film reel image

film reel image

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The Greatest Night in Pop 2024 * * 1/2 Stars


2024's The Greatest Night in Pop represents the biggest stars in the music industry getting together to record the single, "We Are the World". You could say it was a surreal experience back in 1985, seeing Michael Jackson and Kenny Rogers and Huey Lewis and Diana Ross you know, just hanging out. If you're a sucker for nostalgia (and I am) and were born in the 70s (and I was), The Greatest Night in Pop will take you back, back to a simpler time. "But if you just believe there's no way we can fall". Indeed. 

Some archived moments here, some interviews there, Lionel Richie everywhere, The Greatest Night in Pop has the camera peeking in, capturing singing icons for the first time as normal people (with normal psyches). I don't know how "Pop's" director (Bao Nguyen) got this long-lost footage or why it was kept in the vault for so long but hats off to him. The first half of The Greatest Night in Pop is exhilarating, longing in how its timelines of LA in January lead up to everybody getting together to record a song benefiting African famine relief. I mean even if you remember what went down almost 40 years ago (and I do) and even if you've heard "We Are the World" 100 times (and I have), the annals in "Pop" still feel fresh and new, like visiting an old friend or uh, absent relative. 

So OK, what's the downside to viewing The Greatest Night in Pop (I waited for the last paragraph to throw down the downside)? It's simple really, the documentary is too long and well, runs out of wiggle room. I mean the singers come into the studio right after the American Music Awards to record. Great. Looks there's Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder and oh my, Tina Turner. Fabulous. Then "Pop" shows them taking 6 or so hours to complete their vocals, looking exasperated at 5 am, mumbling to each other, and feeling darn knackered. Um, that's not a movie, that's just docketed material for filler, not giving the audience member anything to really latch on to. Heck, you're simply better off watching the 52-minute making of "We Are the World" via YouTube. It's leaner, meaner, and makes the rock legends look more streets ahead. "Greatest" lower bound. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

No comments:

Post a Comment