Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -1 1/2

Editor's Note: This film is Not Rated by the MPAA.

Grunge music, a popular form of alternative rock characterized by its distinctively muddy guitar sound, had its genesis in Seattle, Washington, in the mid-1980s. This documentary highlights interviews with various local musicians, producers and other ancillary characters talking about how this regional music became an international phenomenon. While chart-topping groups like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden are featured, the camera also focuses on obscure bands who never made it big but still enjoyed bashing away in sweaty nightclubs. Many musicians are shown in concert performances. Reflective of its title, the movie chronicles how the music industry descended on Seattle and transformed grunge into a commodity. Many locals regard this invasion with both whimsy and disgust. Most bands were just trying to have a good time and entertain their friends, so they can't believe anyone was taking them so seriously. Nirvana, one group responsible for this commercialization, also provided grunge with its first tragic figure, Kurt Cobain, who killed himself with a drug overdose. Hype! provides an interesting look at how the entertainment business can take something ridiculously simple and turn it into a colossal event. But only fans of grunge music will probably be able to stomach the music performances.

During the height of the grunge craze, a rock music magazine raved that "Seattle is to the rock 'n' roll world what Bethlehem is to Christianity." This statement was intended to indicate how important Seattle had become in the music world, at least in the minds of the rock establishment, and not to bash Christianity. With its entire focus on music, Hype! has no sexual material or violence. However, both bands and fans are shown drinking alcohol and, in many cases, getting quite intoxicated. References are made to drug abuse, particularly in light of Cobain's death, but no actual abuse of hard drugs is shown. The foul language used in the conversations and the music is the film's most serious flaw, particularly 30 obscenities, and consequently the film can not be recommended. The saddest aspect of this story is the empty lives of many of its participants, apparently only interested in partying to loud, depressing music.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Distributor: Cinepix Film Properties, 900 Broadway, Suite 800, New York, NY 10003

Crude Language: Several (8) times - Mild 5, Moderate 3
Obscene Language: Many (30) times - s-word 3, f-word 17, other 10
Profanity: Few (3) times - Regular 2 (G-d 2), Exclamatory 1
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Once (nude baby on album cover)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Several times (beer drinking, intoxication, smoking)
Other: None
Running Time: 84 minutes
Intended Audience: Rock music fans

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