Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey

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Plucked from obscurity to replace a star, a talented nobody wows ‘em and achieves a lifelong dream: fame and acclaim in equal measure. “Only in the movies,” you say? Think again, because Ramona Diaz’s big-hearted, crowd-pleasing documentary Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey is an unbelievable real life example of the classic “against all odds” story with a rock-and-roll twist.
A huge fan of the classic rock band Journey (whose 1981 pop hit Don’t Stop Believin’ holds the record as the most downloaded song in iTunes history), Arnel Pineda was a poor young man from the slums of Manila who took his fandom to the next level by posting YouTube videos of himself covering his favorite Journey tracks. Journey guitarist Neil Schon, in need of a new lead singer after Steve Perry quit the band, saw the videos and was justifiably amazed: Pineda had a great set of pipes. Soon, Pineda was the band’s energetic frontman, and Journey was touring as a band re-born. However, having lived on the streets since the age of 13, and with absolutely no professional music training, Pineda was anything but prepared for the grueling physical and emotional stress that comes from fronting an iconic rock band on a whirlwind world tour. Can a man who has already overcome so many obstacles deal with the demands of his newfound fame? Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey is a rocking Cinderella tale filled with humor, sentiment and an infectious earnestness – and through it all the charismatic Pineda is front and center, living the dream. (Dir. by Ramona S. Diaz, 2012, 113 mins., Not Rated, Cinedigm) Digital