Let’s Play Two

Let’s Play Two is a strange documentary featuring the band Pearl Jam. I went into it blind thinking it was just going to be another music documentary about a band I love, but almost immediately it sets itself apart. It’s one part artful concert film and one part love letter to baseball and the history of Wrigley Field. I’m a big fan of Pearl Jam, and I was delighted that the second song they played was “Better Man”, not only my favorite Pearl Jam song, but also one of my favorite songs of all time. On the other side of things, I’m not a big sports fan, and I only have a very passive interest in baseball, but the film throws out a ton of interesting facts about Wrigley Field and the history of the Chicago Cubs. It’s fun to see how passionate lead singer Eddie Vedder gets about the team, and I loved hearing about his personal history attending games as a child. The documentary is also peppered with old footage from 1992 of Eddie Vedder visiting his old stomping grounds at the genesis of Pearl Jam’s rise to popularity. You feel the pain of what it meant to be a longtime Cub’s fan during their abysmal losing streaks, and what this past season championship win means to them. We get a tour of the stadium. We get an in-depth look at what it took to break the legendary curse the Cubs have been suffering from for ages. There’s this amazing scene where they mix footage and audio of the Cubs qualifier game for entry into the World Series with Pearl Jam’s amazing song “Corduroy” and it’s such an energizing feeling. You feel pumped. This is what this movie is about, capturing those feelings of fandom. It does it so perfectly. It truly has to be experienced.

“It’s one part artful concert film and one part love letter to baseball…”

I think this film will only appeal to three kinds of people; people who love baseball (specifically the Cubs), people who love Pearl Jam, and people who love both. There’s not a whole lot of appeal to anyone else. It’s a gorgeously shot concert film, but still…not much here for non-fans. I’m a fan of Pearl Jam though, so I loved the shit out of this movie. Pearl Jam is one of those musical acts that go beyond anything they do in the studio when they step out on stage in front of a crowd of thousands. So many bands sound like shit away from their producers and over processed sound, but Pearl Jam was born to be a live band, and this film perfectly captures that sentiment. There are also a couple of nice cameos by Bill Murray, which made me smile. This film is an oddball (pun intended), but a delightful one at that. It gave me a newfound appreciation for a team I knew nearly nothing about aside from the fact that they were the butt of a classic joke in Back to the Future 2. There’s this scene in the documentary featuring a fan that lined up four days in advance to get into the front row of their Wrigley Field concert and it has a payoff that shows what a magically strong bond the band has with its fans. It’s an emotional moment that transcends the music and baseball, making for something special. On that scene alone, I’d recommend it to anyone who has a beating heart.

Let’s Play Two (2017) Directed by: Danny Clinch. Starring: Eddie Vedder, Matt Cameron, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready.

 9 out of 10

 

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