Dubai International Film Festival 2012 (Movie Review) - Don't Stop Believing: Everyman's Journey
By Aisha Yaqub
Not everyone is born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Not everyone is blessed to be part of a family in the middle-class or high-class society. There are many of us who have to struggle in life, to get somewhere; many who have to put in the effort to reach somewhere knocking at their door, in order to move up in life. The film Don’t Stop Believing: Everyman’s Journey is one such movie, which gives out a strong message to the audience. The message is very simple. Hard work and persistence is the key to succeed and make a name for ourselves, many who are waiting for opportunities to come knocking.
The film, Don’t Stop Believing: Everyman’s Journey, chronicles an interesting story about a lowly man from Manila, Philippines and his passion of singing; especially singing the band Journey’s songs. Also, the film is about how the band Journey actually found Arnel Pineda and Arnel’s Journey from just singing the covers of Journey’s songs in Manila clubs – as part of a classic rock cover band, to actually getting plucked out from his obscure life and becoming their lead singer and going on tours with them.
As soon as the documentary starts, we are shown Arnel Pineda – the lowly man from Philippines – in a high school in Manila. He then exits the place and is shown walking on the street. First impression of Arnel Pineda is of a simple guy next door; with long hair, wearing a t-shirt and cargo pants. The film then takes us, the audience, on an exciting journey of self discovery and perseverance; which happens to be a key element and message in the movie as well.
What is exciting about Don’t Stop Believing: Everyman’s Journey is that, it is a story that will excite many of us. Human beings have the habit of getting excited and happy, when they see a small town girl/boy making it big. Few of us can actually relate to this kind of a story as well, when it is shown in the movies. Another interesting thing about the documentary is, the way it shows us the audience, how the band Journey found Arnel Pineda through Youtube and his own personal journey from Philippines to the United States and back.
One thing that could have been explored in the film, which wasn’t, was the fact that they could have addressed the question of, the difficulties that arose from recruiting a lead singer for such an iconic band of the 80s, from a different cultural background. Surely, in some parts of the film, we are made aware that people dislike the fact that Arnel replaced Steve Perry – the most iconic lead singer of Journey and that people would have preferred a lead singer from ‘America’, but it could have been spoken about more in the film.
Despite being a bit long and dragging at times – due to the fact that there were two stories being told in one; one of them was Arnel’s discovery by Journey and his own personal journey from rags to riches and the second one, the history of Journey and what happened with the band throughout its 20+ years of formation – it is a good film to watch. The message that the film gives is good, it is indeed an everyman’s journey and we all go through self-discovery. Plus, the soundtrack is great!