The moral about the spoiling nature of global success is very simple, and, in general, "Hype!" doesn't break much new ground, but it is really fun to watch if you're taken over by sudden 90's nostalgia.
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