Parents' Guide to

Foo Fighters: Back and Forth

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Music docu shows realities of band life; cursing and drugs.

Movie NR 2011 140 minutes
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The first half of this documentary is a fascinating glimpse into the ups and downs of band life at any level. The creative process, the work ethic, and the grind of touring are all discussed and revealed through interviews and live band footage. Throughout the documentary, Grohl is shown to be humbled and grateful for the success he has achieved, and is eager to spread the word on the bands and musicians who influenced him over the years, especially the luminaries of the 1980s punk and hard-core underground. That alone is an education for music fans who want to dig deeper than the Foo Fighters' discography.

The second half of Foo Fighters: Back and Forth, however, gives the same feeling one has when reading an autobiography of a 1960s rock star where, upon reaching the 1980s, there are still a couple hundred pages to go. Sure, there are some interesting highlights -- working on a song with Bob Mould of Hüsker Dü, recording again with Nirvana bassist Krist Novaselic, Grohl tearing up and feeling overcome with emotion over the honor of playing at Wembley Stadium -- but overall, success and the various approaches to recording songs in the albums of the mid-2000s to 2011 just isn't as interesting as the struggles shown in the first half. Not to begrudge success, it's just that not as much happens that's especially film-worthy. Which is to be expected when covering 17 years of a musical career, as opposed to the pivotal year covered in the Dylan documentary Don't Look Back, or the as-it-happens ego implosion of early aughts Metallica in Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. Still, especially for the fans of the band, there's enough to enjoy, and for musicians, there's plenty to learn.

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