Where for decades Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers toiled as a somewhat critically unheralded artist, the combined might of their Super Bowl performance and Peter

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Rockumentary Review: Runnin' Down a Dream

Where for decades Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers toiled as a somewhat critically unheralded artist, the combined might of their Super Bowl performance and Peter Bogdanovich's four-hour documentary, Runnin' Down a Dream, thrust Petty into the royal Dylan-Springsteen-Presley pantheon where he belongs. I just received the Bogdanovich film as a 21st birthday present, and although I'm not surprised it's not being mentioned alongside The Last Waltz as one of the greaat rockumentaries ever made on account of its uncompromising length (and consequential lack of a proper theatrical release), that's really where it belongs. Bogdanovich sifted through days -- not hours, days -- of interviews and gigs to select what ends up being a deliciously diverse collection of live clips that are peppered throughout the doc (commentators with Seattle ties include Eddie Vedder and Dave Grohl), and he unflnchingly captures Petty's sometimes tense, brotherly dynamic with Heartbreakers past and present, especially former drummer Stan Lynch, who went on to become a very successful producer. The Last Waltz is considered a classic in retrospect largely because of the era it came to signal the end of -- a fortuitious dynamic that essentially occurred by accident. There's nothing inadvertent about Runnin' Down a Dream. It is an honest, long overdue investigation and celebration of one of the great, previously unheralded rock bands in American history, and especially its leader. Watching the film has me more amped than I could have ever imagined for Petty's upcoming Gorge gigs.

 
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