Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011)
By: Oberst von Berauscht (Three Beers) -
Justin Bieber’s story is told on the big screen, outlining his rise to fame and showing the behind the scenes puppeteers at work, pulling all the right strings to manufacture the biggest teen idol since the last big teen idol.The movie isn’t only a puff piece for 13 year old girls, but a recipe that combines meat, basic talent, millions of development dollars, and childhood innocence.
Now that’s my kind of crass exploitation!
This is a film that knows its audience, internet-weaned, mostly female pre-teens who moved out of their “Hanna Montana” phase.It opens up with a montage of internet videos that you watched before YouTube existed, but yet someone you know manages to have only just now discovered.
Of course, I recognize that I’m not the target audience of a film like this, and I will give credit where it’s due.The film does a great job at chronicling the life of a pop star, and the filmmakers pull all stops to highlight his strengths.Bieber is definitely a talented guitarist, drummer, and vocalist, that much is clear.Whether he’ll manage to break out of pop icon status is the question.
In one scene, a roadie relates a story about watching a speech made regarding Michael Jackson’s youth being stolen from him, and Justin looked at him in desperation asking for assurance that this doesn’t happen to him.This beer goes for the questionable, sometimes disturbingly messianic intentions of Bieber’s handlers.
The film portrays the Canadian youth as being near faultless and what flaws do exist are attributed to youthful inexperience.It is often truly frightening to see the way his Voice Coach, his Mother, and other adults manipulate him into getting back to work.Because it is work, and you cannot be a teen idol without giving up a good deal of what most people would call a “Normal” childhood.And much has been made of its ill effects.
For the music or rather, lack of it.Actually, this movie has lots of music, but it is often difficult to tell when wading through the mire of overproduction.Justin Bieber is credited often with writing his own songs, but based on the few glimpses of demos the movie provides, these songs have passed through more hands and with deeper involvement than a communal butt-plug.
There are two scenes in the film that shows Bieber’s early videos in which he’s playing small venues alone on acoustic guitar, and these versions simply dwarf the studio versions in emotional power and heart.Despite my hate for how he’s been created, and my contempt for the audience that follows his career, I’m pulling for the guy.Because if he isn’t destroyed by his teen-idol phase, I can see enough moments of legitimate talent that he might do something important someday.Ricky Nelson had to spend a decade rebuilding his career from square one when his Teen-Idol status died, (and wrote a song about it).
Others weren’t so lucky.
The Menudo, The Backstreet Boys, The New Kids on the Block Justin Bieber movie is the Flavor of the Month. Only time will tell if that flavor is French Vanilla, or Lamb’s Bladder Chip.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: anytime his handlers talk about how awesome Bieber is
Take a Drink: every time screaming 10-15 year old girls are shown
Drink a Shot: when you realize how long ago you slipped from the precipice, diving headfirst into the bottomless chasm of full blown alcoholism upon the realization that you do not in fact, have anything better to do than watch Justin Bieber and get drunk