A movie review from The Movie Snob.
Twenty Feet From Stardom (B). You know, you probably can make a good documentary about just about anything. This aptly named documentary is about back-up singers in the rock era. They have been mostly black women, and, despite their obvious talent, they are pretty much anonymous. So this movie gives them a rare leading role, and we get to know quite a bit about a small handful of them. We learn about their backgrounds (lots of preachers’ daughters) and their experiences in the music industry, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. A few try to become stars in their own right, and it just doesn’t pan out for them. Several bona fide rock stars give some interviews about their back-up singers, like Sting (Dune), Bruce Springsteen, and Mick Jagger (Freejack), and though they are all appreciative, Jagger does say something to effect of, “Who wants to spend their whole career singing oohs and ahhs?” There are some interesting anecdotes, like the time one back-up singer answered a 2 a.m. call to participate in a recording session with the Rolling Stones and wound up getting immortalized in “Gimme Shelter.” All in all, a very pleasant little movie. I’d give it a higher grade, but it did start to feel a little long towards the end, even though IMDb says it’s only 91 minutes.