Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Director: Ramona S. Diaz
Review Rating: 7
Website: Everyman’s Journey
The real life story of how the iconic rock band Journey went on a journey with their brand new Filipino lead singer, Arnel Pineda.
So, Arnel Pineda happens to be Filipino, and came from a really poor and low background. That’s not to say his parents didn’t try their best, of course they did, it was just circumstances of crippling poverty in Manila. Arnel ends up homeless, sleeping in the park when allowed and literally singing for his bread. He forms a band with some friends, sings Journey cover songs, and gradually delves into the underworld of drinking, drugs, and depression. Then a miracle happens. Neal Schon, longtime member of the band Journey, whose been scouring the internet of all things for a replacement lead singer for the band, finds a Youtube video of Pineda singing and invites him to L.A. for an audition. Pineda goes out, and after a few hiccups, lands the dream job touring with Journey as their new lead singer.
At this point, it really is like a rock and roll fairy tale come true. However, somewhere soon after that, the movie begins to delve (briefly) into the evolution of the band Journey and their roster of former lead singers. The original lead singer, rock icon Steve Perry, left the band in the 90’s (for good) and the film only lightly touches on him, citing the difficulty of finding a new lead singer who sounds like him. Steve Augeri, the next lead singer from the late 90’s to the early 2000’s, is also very lightly touched on, and I couldn’t help but think that his appearance and sound reminded me of Michael Bolton. Then comes Arnel Pineda, embraced by the band and a legion of blithely determined Filipino fans as the newest lead singer of Journey. I can’t help but think how ironic it is, that Pineda sounds just like Perry, and even looks like the man, with his longish straight dark hair, similar outfits under those hot performing lights, and boundless energy to run around the stage like Perry did too.
At this point, the movie takes a sharp turn to Pineda performing in the Journey road tour for weeks on end and the toll it takes on him, while Arnel reminisces about his early life in Manila and what matters most to him: his family. Little is touched on about his personal life, other than he has a wife he calls Cherry, and apparently a child, who doesn’t even get a name mention. Perhaps they want to respect what’s left of his privacy. Much to do is made about Pineda’s voice, which is totally understandable, and he’s hailed when he returns to Manila as a conquering home hero. The whole thing begins to drag a bit towards the end, but it is after all a lot to try and cram into a movie. The main bright message of the film comes across, never stop following your dreams, but remember Pineda seems to be blessed with a great deal of natural talent as well.