Runnin’ Down a Dream (documentary)

If you like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and have 4 hours to kill, you should check out Peter Bogdanovich’s documentary about the band. Tom Petty is the shit. He’s one of the last real rock stars. You know his songs even if you aren’t too familiar with him. He’s on more movie soundtracks than John Williams, he’s played the Super Bowl Halftime Show, and he’s been selling out shows with his band for more than thirty years.

The documentary starts at the beginning with a young Thomas Earl Petty growing up in Gainesville, Florida with an abusive father, a loving mother, and a passion for Rock n’ Roll. Petty grows up and hones his talent, finding his future bandmates Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench on the way. You learn about his first band Mudcrutch and hear testimony about how driven he was to succeed. Mudcrutch dissolved and Petty formed a new band: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The documentary goes through the members, albums, songs, tours, anecdotes, tragedies and triumphs of the band and the man.

They use a lot of rare footage and personal videos from the band to tell their history. When they are talking about the drive to California and the car breaking down, they show the car broken on the side of the road. They talk Ron Blair eating a bunch of hash before a TV appearance and point out how glazed his eyes are.

If you’re a fan of Tom Petty’s music than you’ll love this film. His hits are constantly playing in the background, they show lots of concerts, and you get to know the man behind it all and see what drives him. He’s a poet, he’s a storyteller, and his music is timeless. Don’t let the four hour long running time intimidate you. It’s hard to cram thirty+ years of history into a few hours.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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